7 days of healthy meals on a budget

Our expert dietitian has planned a week of healthy meals and snacks for under £55 for two people.

Planning your meals in advance can help you to make healthier choices, save money and reduce waste. We’ve planned a week of meals that will give you a balanced, heart-healthy diet whilst helping you to control your spending. Amounts given are per person.


Cheap healthy diet plan

Breakfast: Porridge made with skimmed milk and one sliced banana on top.

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Lunch: Lentil and vegetable soup, tinned or try our easy carrot and parsnip soup recipe (pictured); two slices of wholemeal bread with spread (spreads based on vegetable, olive or sunflower oil will be unsaturated so a better choice for your heart than butter).

Evening meal: One medium-sized jacket potato (cooked in the microwave or oven) with a tin of sardines in tomato sauce, served with peas. 

Snacks: Two satsumas (or easy-peelers); one apple; a small handful of unsalted peanuts (30g); a serving (125g) of fat-free Greek-style yoghurt.


Cheap healthy diet plan

Breakfast: Two slices of wholegrain toast with spread, one boiled egg and a sliced medium tomato.

Lunch: Our carrot and parsnip soup (use leftovers if you made Monday’s recipe, or make fresh with extra portions to freeze); two slices of wholemeal bread with spread.

Evening meal: Homemade chunky vegetable and bean goulash (pictured); brown rice; broccoli. Get our goulash recipe.

Snacks: Three oatcakes with low-fat cream cheese or quark; one pear.

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Cheap healthy diet plan 

Breakfast: No-added-sugar muesli with skimmed milk, topped with one sliced banana. 

Lunch: Jacket potato with half a can of reduced-sugar-and-salt baked beans; a portion of salad.

Evening meal: Beetroot barley risotto (pictured); served with peas.

Snacks: One carrot cut into sticks; a small handful of unsalted peanuts; two satsumas.


Cheap healthy diet plan 

Breakfast: Two slices of wholegrain toast with spread, sliced or mashed banana, and a serving of fat-free Greek-style yoghurt.

Lunch: Egg, tomato and cucumber wholemeal bread sandwich.

Evening meal: Wholewheat spaghetti with sardines and cherry tomatoes; a portion of salad.

Snacks: Two plums; two oatcakes with spread; one pear.

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Cheap healthy diet plan 

Breakfast: No-added-sugar muesli with skimmed milk and a banana.

Lunch: Cheese salad sandwich made with reduced-fat Cheddar, salad, two slices of wholegrain bread and spread.

Evening meal: Homemade mushroom and cauliflower frittata, served with peas and carrots or any other leftover/surplus vegetables. Get our frittata recipe.

Snacks: Two plums; two oatcakes with spread; one pear.


Cheap healthy diet plan 

Breakfast: Porridge made with skimmed milk; one banana.

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Lunch: Vegetable soup, tinned or try our delicious recipe for mixed vegetable and bean soup.

Evening meal: Homemade tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake, served with cauliflower and broccoli. 

Snacks: Small handful of unsalted peanuts, one apple, one pear..

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Cheap healthy diet plan

Breakfast: Poached egg and a portion of cooked mushrooms, with two slices of wholemeal bread.

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Lunch: Chicken and vegetable traybake (pictured); baked apple with spiced sultanas and low-fat custard or homemade custard with low-fat milk.

Evening meal: Chicken, cucumber and tomato wholemeal bread sandwiches (using leftovers from the lunchtime traybake).

Snacks: Small handful of unsalted peanuts; one carrot cut into sticks; two satsumas (or easy-peelers).


The budget of £55 for two people is intended to be affordable, healthy, balanced (and hopefully delicious) and work for three meals per day, as well as snacks. We’ve kept the cost below the most recent available UK figures for average weekly spend on food and drink in the home (and these figures are likely to have risen due to inflation).


While we hope it will help with meal planning and cooking on a budget, we realise this plan may not be affordable on very low incomes. If you need support or guidance related to low incomes and the cost of living, visit Citizens Advice or the UK Government website, to find out what help may be available to you.

The costs we’ve used for our calculations are based on prices at Tesco in September 2022. Our cost calculations are per portion for items that are likely to last a while in your fridge or cupboard (so you can use them for another week’s meals) and per item if that isn’t the case. We’ve costed based on following the week’s meal plan in full, so some items will be used across more than one meal. 

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This week of meals is intended to give you an idea of how a week could look, based on average figures and requirements. It is not intended as an eating plan to be followed on a long-term basis. Talk to your GP or practice nurse who can advise or refer you to see a registered dietitian if you need more tailored support to plan your meals.


Updated September 2022


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About the Author: Tung Chi