14 Cheap, Healthy Meals You Can Make in 20 Minutes

Looking for cheap, healthy meals you can make in a flash? These lunch and dinner recipes are packed with nutrition for just a few dollars or less per serving.

Okra, chickpea, and tomato rice bowl

Okra, Chickpea, and Tomato Rice BowlCourtesy Amy Gorin

As a registered dietitian and healthy recipe blogger who works from home, I'm always looking for the cheap, healthy meals for lunch. So many days, I'll make a variation of this vegetarian rice dish. It features canned chickpeas, one of the lowest-cost proteins you'll find. I suggest making it with pre-cooked brown rice and whatever fresh and frozen veggies you have on hand. While I used okra and tomatoes in this recipe, you could just as easily swap for onions and bell peppers, or green beans and carrots.

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Avocado chicken salad

Avocado Chicken SaladCourtesy Madeline Basler

Talk about ideas for cheap, healthy meals: "This chicken salad can be made for approximately $3 per serving," says Madeline Basler, MS, RDN, an integrative nutritionist in Long Island, New York. You get lots of filling protein and fiber from the chicken, beans, nuts, and veggies. Plus, using avocado in place of mayo helps fill you up with heart-healthy fats. Save more money by cooking with these 13 food scraps you never knew you could eat.

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Southern Tex-Mex spiced lentils

Southern Tex Mex Spiced LentilsCourtesy Lentils.org

"Lentils are plant-protein superstars," says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, author of The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook and nutrition partner with lentils.org. Indeed, half a cup of cooked lentils is an excellent source of both protein and fiber. "They're also a good source of iron, folate, and manganese," says Amidor. For a complete meal, pair these spiced lentils with brown rice, quinoa, or farro—as well as cooked veggies such as onions, mushrooms, or bell peppers.

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