Cooking at home can be an uphill battle. If you’re working full-time, you’re probably finding that you’re spending precious money on lunch and afternoon snacks, which you don’t need to be doing. Alternatively, if you’re a full-time student, you’re not making much money, yet you might still be expected to support yourself.

This can be complicated if you’re trying to stick to healthy eating patterns to help lower your cholesterol, reduce your blood pressure or shed some kilos. However, there is no need to worry since there are heaps of simple and nutritious recipes that can easily be cooked quite cheaply at home. So, if you’re looking to save a bit of money and want to start getting involved in more home-based cooking, be sure to check out the following recipes.

Veggie pizza

You might be thinking that pizza isn’t particularly healthy, nor is it strictly Australian. However, there are ways that you can have great, healthy pizza on a budget. While conventional pizza involves a lot of meat and cheese, you can make a vegetarian pizza that is both delicious and good for you. If you’re wanting to spice it up with a little bit of meat, just add chilli prawns for a bit of culinary flair.

For all the vegans out there, simply switch out the dairy cheese for soy-based cheeses and you’ve got yourself a vegan pizza.

All you need is some Middle Eastern flatbread bases or some gluten-free pizza bases (if you want the meal to be very healthy). Simply scatter your ingredients on top and cook in the oven. It requires little effort and is a great meal to whip up after you’ve had a long day at university or work. Some common, healthy ingredients include spinach, basil, eggplant, and zucchini. For all the vegans out there, simply switch out the dairy cheese for soy-based cheeses and you’ve got yourself a vegan pizza.

Breakfast oats

Purchasing some freshly made granola from a nice café can be a real treat. Not only that, it’s usually very delicious. Starting off your day with a nutritious and healthy breakfast is very important. However, if you’re an Aussie student or someone looking to save a bit of money, you can’t be dishing out $6 on morning oats right now. Instead, consider waking up earlier and preparing your own healthy oats. Have a quick check of your cupboard to see if you have any plain or traditional oats lying around. A 1kg bag is going to set you back barely $5 and it’s going to last a lot longer than a single $6 café serving.

After finding or purchasing the oats, simply soak in milk before adding any flavours of your choice. The choice is up to you! If you’re looking to bolster the health factor, add some fresh fruit. Bananas are always a good bet, but make sure you’re on the lookout for what’s in season.

Loaded potato skins

These gems can be delicious if made right. The great thing about potatoes is they’re not just a healthy vegetable – they’re also very cheap. You can grab a kilo of brushed potatoes from any of the big supermarket chains for $3 to $4. Moreover, there are so many different combinations you can create. All you must do is carve out the centre of the potatoes (so you’ll want to be looking for the largest potatoes you can find) and fill with whatever you want!

A fan favourite is cheese, sour cream and bacon! However, if that doesn’t appeal to you, consider adding more healthy ingredients like some homemade guacamole and chives. These are perfect when you need to whip up something quick and healthy for dinner. You can even save the leftovers for work or university classes the next day!

Healthy toasties

This one is for those lazy Sunday evenings when you simply can’t be bothered to cook but you don’t want to cave in and order fast food. The great thing about toasties is that anyone can make them. Be on the lookout for breads with fewer preservatives. Sourdough is always a great alternative to regular bread because it contains less yeast. A regular loaf of sourdough might be a little more than your average loaf of wholemeal but it’s still cheaper than ordering a meat lovers pizza or a kebab.

A classic Aussie toastie includes vegemite, avocado, cheese, and tomato. Indeed, the smashed avocado trend has certainly grown in popularity amongst millennials. However, if the vegemite and avocado combination doesn’t seem all that appealing, mix it up with some fresh salad like spinach, capsicum, onion, and rocket. Throw in some cold meats, like ham or turkey to top it all off.

Mushroom lasagne

It can be really tempting to just drive down to the local McDonald’s and pick up a large meal deal. Given the prices and time involved, it makes sense that a lot of people are swayed towards the easier option. If your alternative is pasta, you might even rationalise your choice by saying that your home meal would be full of carbohydrates anyway. However, you can greatly improve the health content of a lasagne by adding vegetables to the dish.

Indeed, swap out the beef for dried porcini mushrooms. Throw in some onion, bay leaves and other vegetables of your choosing and you have a healthy meal. Not only that, you can buy a decent serving of lasagne sheets from your local supermarket for less than $5.

Greek style chicken

If you do not want to give up on meat, then you don’t have to – even if you are on a budget. The great thing about the Greek diet is that it’s regarded as one of the healthiest diets in the world. This is because there is so much salad and healthy nutrients in the classic Greek dinner. If you want a delicious meal of Greek-style chicken, you can pick up some fresh chicken breast from most supermarkets in Australia for around $10 per kg.

First, panfry the chicken for 8-12 minutes before setting the chicken aside. Now it’s time to prepare the salad. Slice some tomatoes and cucumbers before adding them to a medium-sized bowl. Combine with a tablespoon of vinegar and olive oil. Throw in some salad leaves like basil, rocket, and spinach, before seasoning with salt and pepper. Finally, cut the chicken into smaller pieces before adding to the salad! Now you have a delicious, healthy and cheap meal that took less than 20 minutes to make.

Group of friends relaxing on the grass in the summeritme having a good time together

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