5 for 5 – 5 Healthy meals under $5

For many of us, budget is a concern, especially as we approach the holiday shopping season. It’s so easy to succumb to the “saving money” marketing done so unabashedly by fast food restaurants. They advertise their “Dollar Menu” and their “under $5” offerings and expect us to swoon over how good of a “deal” that is. Well, $5 might not seem like much, and it isn’t, but it’s actually not that challenging of a feat to make healthy meals under $5. In fact, you can make your own healthy, budget-friendly meal, in your own kitchen, for well under five dollars, and usually in less time than it takes to drive to the drive thru and back.

What those drive through advertisements fail to point out, and what some of us fail to realize, is that when we see a big “5 for $5” on the marquee, they are talking about single servings. (They are also talking about unhealthy food, if you can really call it food, but who really pays attention to that, when budget is on the line? ugh. Don’t get me started.) It’s true, though. Those “5 meals under $5” are for ONE PERSON, and that means that feeding a family of four would cost pretty close to $20. (You can see our cost comparison for feeding a family of four with our healthy recipes versus McDonald’s here.)

Most of the recipes in the 9010 Nutrition database are for multiple servings, but with our meal planning tool, they are easily adjusted down (or up), depending on your needs. For a fair comparison to the fast food prices, the price breakdowns for the healthy meals under $5 are for single servings of those recipes.

So. With all that said, I would like to offer OUR “five dollar menu.” All of these healthy, delicious, quick and easy recipes should come in well under $5 per serving, no matter where you shop, even though we did our cost comparison at Sprouts Farmers’ Market in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (These were the prices as of 10/11/2017.) And, we have way more than 5 healthy meals that come in under $5 per serving, but who’s counting?

1. Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries is a relatively easy recipe to make for one.

You might end up with some extra buns (throw them in the freezer!), some extra lettuce and tomato (make BLTs or a salad!) but the rest should be easy to buy for one. Just as delicious as schmick-phil-a. 😉

cheaper than McDonald's
healthy meals under $5

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2. Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos are one of our most popular recipes, and with good reason. They are inexpensive, pretty, tasty, quick, easy, and, of course healthy. Have you noticed how many fast food places are offering fish tacos now?

fish tacos

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3. Pizza Grilled Cheese

Pizza Grilled Cheese can be made even less expensively by omitting the uncured pepperoni and just making it like a cheese pizza. Serve it with the salad mentioned above for economic efficiency!

cheaper than McDonald's

(click table to enlarge)

4. Chicken Nuggets

Healthy Chicken Nuggets are probably the most labor intensive of the 5 we have listed, but they’re not difficult at all. Degree of difficulty is a 2 out of 5 instead of a 1 out of 5 like the rest of the recipes mentioned in this blog. We have them paired with carrot fries, another great french fry substitute that costs less (and that your kids will actually eat!).

The trick to these is to make  double and freeze half so you’ll have an effortless healthy meal later.

healthy chicken nuggets

(click table to enlarge)

5. Cheeseburgers and Carrot Fries

Cheeseburgers are the iconic standard of fast food menus, aren’t they? We’ve cleaned them up without sacrificing flavor. Don’t be afraid of clean eating cheeseburgers!

cheaper than McDonald's

(click table to enlarge)

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One Comment

  1. Michelle says:

    These ideas are awesome, and I love seeing the cost breakdown per person

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