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10 healthy meals that won’t hurt your wallet

Spencer's Big 30

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If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better or start a monthly budget (or do both), then we have just the recipes for you. Nutritious and flavourful dishes that’ll satisfy yourself and the entire family doesn’t have to cost a fortune — as long as you have the right ingredients on hand. Chef Spencer Watts from Spencer’s Big 30 (Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET) has crafted healthy recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes, and cost $30 or less, depending on what you’ve already got stocked in your kitchen.

Scroll on to discover 10 healthy meals that won’t hurt your wallet.

Pineapple pulled pork tacos

Pork tenderloin is often an affordable cut of meat, and use spices you already have lying around at home — like brown sugar, salt, cumin, garlic, chili powder and smoked paprika — to make a seasoning mix. Mexican night is always a hit, and these tacos are gauranteed to be as well.

Spencer’s Big 30

Chickpea tomato curry

Whether you’re a fan of Meatless Mondays or just appreciate the health benefits of a plant-based diet, this chickpea tomato curry will be good on your bank account and and your stomach. Plus, all of the magic takes place in one frying pan, so it’ll be extremely easy to clean. Just add onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and chili flakes for the curry base, and then three other ingredients — onion, tomatoes and chickpeas — and simmer everything together.

Spencer’s Big 30

Lentil sloppy joes

These lentil sloppy joes are another meatless favourite that’s high in fibre and sure to please the family. Lentils manage to take on the flavour of whatever seasoning is thrown at them — in this case, it’s maple syrup, chili powder, Worcestershire, paprika, salt and pepper. (For even greater savings, buy your lentils in bulk and soak them before use.) Scoop them onto lightly toasted buns (pretzel buns take it next level) and enjoy.

Spencer’s Big 30

Crunchy coated fish

Instead of buying a tub of breadcrumbs (which inevitably only gets half used), try using plain potato chips. They’re a crunchy, salty and cheap alternative for a crispy batter (this recipe also swaps eggs for mayo). Plus, you can always save the leftover crisps for a midnight snack, or sneak in a handful while you cook.

Spencer’s Big 30

Roast sirloin tip

Looking for a cheap cut of beef? Keep an eye out for the sirloin tip. This cut, also called the round tip roast, is lean and can end up tough if prepared improperly, so you’ll definitely want to follow this recipe to start off if you haven’t cooked with it before.

Spencer’s Big 30

Skillet lasagna

Lasagna is a crowd pleaser, especially on a cold, winter night. But a frozen pan of noodles and sauce large enough to feed a family doesn’t come cheap, and it’s certainly not healthy. Instead, spend a bit of time doing the prep work and make your own in a skillet. Think of this version as a lasagna crossed with a shepherd’s pie — it’s just one layer of meat, noodles and cheese, and everything is put together in one pan, so less mess.

Spencer’s Big 30

Jumbo turkey meatballs

Ground turkey, the star in this dish, is one of the leanest meat choices you can make. Swap wheat noodles for zucchini noodles and you’ll have a low-cal, high protein meal that can be portioned and frozen for future lunches or dinners.

Spencer’s Big 30

Vegetable fried rice

Takeout Chinese food is a glorious treat, but it often ends up as a $40 investment (or more, depending on the size of your family). And then there’s the delivery fees and wait time. Forget it. Instead, learn to make vegetable fried rice at home — it’s easier than you think, especially when a bag of frozen veggies and minute rice is used. Pro tip: For a crispy (not mushy) meal, cook the rice ahead of time and let it cool before frying.

Spencer’s Big 30

Crispy lemon chicken

Chicken thighs are the most inexpensive cut of poultry you’ll find, but the tender meat can give off some of the best flavour on the bird. Surprisingly, this recipe just calls for oil, thyme and lemon to dress these tasty thighs.

Spencer’s Big 30

Whole broiled trout

Fish is full of nutrients, like omega 3s, but halibut and salmon carry a hefty price tag. Instead, opt for a budget-friendly fish like trout. Cooking it is as simple as adding some garlic, fresh fennel and lemon.

Spencer’s Big 30

Catch Spencer’s Big 30 every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET for more quick, healthy, and low-cost recipes.

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