Improving your nutrition and reaching your health goals doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated. In fact, many science-backed methods start with simple, small changes such as setting a hydration goal, adding more fruits and vegetables to each meal, or incorporating more protein at breakfast. Eating a nutrient-dense, healthy breakfast can be budget-friendly with a little planning.
These 10 healthy breakfasts are great examples of wallet-friendly meals that are filling and nourishing:
Baked oatmeal is great for people with busy schedules since it can be made ahead of time and simply reheated in the morning. The flavor possibilities are endless, and you’ll reap the quality carbs and fiber found in oats. Top with fresh fruit, a dollop of Greek yogurt or nut butter for even more staying power.
At roughly $2.70 per serving, baked oatmeal can easily cater to different diets. For a plant-based option, try this vegan cinnamon apple baked oatmeal. While apples are perfect for fall, try swapping them out for bananas or peaches and berries in the summer.
For a simple, tasty breakfast hash, saute a diced sweet potato with black beans, eggs or sausage, and top with avocado or salsa. For a vegan option, swap the eggs or sausage for tofu or an egg substitute. Tofu is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, which your body cannot produce on its own, and it also has iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. At roughly $3 per serving, you’ll want to add this to your morning routine.
To make this breakfast, simply pour 3 eggs and your desired add-ins (such as 1/2 cup vegetables, 1/4 cup cheese and 3 ounces bacon) in a mug and microwave for 1–2 minutes, pausing to stir halfway. The eggs and cheese offer protein and healthy fats to keep you energized and sustained for the morning. This is an easy way to add more veggies to the first meal of the day — all for roughly $2.50 per serving.
Breakfast tacos are an easy, customizable and budget-friendly breakfast. Simply combine scrambled eggs, black beans and cheese into your favorite tortilla, and top with salsa or avocado slices. This combination of ingredients is filling and fiber-rich, while also providing several micronutrients, like vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron. At roughly $2 a serving, it’s hard to beat.
While an entire bag of chia seeds may seem pricey at $8, a little goes a long way, and over time, it’s a budget-friendly, nutrient-dense option. Not only do chia seeds offer ample fiber and protein, but they are also high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and support brain health.
To make chia pudding, combine 1/4 cup of chia seeds with 1 cup milk of choice, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The chia seeds absorb the milk to create a pudding texture, and you can top with fruit or nuts — clocking in around $3 per serving. If you need some ideas to get started, we love this make-ahead chia pudding and this vegan cocoa chia seed pudding.
The complex carbohydrates in the toast and fruit offer lasting energy, gut-friendly fiber and various antioxidants. Plus, the healthy fats from the avocado and protein from the eggs leave you full and satisfied for hours. For roughly $2.30, this budget-friendly meal also provides potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamins A and C. Not only is vitamin C great for supporting your immune system, but it also helps with iron absorption.
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and gut-friendly probiotics. Pairing it with fruit for fiber and micronutrients and a homemade muffin for quality carbs clocks in around $2 and can be a family-friendly option that requires little prep. Try these savory almond muffins, which require just eight ingredients and contain 11 grams of filling protein thanks to egg whites.
Oatmeal doesn’t have to be bland and boring. You can amplify the flavor of this fiber-packed whole grain by adding your favorite toppings. Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense, budget-friendly pantry staples — a 42-ounce canister of oats (which contains 30 servings) usually runs around $2–3.
Not only is this breakfast healthy and economical, but a parfait also looks fancy without requiring much prep. Start with granola (we love this budget-friendly homemade version) and continue layering with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, fruit, and granola again until your glass is full. The price varies based on your fruit and granola of choice, but the total will likely be less than $4 per serving.
You don’t need an expensive protein powder to make a protein-packed smoothie — just add Greek yogurt, and you’re good to go. You can customize your smoothie by mixing and matching fresh and frozen fruits, spices and your preferred milk for roughly $2 per serving. This simple green protein smoothie is a great option rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium. For more inspiration, we love these 9 refreshing smoothies under 230 calories.
Originally published January 2021, updated August 2023
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