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Healthy Meals Under $3

Porridge

A good breakfast can really set you up for the day. Fancy cereals are often loaded with added sugar and salt and can be $15–$30 per kilo! Plain traditional or quick oats are a great option, at around $2–$3 per kilo. One bag and 2L of milk will make you about 40 serves of hot porridge! Mix it up by adding some dried fruit or fresh apple.

Veggie soup

Homemade veggie soup is a cheap and cheerful winter warmer (under $8 a pot for 4 to 6 serves). Who said cheap recipes can’t produce filling meals?! The formula is simple: fry off some vegetables in a little olive oil to intensify their flavour. Then add stock and cook till tender. Homemade stock is great, but powdered stock or stock cubes are a good standby. Blend the vegies to make a thick soup, or keep it as is. Serve with fresh bread or toast. For variety, experiment with the veggies and add some spices. 

Fried rice

Fried rice is another excellent recipe to rescue vegetables that are starting to look a bit sad in the fridge. Frozen peas, carrots and corn are a great addition, too. They’re cheap, last for ages, and there’s no chopping required! Get a nice hot pan and either cook up some chicken thigh or make an omelette. Add cooked rice, your choice of vegies and a dash of soy sauce and sweet chilli. Fast, fresh and under $3 a serve.

Spaghetti bolognaise

Spaghetti bolognaise is a family favourite that will feed the whole crew for $10–$15. Try swapping half the minced meat for a can of lentils to increase the fibre, decrease the fat and save a few extra dollars. The spaghetti sauce also makes a great topping for toasted sandwiches or baked potatoes.

Go vego

Meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal, so try dishes that use vegetables, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and grains. Lentil dahl, Mexican baked beans and falafel are all delicious, cheap meals. Eggs, cheese and tinned tuna are also convenient and affordable sources of protein to base your meals around. Try a cheesy baked frittata ($14 for 6 serves and you’ll have leftover cheese and eggs), a quick couscous salad or a fluffy omelette.

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