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Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health
Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

7 Budget-Friendly Dinners

These healthy dinner ideas are all around 600 calories or less and won’t break your bank or skimp on flavor. See Daily Recommendations for a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Depending on your age, sex, and physical activity level, your calorie recommendation may vary. Children and less active adults tend to need fewer calories per day and very active teenagers and adults tend to need more calories per day.

Tip: Eating small, frequent meals (including snacks) is important so adjust your calorie intake by increasing or decreasing your portion sizes at your main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

Things to Remember …
Make Half Your Grains Whole
Vary Your Veggies
Focus on Fruits
Consume Calcium-Rich Foods
Go Lean with Protein
Weekly Menu Ideas: This Week's Menu. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #1 Macaroni Chickpea Soup, Spinach Salad

1 serving Macaroni Chickpea Soup

2 cups spinach
¼ cup cucumber, diced
¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon Italian dressing, fat free

1 cup (8oz) milk, nonfat

498 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 498
% Fat: 11%
% Saturated Fat: 2%
% Carbohydrate: 67%
% Protein: 25%
Sodium: 833 mg
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Fiber: 12 g
Vitamin A: 67%
Vitamin C: 49%
Calcium: 47%
Grains: 1 ½ ounces
Vegetables: 3 ¼ cups
Fruits: 0 cups
Milk: 1 cup
Meat and Beans: 0 ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #2 Mexican Rice Pilaf, Tilapia Fillet

1 serving Mexican Rice Pilaf

3oz tilapia fillet, baked, lightly seasoned

1 cup (8oz) milk, nonfat

588 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 588
% Fat: 14%
% Saturated Fat: 4%
% Carbohydrate: 50%
% Protein: 39%
Sodium: 823 mg
Cholesterol: 56 mg
Fiber: 12g
Vitamin A: 22%
Vitamin C: 23%
Calcium: 38%
Grains: ½ ounce
Vegetables: 1 cup
Fruits: 0 cups
Milk: 1 cup
Meat and Beans: 3 ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #3 Squash w/Tomato-Garlic Sauce & Turkey Meatballs, Broccoli, Garlic Toast

1 serving Squash w/Tomato-Garlic Sauce
3 beef/turkey meatballs, 1oz each

1 cup broccoli, steamed

1 slice whole-wheat bread, toasted
1 teaspoon butter
Pinch of garlic powder

1 cup (8oz) milk, nonfat

500 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 500
% Fat: 14%
% Saturated Fat: 4%
% Carbohydrate: 46%
% Protein: 38%
Sodium: 759 mg
Cholesterol: 91 mg
Fiber: 8g
Vitamin A: 44%
Vitamin C: 111%
Calcium: 57%
Grains: 1 ½ ounces
Vegetables: 3 cups
Fruits: 0 cups
Milk: 1 ½ cups
Meat and Beans: 2 ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #4 Quick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes

1 serving Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes

1 cup (8oz) milk, nonfat

523 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 523
% Fat: 14%
% Saturated Fat: 3%
% Carbohydrate: 48%
% Protein: 39%
Sodium: 563 mg
Cholesterol: 99 mg
Fiber: 8g
Vitamin A: 73%
Vitamin C: 35%
Calcium: 37%
Grains: ½ ounce
Vegetables: 1 ½ cups
Fruits: ¼ cup
Milk: 1 cup
Meat and Beans: 4 ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #5 Bean & Cheese Quesadilla, Southwest Coleslaw, Pineapple Chunks

2 servings Bean & Cheese Quesadilla
½ cup soba noodles, cooked

1 serving Southwestern Coleslaw

1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned

1 cup (8oz) milk, nonfat

585 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 585
% Fat: 14%
% Saturated Fat: 5%
% Carbohydrate: 70%
% Protein: 21%
Sodium: 675 mg
Cholesterol: 13 mg
Fiber: 10g
Vitamin A: 37%
Vitamin C: 219%
Calcium: 51%
Grains: 1 ½ ounces
Vegetables: 2 cups
Fruits: 1 cup
Milk: 2 cups
Meat and Beans: 0 ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #6 Tomato & Garlic Omelet, Oven Wedge Fries

1 serving Tomato & Garlic Omelet

1 serving Oven Wedge Fries

1 cup (8oz) orange juice

504 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 504
% Fat: 15%
% Saturated Fat: 4%
% Carbohydrate: 63%
% Protein: 25%
Sodium: 533 mg
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Fiber: 8g
Vitamin A: 17%
Vitamin C: 192%
Calcium: 32%
Grains: ½ ounce
Vegetables: 2 cups
Fruits: 1 cup
Milk: ¼ cup
Meat and Beans: 3 ½ ounces
Meal Ingredients Calories/Serving
Dinner #7 Red Beans w/Beef & Rice, Spicy Green Bean Salad

1 serving Red Beans w/Beef
½ cup brown rice, cooked

1 serving Spicy Green Bean Salad

1 cup (8oz) milk ,nonfat

622 Calories

Weekly Menu Ideas: The Breakdown. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Total Calories: 622
% Fat: 28%
% Saturated Fat: 6%
% Carbohydrate: 51%
% Protein: 23%
Sodium: 487 mg
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Fiber: 15g
Vitamin A: 26%
Vitamin C: 32%
Calcium: 43%
Grains: 1 ounce
Vegetables: 1 ½ cups
Fruits: 0 cups
Milk: 1 cup
Meat and Beans: 1 ounce

Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to determine your daily calorie recommendation.

Weekly Menu Ideas: Daily Recommendations for a Healthy, Balanced Diet. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

  • Protein: 10-35%
  • Carbohydrates: 45-65%
  • Fats: 20-35%
  • Saturated fat: <10% of calories
  • Total fat: <35% of calories (unless naturally occurring)
  • Cholesterol: <300 mg
  • Sodium: <2,300 mg*
  • Fiber: 28g/2,000 calories
  • Water: 64 oz/day

*Further reduce intake of sodium to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 or older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

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