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15 Delicious Foods That Are Healthier and Cheaper Than Fast Food

Keep these healthy and wallet-friendly foods on hand.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Fast food can be tempting – especially when you are on the go. However, the majority of food available at quick-serve restaurants isn't very healthy. Luckily, with a little planning, you can keep delicious food on hand that is healthier and cheaper than fast food, according to Jamie Maitland, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Fitness Trainer, Founder of The Office Health and author of The 21 Day Reset Cookbook. Here are 15 options – plus how to make them.

Egg Bites


Egg bites are "super easy to make and travel so well," says Maitland. Preheat the oven to 350. Brown one lb of grass fed beef in a pan and set aside. In a large bowl whisk 12 pastured eggs and season to your liking. Place one tbsp or so of ground beef in each muffin tin then pour over your egg mixture. Repeat until all trays are filled. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Protein Shake

Banana and chocolate smoothie in the glass jar

"Grass-fed/grass-finished high-quality protein shakes are the easiest ways to get an ample amount of protein," explains Maitland. However, "be mindful to read the ingredients," she says. "Quality is extremely important when it comes to dairy and food in general. Try and look for a clean grass fed grass finished whey protein with minimal ingredients."

Chocolate Espresso Protein Muffins

Coffee muffins with grated walnut and topped with chocolate

Chocolate espresso protein muffins ("with no sugar of course," are a great grab-and-go option. "These muffins are a game changer and will be your new go to," says Maitland. "Some hero ingredients are tiger nut flour, allulose (which is a zero calorie sweetener that doesn't spike your insulin) and grass fed and finished whey protein." The full recipe is in her The 21 Day Reset Cookbook.

Apple with Tiger Nut Butter

Ripe red apples on table close up

"A simple organic apple with tiger nut butter is always a winner," says Maitland. "Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamins and tiger nut butter is full of nutrients as well as fiber and heart-healthy fats."

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Hummus with olive oil, paprika, lemon and pita bread

Homemade hummus with fresh veggies is another great option. "Soak and pressure cook your chickpeas!" she recommends.

Homemade Shredded Chicken

Shredding a Spiced Chicken Breast: Chicken breast cooked in Arabic spices being shredded with two forks on a bamboo cutting board

Homemade easy shredded chicken is something that Maitland always keeps on hand. "You can buy chicken breast in bulk from Costco and make countless variations for the week," she says, noting that the full recipe is also in her cookbook. The short recipe version: Season 2 to 3 chicken breasts. Place in a deep baking dish then cover tight with foil. Bake at 350 for 35 min. Then, shred the chicken and toss it with mayo, celery, red onion, and parsley. "And now you have a delicious chicken salad to have readily available in your fridge," she says.

Homemade Tuna Salad

Canned tuna fillet meat in olive oil, on black background, flat lay

Homemade tuna salad is also "super easy to make, packed with protein, and very affordable," says Maitland. "In my 21 Day Reset Cookbook there is an amazing homemade mayonnaise recipe which is a game changer. All you need is room temperature eggs, white vinegar, mustard, salt and an immersion blender."

Hard Boiled Eggs


Hard-boiled eggs are a great grab-and-go option. "They are low in calories, rich in protein, and very nutrient-dense," says Maitland.

Avocado Toast


Avocado toast topped with micro greens is satiating and healthy. "Avocados are also extremely nutrient dense and packed with potassium," says Maitland. "Microgreens can not only add extra flavor, but they also are an easy way to get in extra vitamins and minerals."

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Homemade Protein Bites

Profile of a hiker eating cereal bar in a valley in the mountain

Homemade protein bites are another great cook-ahead item you should keep on hand. "These are a combination of toasted tiger nut flakes, tiger nut butter, flax seed meal, protein powder, hemp hearts, sea salt, liquid allulose, coconut oil, and vanilla extract," she explains.

Mason Jar Salad

Chopped iceberg lettuce -ingridient for cooking Studio Photo

Mason jar salads are also "convenient for on-the-go," Maitland says. "All you need is a pint-sized mason jar. There are no rules really.  Just add your favorite dressing first so it sits at the bottom then chop up your favorite salad combo, shake when ready to eat, and enjoy!"

Slices of Meat, Poultry, or Shrimp

Delicious sauteed shrimp with cajun seasoning and lime on a maple plank.

Cook up batches of simple slices of protein and keep them in your fridge. "This can be filet, sliced chicken breast, or shrimp," Maitland says.

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Sorghum Popcorn


Instead of traditional popcorn, Maitland suggests trying sorghum popcorn. "It is a great lectin and gluten-free snack," she explains.


pistachio in shell nuts in bowl on wooden table background.

Nuts, specifically pistachios, should always be in your pantry. "They are rich in nutrients, beneficial for gut health, and low in calories," says Maitland.

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Avocado Chicken Salad


Homemade high-protein avocado chicken salad is another must-keep item in your fridge. "Avocados are one of the healthiest foods in the world," says Maitland. "This dish is packed with protein and also a decent source of iron."

💪🔥Body Booster: Choose grass-fed, high-quality protein shakes for an easy way to get enough protein. Read the ingredients carefully and opt for clean, grass-fed whey protein with minimal additives.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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