Microwave meals in minutes

With fifty six pounds a week to live on and bills to pay, neighbours Dan and Anthony are trying to stay healthy on a really tight budget.


Although they're active and know that they need to eat well to stay fit and healthy, with both of them busy looking for work, volunteering and spending time with friends and family, it was important to them to find out how to eat well, quickly and cheaply.

You need nutritional food because eating pizzas and junk food you’re not going to get any of the stuff that you need


After chatting about a balanced diet with dietitian Sue Baic, Sue came up with some ideas for recipes and ingredients that they could keep on hand and make into healthy meals when they needed them. This included the 10-minute microwave omelette, made from eggs and low-cost freezer veggies, spiced up with smaller amounts of pricier ingredients from their fridge.

Anthony and Dan were amazed at how quickly they'd whipped up a simple healthy meal, with Anthony saying "To me it’s been quite the experience really, I’ve learnt that I can cook on a low budget and make it healthy as well."

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Dan & Anthony's microwave omelette

Dan & Anthony's microwave omelette for under a pound

 Ingredients  Equipment
 2 eggs  Chopping board
 1/4 Onion, finely chopped  Knife
 Handful (15g) frozen mushrooms  Shallow microwaveable dish or bowl
 Handful (20g) sweetcorn  Cheese grater
 Handful (15g) frozen peppers  Microwave
 About 6 (80g) tinned new potatoes, sliced   Cup
 1/2 slice of ham  Fork
 A sprinkle of grated reduced-fat cheese  


1. Chop up your onion and potatoes and add them to the dish with the frozen mushrooms, sweetcorn and peppers.  Microwave for one minute, then stir.

2. Crack the eggs into a cup or bowl and mix them with the fork. Add the eggs to the vegetables, then add the ham and cheese on top.

3. Microwave the mixture for a minute and check.  Continue to microwave for a minute at a time until all the mixture is set and none of the egg is runny.  This usually takes around 4 minutes.

Dan & Anthony's shopping list

Sue bought Dan and Anthony the ingredients to make omelettes, pasta sauce and healthier pizza meals for £12, with plenty of ingredients left over to get them started on more dishes.


6 Eggs 89p
Pack of frozen mushrooms (500g) £1
Pack of frozen peppers  (500g) £1
Reduced fat cheese  (325g) £2
3 Onions  51p
3 Slices of ham  £2
Pack of frozen sweetcorn  (1kg) 98p
3 Tins tomatoes 93p
Chilli puree (80g) 72p
Pasta (500g) 29p
2 Pizza bases (300g) £1.68

Based on prices shopping in Asda in Spring 2014. This is intended to illustrate some healthy meals. It is not intended as an eating plan to be followed on a long term basis. Talk to your GP or practice nurse who can advise or refer you to see a registered dietitian if you need more tailored support to plan your meals.

Top tip

Keeping some low cost staple foods in your store cupboards and freezer means healthy foods are always on hand.  Keeping frozen or tinned vegetables, rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes and eggs in the house means you've always got the basic ingredients for pasta, omelettes or stir frys whenever you need them.