A Month of Low Syn Budget Meals. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, the lot
Are you following Slimming World? Or maybe you’d like too, but can’t see how you can because you’re on a tight budget as well? That’s not an easy combination. Dieting is difficult enough, without adding in financial restrictions.
Well, in an effort to help, I’ve gone through Thrifty Lesley archives and sieved out recipes and ideas that might help you stick to a Slimming World type diet without busting the budget. There are a handful of ideas from other sources as well, and just a couple of repeats in Lunches and Dinner
Thirty Days of Low Syn Budget Meals
I don’t know about you, but I tend to have the same few things for breakfast every time. Although I don’t have it every day, when I do, I usually have porridge, baked oats, boiled eggs or fruit and yogurt. As well as those great options, what else is there to enjoy?
If you don’t feel like eating at breakfast time, it’s my belief that it’s best not too. My only caveat being that there is very little point in missing breakfast if you succumb to something non-diet friendly mid-morning.
Or you could eat your breakfast food at another time of the day
1. Lentil Pate
Lentil Pate is a good option for breakfast on HEXB toast, with a sliced tomato for a bit of Speed. That whack of protein helps to keep you going through to lunch
The items that need counting in this recipe are 2 tblsps of oil (12 Syns) and 50g of breadcrumbs (5 Syns) in the whole recipe. If you cook the onion in Frylight, you can remove the oil Syns, although the oil does contribute flavour.
Make porridge using your 40g HEXB allowance. Use milk from your HEXA, or water. I like mine with some fruit stirred in, 3 x fine chopped plums, a grated apple or some defrosted frozen mixed fruits. Top with a drizzle of chocolate shot if you like or a sugar free syrup, just a little. I prefer the fruit cooked into my oats, rather than stirred in raw, although then they are supposed to be Synned or used as HEXB
3. Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats are a classic Slimming World breakfast, and deservedly so. Lots of options, how about trying some of these.
4. Baked Oats
Another Slimming World classic with loads of lovely options, I particularly like baked oats and have them often. My favourites are strawberry, either fresh or frozen berries; grated apple or for a special treat, grated apple and a few squares of plain chocolate chopped up and stirred in to melt in the oven
Basic baked oats are Free. Be aware of what you add. Fruit for example should be HEXB
A boiled, poached or scrambled egg or two, with a slice or two of toast (HEXB). A simple start to the day.
6. Egg & Bacon Muffins
These egg and bacon muffins are Free. I have several ideas on how to vary these, so need to write a post about them. Another one for the list!
An oven baked frittata is great at any time of day and makes a great grab and go breakfast. Make it the night before and tuck into a lunch box ready for the next day. Enjoy on its own or with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, chutney etc. If you top it with cheese, that will use all or part of your HEXA if you don’t count the Syns
8. Bacon Sandwich
Cooking bacon, grilled crispy, cut the fat off first, otherwise it’s much too tempting! in 2 slices bread (HEXB) with a tblsp tomato sauce 1 Syn per tblsp.
Using cooking bacon makes all the difference to the cost here. If you haven’t discovered it yet, do give it a go, it costs 80p’ish for about 700g of bacon scraps and ends
9. Oat Pancakes
Whizz your oats allowance into a flour, mix with an egg and enough water to make a sticky dough and pan fry, using Frylight, in little pancakes. Enjoy with a fruit compote and/or some fat free yogurt.
Use your HEXB and it will be Free
10. Oat Waffles
Mix 40g oats blitzed to a powder, with 0.75 tsp of baking powder, 60ml yogurt, 0.75 tbsp sweetener and an egg. Cook on a low heat until crispy. Eat immediately as they soften quickly
Use your HEXB and it will be Free
11. Fruit Bowl
Slice an apple and mix with frozen mixed berries. Serve with some thick fat free yogurt. If you can get fruit at the end of the day at the market, that will be much cheaper, or maybe at the Aldi Super Six
A Free option
12. Snacky Couscous Snacky Bites
These can be enjoyed at any time of day and would make a great grab and go breakfast
The olives are 1.5 slimming world Syns, shared between 12 patties, that’s infinitesimal and I wouldn’t bother to count them. Other than that, the version I’ve made here is Free.
At just 8p each, a cheap snack too
13. Beans on Toast
Serve half a tin of beans on your HEXB toast. Add a poached egg if you have the funds, or enjoy the whole tin of beans
14. Weetabix and Milk
Serve 2 weetabix HEXB with milk from your HEXA, add a sliced banana or other fruit. Lots of other cereal options can also be enjoyed. Usually in a 40g portion. If you tend to pour too much from the box, portion out a few days worth at a different time and store in small air tight boxes or bags.
15. Barley and Apple
I had this for breakfast a while ago and enjoyed it immensely. Use a cup of cooked barley (cooked grains keep very well in the freezer). Sweeten half a cup of Skyr or other thick yogurt with sweetener and mix with the barley. Slice an apple and top with mixed spice. Tasted amazing!
Choosing this option means that your HEXB is still available for the rest of the day and barley is super cheap!
16. Crispy Hash Browns
To serve 4, parboil 900g peeled potatoes for 5 mins. Leave to cool and grate. Pat with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture. Add a tsp of salt and 0.5 tsp onion powder or a very finely chopped white onion, spring onion or chives. Mix very well
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Shape your mix into 8 patties, pat down firmly. Spray with Frylight and bake for about 20 minutes in a hot oven. Flip over, spray with Frylight again and cook for a further 20 minutes until golden and crispy
This option is Free and can be enjoyed with an egg and beans, or anything else you fancy. A carrot or sweet potato version would be worth trying too
As they are in the oven for a long time, worth making lots, freezing them and then reheating
17. Breakfast Bake
These breakfast bakes from Pinch of Nom look great. I haven’t tried them yet, but I will be!
18. Bacon, Beans, Tomato
Grilled cooking bacon, the equivalent of a couple of rashers, visible fat removed, served with beans and tomato
A Free option
19. Savoury Muffin
Ham and egg muffins from the Slimming World site. Aldi scraps of ham are £1.89 for 400g and will help to keep this option low cost
A Free option
20. Home Made Sausage Hash with cubed potatoes
Use one of these lovely sausages, and serve with fresh or tinned potatoes that have been cubed and pan fried in Frylight to make them crispy, or blast them in the oven, maybe with some chopped herbs
21. Sardines on Toast
1 slice of value bread, half a tin of sardines in tomato sauce, served with a sliced large tomato. The protein should keep you full until lunch
22. Sardine Paste on Toast
Use your HEXB, toast, sandwich or pitta and spread with this delicious paste. Maybe enjoy with a little spinach. The big bags are much better value than the baby leaf bags
23. French Toast
For each person use your HEXB, 60g wholemeal bread. Beat 2 eggs and mix in a tsp of cinnamon and a scant tbsp of sweetener.
Dip each slice in the egg mixture, making sure each side is dipped. Fry in Frylight for a couple of minutes until golden , flip over and cook the other side.
Enjoy immediately with some fruit and maybe a little yogurt, or a sugar free syrup
24. Cinnamon Toast
Using your HEXB, spray with frylight, sprinkle with cinnamon and toast the bread. Enjoy with a sliced banana
25. Curried Toast
Using your HEXB, spray with frylight, sprinkle with curry powder or spread with a tiny bit of curry paste and toast the bread. Enjoy with a sliced tomato or thick slices of cucumber
26. Mushrooms on Toast
Use Quark for this beautifully simple dish and it will be Free if you also use your HEXB
27. Savoury Yogurt
I enjoy a savoury yogurt every now and again, either use your HEXB and enjoy with a warm pitta, or have carrot batons. Either way a savoury yogurt is different, filling and really quite tasty
28. Chickpea Pancakes
This lovely sounding breakfast was suggested in the Facebook Group. Chickpea pancake with roasted veggies, which can also be enjoyed for lunch – any veg you’ve got that looks a bit tired can be roasted or cooked in microwave to save on fuel costs, and can be revved up with a bit of lemon/cumin/salt.
29. Spinach, Tomato & Eggs
This breakfast was also suggested in the Facebook Group. Wilted spinach, with tomato (sliced or wedges), and poached egg(s) for breakfast or lunch.
30. Big Fat Omelette
A big fat omelette, another one from the Facebook Group: onions, peppers, mushrooms, ham, whatever, served with some greens. The Co-op do a mixed green veg pot which the readers friend buys and she likes to replicate (broccoli, peas, leeks, green beans with garlic and tiny bit of butter/frylight)
Aldi have a great value box of very good quality ham scraps
So, we’ve set you up for the day with lots of lovely breakfasts. What shall we have for lunch? I generally have soup for lunch when the weather is cool, and something more salad like when it’s warmer.
So let’s kick off lunch options with these, which is neither salad nor soup. I have them often, they’re very filling, very cheap and not many calories
1. Couscous Snacky Lunchtime Bites
Delicious couscous snacky lunchtime bites are super filling. I’ve found 3 or possibly 4, with a little salad is plenty for lunch, and at only 55 calories each, low calorie too. In this recipe, there are 8 olives between 12 bites. 8 olives are 1.5 Syns
2. A Trio of Vegetable Hummus
Lots of veg that can be used in just the same way as any hummus. All of them tasty. Enjoy with your HEXB, crudites or any combination of salad. Or on a jacket potato, no need for any butter. Be generous, they’re low Syn and they don’t cost much
There are 2 tbslp tahini in each batch, a total of 10 Syns, or 2.5 Syns per 100g. If you prefer to keep it Free, just omit the tahini
First trio is green pea, butternut squash and sweetcorn
3. Another trio of vegetable hummus
And this trio is beetroot, parsnip and swede
4. How To Make Soup
Soups are a fantastic dieting tool. Most are about 200 calories a bowl and easy to make Free on Slimming World. I generally add 100g red lentils to most soups to get a good hit of filling protein. The texture of soup means that it takes longer to leave your stomach than exactly the same food eaten from a plate. In short, a bowl of soup will keep you going until dinner
Many soups start with sauteing vegetables in a little oil. I like to do this as I think the vegetables develop more flavour. Fat of any kind has a Syn value, so to minimise this, either use Frylight, or miss out this step
5. Lettuce Soup
This is super low calorie and very good, contributed by a reader. There is a tsp of fat in each serving, 2 Syns
6. Spiced Broccoli Soup
7. Tom Yum
This is an unusual soup and well worth making as it’s super easy and very tasty. It has a strong flavour, which is important sometimes
8. Mixed Veg Soup
Another super simple soup option
9. Tomato Soup
According to my husband, this is the only soup in the world!
10. Lentil & Veg Soup
I love this and have it all the time
11. Jacket Potato Fillings
Many of these jacket potato fillings would be Free on Slimming World. As well as beans, or cheesy beans, which won a poll by a country mile, try chilli; tuna canned in water; cottage cheese and chive; sauted mushrooms (use frylight or water); ratatouille; roasted veg and a low fat hummus (try one of the vegetable hummus earlier in the post); tomato and onion. All would give a Free or Low Syn lunch
This simple recipe is fab with vegetable batons for a Free lunch
13. Butter Bean Pate
This has 10ml olive oil per serving, 4 Syns. The oil does make quite a difference to the flavour, but leave it out if you prefer. Enjoy with crudites of whatever vegetables you like, or your HEXB
14. Lentil Salad with Soy
You can omit the oil completely making this salad Free
15. Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry
This delicious sounding curry was suggested on the facebook group
You just need onion, sweet potato, tin tomatoes, tin chickpeas and some spices. Makes enough for 4/5 lunches or 2/3 dinners
16. Rice Salad
Cook some brown rice (stores very well in the freezer, ready to be used). Add some halved grapes, cooked peas, a little pepper from a jar and some of the juice to add flavour, and a good pinch of dried herbs, whichever one you like, or mixed herbs, or fine chopped fresh ones if you have any available. Add about a quarter of a tin of rinsed baked beans for protein. Top with a sliced hard boiled egg.
17. Pasta Salad
Cook some value penne, wholemeal if you can get it, and leave to go cold. Stir it well so it doesn’t set into a solid lump.
Potatoes and pasta, cooked and eaten when left to go cold, develop Resistant Starch which is satiating and will keep you fuller for longer than when they are eaten hot.
Roast some vegetables. Using a tsp of oil (2 Syns) mix in a chopped carrot, a half onion still in its skin, a few pieces of sweet potato. If you have a bit more money, you could consider a little aubergine or fennel as well. Season well with salt and pepper and roast until well cooked. Chop into small pieces. Leave to go cold and mix it all into your pasta, include all the lovely juices too. Add a little garlic if your work circumstances allow, and crumble in a little value Greek style feta. Half your HEXA of feta is 22g
18. Potato Salad
This was one of my favourite lunches when I was working and wanting something really filling. I cooked a potato in the microwave, then chopped it into large cubes.
Mix a tsp or two of full fat mayonnaise (2 Syns per tsp) and a 3 or 4 tablespoons of thick no fat yogurt.
Then add whatever combination of veg that you like. I used to like a small grated carrot, chopped radish, a cherry tomato or two (not chopped, it will make your salad watery) some shredded iceberg, grated raw swede or parsnip and a sliced raw mushroom
I had a lunchbox entirely full. It took a long time to eat and was lovely and filling
19. Couscous Salad
Mixing up some couscous with salad like diced peppers, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, finely sliced onion crescents and a little good quality balsamic vinegar can make a tasty lunch without all the syns/calories of a shop bought similar meal. It can be made more filling with chunks of chicken or other meats, although they obviously up the cost
Other cheap protein sources include rinsed baked beans, ham scraps from Aldi, perhaps a hard boiled egg, salted cashews or value roasted peanuts.
A Free option
20. Barley Salad
This rather wonderful salad is filling and sustaining
per serving 20g olives, 2 syns plus 10g walnuts a HEXB or 3.5 Syns, half tblsp oil 3 Syns. If you want to keep your salad completely Free, omit the olives, walnuts and oil
Use your HEXB for 60g wholemeal bread. Two slices from a wholemeal 400g loaf, a roll, a pitta. Fill with sliced chicken, value lean ham scraps, and stuff with iceberg leaves and cucumber. Use a tblsp chutney or pickle (1.5 Syns) for added flavour, or use tomato puree which is Free
22. Curry Loaf
When researching possible options, I came across this recipe for a curry loaf. It sounds amazing and great for a lunch box. Syn free
23. Burger and salad
There are many great burger recipes that are Free on Slimming World. You could try beetroot burgers, (per serving 20g oats, half a HEXB or 4 Syns) pea crumb fritters, (per serving 30g breadcrumbs, half of a HEXB or 3 Syns) or these interesting sounding green burgers. They contain 0.5 slice of bread, (less than half a HEXB or 2.5 Syns) use all cheddar for economy, 17g per burger, less than half a HEXA or 4 Syns, a tsp of flour, 1 Syn. Use frylight to fry the onions and the burger
Having chosen your burger, pack in a lunch box with some coleslaw. Finely chop white or red cabbage, grate a little carrot and mix with 1 tsp full fat mayonnaise (2 Syns) and 2 tblsps fat free thick Greek yogurt. Add a few onion slivers if you like, and perhaps a spoon or two of sweetcorn or cooked peas
24. Scotch Egg
Hard boil an egg. Peel and wrap with seasoned 5% beef, pork or turkey mince. Or use the meatball mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold. For lunch, half an egg is probably enough, enjoy with spinach leaves and shredded iceberg
25. Meat Loaf
Use the same mixture as for the Pork, Veg and Barley Meatballs. But instead of making it into meatballs, bake in a loaf tin to make a meatloaf. Serve a slimmer slice than you would at dinner, with some salady bits, and maybe some chutney or pickle
26. Veggie Pakoras
These wonderful looking Veggie Pakoras are from the Slimming World website
27. Bacon & Cheese Rosti
adapted from the Slimming World book Eat More For Less. Serve 2, 3 Syns each
Low-calorie cooking spray
The equivalent of 3 back bacon rashers, visible fat removed, from a pack of cooking bacon
400g floury potatoes such as King Edward, peeled
1 small onion
2 level tbsp self-raising flour
2 level tbsp freshly grated cheddar
a large egg
leaf spinach salad, to serve
Grill the bacon until crispy. Cut into thin strips.
Coarsely grate the potato and onion and squeeze out as much moisture as you can in a clean tea towel. Add to the cooked bacon. Mix in the flour, cheese and a little black pepper. Beat the egg and mix the whole thing very well
Spray a non stick frying pan with frylight and dollop in spoonfuls of mix, spaced well apart. Fry gently for 4 minutes each side until golden. You may need to cook the mixture in batches, in which case, keep the cooked rosti warm in a low oven while the rest are cooking. Serve with a handful of spinach and perhaps a tomato. Top with a poached egg if you have the funds
28. Baked Bean Dips
Masses of ideas here to take a can of baked beans, rinse them off and flavour them in one of these ways for a fab lunch time dip
And finally, don’t forget about leftovers. There is often enough left from last nights dinner to make a lunch for the next day. Or maybe combine 2 or 3 of the little dishes of this and that in the fridge leftover from something or other – you do pop every scrap of anything edible into the fridge don’t you? Those little dishes can often be pushed to the back and only taken out again when they’ve grown green whiskers.
Depending on what they are, they could be good on their own, or put into a sandwich, pitta or wrap, or mixed with chick peas, rinsed baked beans or fat green lentils to make a salad. Maybe with a little drizzle of dressing if it needs it
30. Leftovers Soup
And if you can’t eat your leftovers that way, or want to do something different with them, I put almost anything into a soup. Leftover salad that’s gone translucent, dressing and all, a scrap of lasagna, a tbslp of lentils and a cold potato would make a good soup.
1. Lentil Ragu with Spaghetti
This is topped with 50g cheese in the whole dish, 10 Syns, or 2.5 Syns per serving. Or use as part of your HEXA
There is also a tbslp oil in the whole dish, 6 Syns, or 1.5 per serving. Or use frylight
2. Baconey Tomatoey Pasta
A tblsp fat between 2 serving, 6 Syns or 3 Syns per serving
3. Beetroot Burgers
There are 75g oats in 4 servings. This is either half a HEXB or 4 Syns. Oven bake or use Frylight to pan fry.
4. Kounoupithi Yiahni
Steam the cauliflower instead of frying it to make this Free. It won’t have the lovely flavour of the olive oil, but it will still be good
5. Home Made Sausages
8g breadcrumbs per sausage, 1 Syn
6. Oven Baked Frittata
7. Green Lentil, Mushroom, Raisin & Cucumber Salad
This is a large and satisfying salad. A tsp brinjal pickle is about 0.5 Syn
8. Spaghetti Carbonara
There is 20g cheese per portion, use part of your HEXA, or 4 Syns. There should be no cream in an authentic carbonara, and there isn’t in this
9. Pork, Veg & Barley Meatballs
There are 20g breadcrumbs in 24 meatballs, everything else is Free
10. Mulligatawny Soup
Use 5% mince and this main course soup will be Free
11. Pad Thai
There are 40g roasted peanuts in 3 servings, tsp tamarind sauce, 50g palm sugar, a total of 22.5 Syns, 7.5 per serving. Use Frylight to fry the veg
12. Plain Chow Mein
This makes a huge bowl, there is a tblsp of oil per serving, or use frylight
13. Sardine Fish Cakes, Tuna Fish Cakes, Salmon Fish Cakes
These are Free if you use Frylight to fry them in
14. Fiery Potatoes
15. Green Lentil Cottage Pie
Makes 4 very generous portions. There is 100g of cheese on top (25g per serving). Use as part of a HEXA, or 5 Syns
16. Pumpkin Curry
This has 50g coconut milk powder which is a total of 16 Syns, or 4 Syns a portion
17. Herby Omelette with Chips
Use frylight in place of the oil to spray potatoes to make the chips rather than the frozen chips which have oil frozen onto them. This dish will then be Free
18. Spinach, Tomato, Plum & Feta Salad
This is a salad that I used on a 5:2 day. It has 25g feta, about half a HEXA, and a drizzle of olive oil, say a tsp, 2 Syns. A light lunch if you have it on its own. The recipe has 100g of crusty bread. I would leave that out completely
19. The classic Pasta and Tomato Sauce
Use frylight to cook the onion. The recipe is topped with 30g cheddar each. This is a HEXA or 6 Syns. The recipe is perfectly nice without the cheese too, when it would be Free. Make sure you season your tomato sauce well.
20. Protein Packed Quinoa Burgers
Protein packed quinoa burgers. You’ll need a sauce or chutney of some kind with them. Cook the onion in frylight. The curry paste is less than 1 Syn for a 2 burger portion
21. Spring Green Pasta with Parmesan
Has 15g parmesan per portion, half a HEXA or 3 Syns and use Frylight in place of the oil
22. Lamb Ragu for Shepherds Pie and with spaghetti
Use 5% lamb mince and no butter in the mash topping. The shepherds pie will be Free. Use the ragu over pasta and that will be Free too.
23. Beef Ragu for Cottage Pie and Spaghetti Bolognese
and this is the beef version. Again, use 5% mince
Use frylight for the onions and this tasty dish is Free
25. Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry
This lovely sounding curry was suggested on a Facebook Group
Chickpea sweet potato curry. Just need onion, sweet potato, tin tomatoes, tin chickpeas and some spices. Makes enough for 4/5 lunches or 2/3 dinners
26. An Everyday Curry
Cook a large carrot, a large onion and a large potato. Add a large tblsp of Pataks curry paste, any flavour. Add half a tin of tomatoes, half a can of water, 100g red lentils. Simmer gently for half an hour. Serve with rice if you like. Add chicken chunks, or pieces of fish if you like, but there’s lots of protein with the lentils
A Free option if you don’t use fat to cook your veg
27. Savoury Rice with Egg
Have the rice on its own and it’s Free. Eggs can be added, also Free. The tofu needs to be fried, not sure it will work using Frylight, so I’ve assumed that it isn’t used and also assumed no fat is used
28. Sag Aloo & Lemon Dahl
Use frylight instead of the oil and this lovely duo is Free
29. Dhal Sambar
You can use frylight to cook the vegetables, but it really needs the coconut. Each portion has 1 tblsp (10g) dried coconut, which is 4.5 Syns. Very filling
You can have a good portion of lasagna for 4.5 Syns. This recipe uses, per person, 250ml milk HEXA 1, 30g cheese, but if you use 25g, that can be your 2nd HEXA. Make the bechamel with no fat, you’ll barely notice the difference. The 25g flour is the Syns
Lots of lovely different flavoured versions.
Let us all know on Twitter (@ThriftyLesley), Facebook or Instagram (@ThriftyLesley) if you try any of these, all ideas gratefully received!
Let us all know on Twitter (@ThriftyLesley), Facebook or Instagram (@ThriftyLesley) if you try anyof these, all ideas gratefully received!