Do you want to prepare healthy meals for your family? Do you want to save money on food? You can do both with our Budget Friendly Meals for Families ideas.
Eating Healthy and Saving Money can go hand in hand. It does take a little work, but it’s very simple. You just have to spend some time thinking about your meals and planning. I’m not talking about a full blown Meal Plan here, although that is a great idea.
Today we’re just talking about planning ahead (even if it’s just early A.M. and the meal your planning is today’s dinner). The great news is that you can plan this anywhere and anytime. All you need is a few minutes to think about it, so you aren’t coming up with something at the last minute or on the way home (that makes fast food too tempting).
Let’s look at some great options for simple meals. To keep it healthy, you’ll want to not use the pre-packaged meal options. That’s where the planning ahead comes in.
Budget Friendly Meals #1 – Bowls
Bowls are all the rage right now. I had my very first one about 15 years ago when I was on a Missions Trip in Guatemala. It was rice on the bottom and chili on the top. I may have been starving at the time, but I remember that it was really good!
If you haven’t tried a bowl yet, here is a simple way to make them.
Make the bottom layer rice, mashed potatoes (from a box or bag is fine) or shredded lettuce. Top it with a veggie or two, then a chopped up meat and finally a topping.
It could look like this – Mashed Potatoes, topped with corn, topped with crumbled ground beef topped with a mushroom soup.
Or, like I mentioned above – Rice, topped with a simple homemade chili and then some shredded cheddar cheese.
So much variety is available for bowls, that they are one of the best Quick and Easy Healthy Meals to make.
I love these beautiful bowls for serving our Bowl Meals in.
Budget Friendly Meals #2 – Pasta
Pasta isn’t bad for you as long as you don’t eat too much. After all, we do need to have some carbs in our daily diet.
Instead of making a spaghetti and cheesy garlic bread meal, how about a veggie meal?
Sauté your favorite veggies in a bit of olive oil. You could try red peppers, onion, mushrooms and broccoli. Serve them over your favorite pasta. Add a small side salad to complete the meal.
Budget Friendly Meals #3 – Eggs
I am a bit hesitant to put eggs on the list of Budget Friendly Meals for Families. They aren’t very cheap these days (is anything?), but if used wisely they can help meals go a long way.
One of the easiest and tastiest ways to use eggs is to make scrambled eggs. The nice thing is that you can add a variety of items to them. How about mushrooms or cauliflower? You may wish to sauté the veggies a bit first before adding to the eggs. Additionally, cooked sausage or bacon is a great addition to eggs and helps make them go further.
This is one of my favorite nonstick frying pan sets.
Budget Friendly Meals #4 – Rotisserie Chicken
I love picking up a large rotisserie chicken when we go to Sam’s Club. It is still a great buy. That chicken can be used in so many ways. How about simply eating it by pulling it off the bone (or eat the chicken legs just as you would if it was fried). Serve it with a side of veggies.
Or, you can chop up some of the chicken pieces and make a delightful chicken salad. Serve it in a big piece of lettuce.
Another option would be to add it to any of the pasta dishes or bowl dishes that you make from #1 or #2.
A final great option is to make this very simple chicken pot pie. We make this one all the time!
Budget Friendly Meals #5 – Sandwiches and Wraps
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a simple sandwich or wrap meal. If you are trying to cut calories, you can put just about anything you could put on bread in a wrap.
How about a simple ham and cheese sandwich/wrap? Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich/wrap? You could even use the chicken salad you made from the rotisserie chicken.
Our family loves grilled cheese sandwiches. Serve it with some tomato soup.
Budget Friendly Meals #6 – Salads
I know, you are probably thinking salads are boring and they are not a meal. If that is how you feel, I hope to change your mind.
Yes, a salad could be nothing but some lettuce, a few pieces of tomato and cucumber. Let’s call that a simple side salad. Or an Simple Italian Salad like this is also just a side dish. They may be tasty, but all salads are not like those.
A salad can also be a full meal. Have you looked at the salads offered at Wendy’s or Chick-Fil-A? They are filling and typically more than one person can eat at a sitting. Salads can have veggies, fruit, meat, dairy (cheese) and herbs. I’ve even had an excellent one with sliced white chocolate and coconut in it. Yum! It’s available at the Liberty Station in Virginia, if you happen to visit that area.
Example: A chef’s salad may include lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, hardboiled egg, olives, ham slices and turkey slices. Serve the salad with some crackers and forego the yeast breads (a calorie saving tip).
Check out the ingredients in some of the salads at your favorite restaurants for more great ideas on what you can put in a salad.
Budget Friendly Meals #7 – Soups
Soups are an excellent, filling choice as a budget friendly meal. You can make one from the leftovers in your frig. Those seem to be the ones that my family loves the most.
A few ideas for soups:
- Vegetable soup
- Hamburger (or steak or chicken) and veggie soup (a great way to use leftover meat)
- Ham and cheese chowder
Just as with the salads above, serve soups with crackers instead of rolls for both cost-savings and calorie-savings. If you are a stoneware fan like me, these soup bowls include a place for the crackers. It makes them extra fun to eat from.
I hope this simple list of 7 Budget Friendly Meals for Families has provided you with some ideas for upcoming meals. Please comment below if you have some additional ideas for Budget Friendly Meals. We’d love to hear them!