Inexpensive Meal Ideas for Families

If you think that healthy food is going to burn a hole in your pocket, then think again. There are a lot of meal plans that are not only good for the health but are also quite cheap. Read this article to know more about such meal plans.
Tastessence Staff
Food prices are increasing rapidly these days. Hence, it is necessary to choose food items that can fit into your budget easily. For this, you might need to search your mother's old cook book for recipes that can help you in this regard. If not that, then you can try out some of the ideas mentioned in this article for your family members and friends. Though some of the inexpensive meal ideas listed below may not be wholesome, they are sure to help you in the month end!

Healthy Meal Ideas

For Breakfast

► Most of us love cornflakes and they also easily fit into the monthly budget. These can be mixed with milk and honey or sprinkled with some sugar.

► Another option is to buy eggs. They are not expensive and can be served for breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner. Scramble them into rice or cook an omelet to serve a healthy breakfast for your family.

► Also, one can stock his/her kitchen with ready-to-cook mixes and pancakes and serve them for an early morning breakfast. Pancakes can be blended with different inexpensive fruits to make the breakfast yummy. These are available at cheaper prices in the wholesale market.

For Lunch

► As we already know, eggs are inexpensive and easy to cook. They can be boiled and served with bread for lunch. Baked scrambled eggs with pepper or egg noodles are also popular options.

► Another option is to make a toast and serve it with vegetables. Also, sandwiches with peanut butter and some fruits, like apples or bananas can also be served for an afternoon lunch.

► Furthermore, you can choose to pick chicken if you are intending to have a heavy lunch. Pick up a large chicken from a wholesale food store and stock it up by roasting it. The roasted chicken can be mixed with different curries or diced with tomatoes for a toothsome lunch.

For Dinner

► Packaged soups are cheaper than the ones available at restaurants. So, buy a canned soup that can go along with cheese, sandwiches, or just bread. They are a perfect option for a late night dinner. Most of the soups can also be sipped alone. Well, that's if you prefer a light dinner.

► Another great option for an inexpensive dinner can be salads. They are nutritious and go well with soups and sandwiches. They also make the dinner light. One can opt for making a salad sandwich or potato salad, and both these options can be made quickly and are inexpensive as well. Chicken salad can also be prepared quickly and served for dinner.

► Eggs, as you know, are an all-time hit. They go well with bread, rice, and noodles. Baked egg rolls, scrambled goose eggs, fluffy scrambled eggs, and other egg recipes can be tried out if you love eggs.

► Another delectable item in this list is yogurt rice. Mix yogurt and rice together and your meal is ready. Rice is inexpensive and readily available at home and yogurt if homemade, is cost-effective.

► If you wish to have desserts after your dinner, try baking some white flour cakes and top them with fruits that are cheap, chocolate syrup bought from a wholesale store, or whipped cream that's made at home. Also, homemade pudding with a layer of whipped cream is quite a cost-effective dessert idea.

For Kids

► Kids enjoy bread and jam. So, buy some jams and stock them in the kitchen. Jams can fit into your budget if bought in bulk.

► One more way of saving money is to prepare sauces at home and serve it with a sandwich or an omelet. A sweet chili sauce that contains tomato and honey can be easily prepared. Homemade sauces are cheap and go well with sandwiches and eggs. Sauces like the tomato, chili, and tamarind sauce can be easily prepared at home and are relatively inexpensive when bought from a wholesale shop.

► Another option is to buy honey in large quantities. It can be served along with chicken, tuna, or eggs. Kids love food when something sweet is served along with it. One can try out baked chicken with honey for the kids.

► If your family is vegetarian, then you can bake potatoes and spread some cheese over it for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or lunch.

For Guests

► If guests suddenly drop into your place for lunch or dinner, you generally opt for some quick meals. The quick meals can also be cost-effective and tasty. Pasta is a great option for large groups and families. A pasta salad with broccoli and onion is easy to cook, and it is loved by a majority of people.

► Spaghetti is also cheap, yummy, and easy to make. Try cooking spaghetti with butter or cheese.

► Pasta and spaghetti make a great combination and can serve a large group of people.

► If you do not have both in the house, then boil some 2 - 5 minute noodle packets. They are cheap and available everywhere in the market. These are tasty and can be cooked by anyone.

For Vegans

► Vegans can go and grab some potatoes from the market and mash, chop, bake, or fry them with other vegetables available in the house. Also, a potato soup can be easily cooked and relished by these people.

► If you are bored of eating potatoes, then you can mix up some green leafy vegetables and make a leafy vegetable salad for everyone.

► Another option is to make different types of sprout curries and serve them with bread, rotis, or rice. They are inexpensive and easy to make.

► As we know, rice is inexpensive when bought in large amounts. So, you can add onions, tomatoes, spinach, and other vegetables and make a meal. Cooking rice with tomato and green chillies makes for a spicy meal.

For the Whole Family

► Include oatmeal in your breakfast. It is tasty, healthy, and inexpensive and a good source of magnesium, iron, and calcium along with other minerals and dietary fibers. It also contains vitamin B and E that helps in the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Oatmeal cereal or pancakes can be made quickly without spending a lot of money. It can be flavored with honey or sugar and served to the kids. Baked oatmeal is also a very good option .

► As discussed above, egg is cheap and hence can be included in almost every meal of the day. It is a nutritious food and is rich in proteins and amino acids. It is also a natural source of vitamin D and choline. Choline helps in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and brain.

► Cheese and butter sandwiches are quick-bite options that provide different amino acids, vitamins, and proteins. Tuna, chicken, and vegetable sandwiches contain large amounts of proteins, vitamin B, and calcium.

► Fruits are highly nutritious and can be blended with vegetables to make a dish that is inexpensive and healthy. Buy some fruits from the wholesale market and serve them after dinner. A salad or sandwich made with a combination of strawberry and spinach is a rich source of calcium and vitamin C.

Plan Well

► Saving on milk is a good idea to save money. Use powdered milk instead of whole milk. If you are not very fond of powdered milk then mix it with whole milk and reduce the proportion each time till you get used to it.

► Use homemade juice concentrates instead of buying different types of juices from the market. This will also save some money.

► Store pickles in your kitchen, as they go well with plain rice, bread, or rotis. Pickles are cheap and can also be made at home easily.

► Go the vegan way by skipping non-vegetarian food items and including vegetables in the meal for a few days, as vegetables are always cheaper than chicken, tuna, or fish.

In the end, hoping that you greatly benefit from these inexpensive meal ideas for families. Careful meal planning can help you cut down your expenses a great deal. Happy eating!
Vegetarian Curries
Raw Mango Concentrate
Powdered milk
Oatmeal with bananas
Garden salad with fresh vegetables on glass plate.
Potato wedges on white plate
Noodles in plate
Vegetable Pasta Salad
Baked Potato with Grated Cheese
Vanilla pudding with whipped cream
Curd Rice
Vegetarian Eggrolls with Dipping Sauces
Summer Potato salad
Omelet with herbs on a plate
Cornflakes cereal and milk