Do you hear “what’s for dinner?” the moment you walk into your home after a long day? Or are you constantly thinking about cheap meal ideas that won’t hurt your wallet but that are healthy and delicious for your family?
Feeding a big family is taxing on your finances and it’s easy to run out of ideas by mid-week, falling back on something like scrambled eggs on toast.
But, there are a ton of low budget healthy meals that are flavorful, affordable, and crowd-pleasing.
Check out 12 of our favorite cheap and healthy meal ideas here and get inspired.
1. Ground Beef Stew
There’s nothing better than a hearty stew to tuck into after a long day. And while stewing meat can be quite expensive, this stew uses ground beef, keeping the costs way down but being delicious and healthy!
Throw a whole lot of potatoes, carrots, and onions (all affordable vegetables) with ground beef into the slow cooker with garlic, tomato paste, and water, and in a couple of hours, you’ll have a tasty meal.
2. Vegetarian Chili
This is one of the best low-cost budget meals that will please even the fussiest eaters in your family. Beans are inexpensive, so you can make a mix of your favorite types in this chili with some added grains for a change of texture.
Serve it over a bowl of rice with some grated cheese on top and you’ve got a delectable dish. The best part? You can make a huge batch and it keeps and freezes well. In fact, it tastes even better the next day when the Mexican spices have settled in.
3. Pesto Pasta
This is not only one of the greatest cheap meal ideas, it’s also very simple and quick to make – perfect for those busy mid-week days. Simply mix store-bought pesto with your favorite type of pasta and voila!
You can get creative with it, adding any veggies you have in your fridge. Mushrooms, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes go particularly well with this meal.
4. Chicken Fried Rice
You can eat cheap and healthy and still enjoy the flavors of your favorite takeout food. Making your own fried rice is a healthier alternative and it’s very affordable. You only need a few staples: eggs, rice, and soy sauce.
Then you can add any veggies you have on hand, or use a handful or two of a frozen vegetable mix, and throw in some chicken for a protein kick. The family will love ‘takeout’ night at home.
5. Rotisserie Chicken and Potato Chowder
Rotisserie chicken is your best friend for healthy meals on a tight budget. It’s inexpensive, delicious and so versatile! In this rendition of ‘ways to use rotisserie chicken,’ you’ll be making a rich and hearty potato chowder with some added bacon and shredded chicken.
It’s the type of meal that looks and tastes like it took hours to make, but you can have it on the table in forty minutes.
6. Bowtie Chicken Caesar Salad
Salads are healthy and enjoyable, but they’re not very substantial. So a fantastic and cheap way to bulk up a classic chicken Caesar is with pasta. Bowtie pasta works very well and it’s a fan favorite with children.
As long as you’ve got Caesar sauce to top it all off, you can get creative with ingredients and put your own twist on it.
7. Skillet Chicken with Brussel Sprouts and Apples
Who says that a cheap meal plan can’t involve exciting food and flavors? You’ll leave your family impressed and begging for more after this meal. Simply cook seasoned chicken thighs in a skillet and add shredded brussel sprouts, apple, red onion, and garlic to the skillet.
The burst of flavors and different textures are very tasty and it’s a healthy, low carb, and protein-rich meal for your family.
8. Carrot and Cilantro Soup
Soup has long been known as the best way to eat healthy meals on a budget. You need very few ingredients to make a mouthwatering soup loaded with vegetables and nutrients. This carrot and cilantro soup needs only five ingredients but has powerful flavors and a whole lot of healthy goodness.
The classic Italian meal is made with onions, eggplants, zucchini but you can put your own spin on it, using vegetables that are in your fridge or available at your local supermarket.
You can serve the simmered and reduced vegetable medley with rice or fresh bread. It’s an inexpensive way to feed your family with nutrient-packed food.
10. Mexican Wraps
Again, a versatile meal to add to your cheap meal plan. Some staple ingredients are corn and black beans but you can choose to mix it up. Add chicken or ground beef or keep it vegetarian with rice and vegetable fillers.
Sign up for family dollar smart coupons and you can really set out a spread of ingredients to add to the wraps. Your family can get creative with their own wraps and everyone will end up with a healthy meal that they love.
11. Chicken Stir Fry
Stir-fries are quick and easy to make and you can load them with colorful and seasonal vegetables. Keep it cheap by serving it over rice or jazz it up with some affordable egg or instant noodles.
Add chicken and Asian flavors with soy sauce and garlic and you’re ready to go.
12. Chickpea Curry
Looking for cheap meal ideas that are ready in twenty minutes and packed with flavor? This chickpea curry is vegan and protein-rich. Add precut vegetables from your local grocery store, a tin of chickpeas, and creamy coconut milk.
It’s perfect for those chilly winter nights and will have your family going to bed with smiles on their faces.
Experiment With Low Budget Healthy Meals
Are you feeling inspired to get into the kitchen and whip up some of these amazing low budget healthy meals? Of course, these are just a guideline and you can switch up or build on any of these recipes to really make it your own.
If you enjoyed this post, keep exploring our site for more lifestyle and wellbeing articles for a happier, healthier life.
These are amazing and different meal ideas that I never think of, thank you so much for sharing! I will definitely be saving this for reminder the next time I go shopping. I love pasta and pesto but for some reason never make this at home, now I can’t wait! It would go great on stuffed raviolis as well, yum!