Are you looking out for budget friendly meals or inexpensive meals for families? If you’re facing the challenge of feeding a large family on a small budget, check out these cheap family meal ideas. There’s still hope that you can feed those hungry mouths with nutritious food, without breaking the bank.
The tips I’m sharing here are specifically for preparing meals for large families, but you could also apply the same to smaller families as well.
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Many people are harboring under the misconception that if you go cheap on your meals, there’s no options apart from ramen noodles or macaroni. Well, I beg to differ.
The term ‘tight budget’ is subjective, I agree. But generally speaking, the USDA states that living on around $130 a week for a family of four with two small children is considered a tight budget. Here’s how you could stretch the dollar a little more.
Feeding a Large Family on a Tight Budget
Draw Up Cheap Meal Plans in Advance
By planning cheap family meals, you can stick to buying the groceries that you actually need and avoiding kitchen waste.
- Draw up columns. One side has a list of the recipes you are planning for breakfast; lunch and dinner for the week. The other side features the groceries you need.
Plan meals using apps to prepare meals with produce at hand.
- Don’t list food for days that you’re eating out. Say, you’ve been invited for a birthday party or you’re having lunch at the office.
- Check out the pantry for cheap meals to make. Try to make low priced and easy meals from the ingredients that you already have with cheap recipes. You can also plan meals with just one or two more fresh ingredients added to them for large family meal planning.
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- You plan to make pasta and go buy some spinach. After using part of it, plan a salad using the rest the next day, as cheap meal ideas for families. Don’t let it go waste. Again if you need almond meal, it costs around $50 a kilo. Instead, buy natural almonds and use your food processor to mill it. You get the drift.
- Also, check to see the leftovers to offer inexpensive family meals. Use them first. Make cheap dishes, which are simple and frugal meals, but nutritious nonetheless. Here are some samples for $50 weekly menus. Check them out.
- Check out Supercook and other such apps to enter your ingredients and find a suitable recipe, so that you can feed a family on a budget recipes
Buying the Best Value for Money
Groceries can take a big chunk out of your paycheck while trying to provide healthy meals for a large family on a budget. But you can still continue buying the foods you love; just use a few tricks to bring the bill down by nearly 25% while cooking on a budget.
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- Check out the pantry before grocery shopping when trying to cook cheap meals for large families. Look at the deals and then plan your meals around whatever is available on sale.
- Don’t throw away food or groceries. According to National Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away about 25% of groceries. Check out expiry dates and place these foods in the front, so you don’t forget to eat them.
- Check out low cost alternative for your purchases to prepare budget family meals. For instance, why not go in for ground turkey instead of ground beef? Again, some beef cuts are on sale all the time, so target these. Once I saw ground beef being sold at around just $2 for a pound. People were loading up the meat to fill their freezers.
- You could even buy protein powder if you feel you’re short on protein. Make a protein shake for the family. Or opt for quinoa and cottage cheese for budget dinners and inexpensive meals to cook.
- Identify foods having nutritional value and costing less when considering cheap meals for family. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and carrots are great value for money and can be used for large family dinner ideas.
- Do a reconnaissance and compare the prices of common items, such as milk; bananas; chicken at various supermarkets like Walmart and Costco to prepare economical family dinners.
- Check out the coupons available (Hint: you can use coupon apps to know about the best savings for family budget meals) and load them on your store card, so that you don’t forget to bring them while shopping
Grow your Herbs
I feel awesome every time I go to the backyard to pick out the herbs I need. The bonus is it’s organic without use of any pesticides. You can even freeze the extra produce and use them later. If you don’t have a backyard, not to worry! You can place small pots or mason jars to grow thyme and oregano in order to prepare cheap meals for a family of 8 or so.
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Buy in Bulk
You can save almost 50% by buying in bulk. Of course, these must be food that has a good shelf life. For instance, you can plan so many meals using cheese and its nutritious. Dry pasta, canned goods, oats, meat on sale and so on.
Hint: It’s a good idea to invest in a large freezer. The more space you have, the better to store in leftovers and prevent waste.
Summing it up
I agree unhealthy food is more accessible and it is also cheaper at most times. But they can lead to more money down the drain in the form of medical expenditure over the years. Why not eat healthy and nutritious food on a limited budget?
I’m not suggesting you live on pasta and ramen and save those dollars. But if you implement the above tips, it is surely possible to eat cheap and healthy meals within your budget, with a little bit of planning, creativity and total commitment to no wastage.
It goes without saying that you have to stop eating out and begin cooking your own meals. No more frozen dinners. Of course, sometimes you can get frozen dinners on sale, so those are the days for shelving your recipes.
All of us cannot have a collie cutter family of 4. If you stick to these tips, you can control your budget, get more organized and also stay healthy, while preparing cheap meals for six or more family members.