The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

Cheap and Healthy Meals for the Family on a Budget

Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to spend a great deal of money on food, especially if you practice proper portion sizes. While the children may have objections to the meal, they will get everything they need from the experience. The suggestions below can be adapted any way you wish, but these family favorites are good meals as written. These are just a few ideas to help you get started to eating healthier.

1. Beef and Cabbage – Beef and cabbage isn’t anything new in the grand scheme of things. It is a relatively easy and cheap meal to make and can provide a great deal of nutritional value. Normally, we season our meat with season salt to add more flavor. However, the onions and cabbage make up the rest of the experience. The below components are based on a “per person” recipe.beef and cabbage

  • Three ounces of lean beef
  • One cup of chopped onions
  • Two cups of chopped cabbage

The onions and cabbage can be added to the beef after it has been drained, but we usually saute the onions with the beef. It seems to add more flavor to the dish.

2. Chicken and Potatoes – I know, mashed potatoes are viewed as a “no-no” to many health food afficianados out there. However, anything can be enjoyed as long as it’s eaten in moderation. Saute the onions and peppers for a greater effect. Much like the meal above, we mix the chicken with other vegetables and a small amount of the “Panda Express” mandarin or orange chicken sauce that you can pick up at nearly any grocery store. If used correctly, the sauce can last quite a long time. Again, below is based on per person and should be adjusted for the number of people you are feeding.

  • Three ounces of chopped chicken
  • One cup of onions
  • One cup of bell peppers (or green peppers)
  • Two tablespoons of mandarin or orange sauce

In most cases, we use a big mixing bowl to combine the above ingredients. This ensures that the sauce is tasted throughout the entire meal. Since I have a fascination with instant potatoes, we serve this with a single cup scoop. Garlic potatoes taste great with this meal.

3. Salads – We love our salads. One of the most wonderful aspects of salads is that you can add so much to them without it being ruined or gross. Some of the goodies that I add to my salads include:

  • Raw spinach – usually makes up half of the salad
  • Mushrooms
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Raw pea pods
  • Grilled chicken
  • Carrots
  • Onions – if I include chicken
  • Crab – real meat is best, but imitation will do.
  • Raw broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • And anything else that isn’t sweet that is good cold

healthy salad


Mixing any three of the above in a single salad can provide a great deal of nutritional value to your daily routine, especially if you use a great deal of spinach.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to taste bland. Seasonings can spice up virtually any meal and many of the herbs are wondrous for you as well. Any one of the above meals should cost you less than $2 per person depending on where you shop. Growing your own veggies could save you even more. This is far healthier and cheaper than driving through the fast food window.

About the Author: 

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com. You can reach Ken at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com

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