Family meals for under $10
In our new normal, your home is no longer just a home. It’s probably a restaurant now, too—serving every meal, every day. Hungry family members have taken the place of impatient customers, and they don’t tip nearly as well, either. So with your budget tightening and meal prep becoming more crucial than ever, how can you keep the whole family fed and happy without breaking the bank?
We’ve prepared a menu of meal ideas that you can prepare for less than $10 for a family of four:
- Tacos – Tacos are one of the foods that are almost universally loved. They can be built with only the basics to accommodate the pickiest eaters, or complex to satisfy the adventurists. They are infinitely adaptable, and most of the ingredients are cheap. Start with the basics: Tortilla, chopped lettuce, cheese, salsa and ground beef (if you are a meat-eater). From there, you can add things like spices, cooked vegetables or whatever else you have available to put your own spin on taco night.
- Mac and cheese – Mac and cheese is easy to make in bulk, and can be modified your own way to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions. In a basic form, we like using pasta, cheddar, broccoli, evaporated milk and chicken breast to build a hearty meal. But cauliflower florets can stand-in for either the pasta or the chicken, as a low-carb vegetarian option, and the broccoli can be swapped out for whichever vegetable you prefer. The rest of the toppings and spices are up to you, it’s hard to go wrong.
- Rice and beans – Beans and rice are the foundation for some delicious and thrifty meals. Add cheese and tortilla for a filling burrito, or chicken and vegetables for a well-rounded meal. Substitutes like quinoa and lentils can also help make a variety of nutritious bowls and salads. One of our favorite simple and fast summer meals is grilled chicken, black beans and some homemade pico de gallo (tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper) over your choice of rice. It never gets old, and can be made easily for less than $10.
- Chili – Let your slow cooker do the work, while you and your wallet take a rest. As long as you have a crock pot, some protein, vegetables, stock/broth and a few common spices, you can make an affordable family meal with minimal prep. With no more than a handful of ingredients, you can build a basic hearty chili (beef/turkey, onion, diced tomatoes, black/red beans, beef broth, chili powder), white chicken chili (chicken, salsa verde, white beans, chicken stock, cumin) or vegetarian chili (sweet potato, black beans, onion, vegetable stock, salsa), among many others. There are so many chili toppings of every variety that you’re sure to find combinations that satisfy the whole family.
These meal ideas are just a budget-friendly starting point. You can add your own personal touch to any of the options here, and be confident that you won’t put a strain on your wallet. For more tips on how to adapt your lifestyle to fit your new normal at home, check out our resource guide here.