Cheap & Healthy Meal Plans For Families On A Budget

It’s 2020 and a new batch of first-time parents are asking themselves, “How did our grandparents and parents do it?”

Juggling all the house works, the kids, and financial needs? And of course, feed a family of four. For first-time parents, these questions might be hunting you every night but worry no more because we have the answers to all your questions.

A cheap and healthy meal plan for your family is what you need. Yes, this meal plan may take a lot of your time but the health of your family is your wealth so better prioritize your everyday meals.

So how can a first-time parent with an average income feed a family of four?

Know your Budget First

Before thinking and buying all the delicious food, you first need to know how much money you’ll be spending on your meals. Do you have an average income or are you currently on a tight budget?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a full-time wage on a weekly basis is around $919 while median part-time workers earn $272 per week.

If you’re lucky to be a full-time worker, you’ll have a $131.28 budget per day while part-time workers have a $38.85 budget per day. This budget will determine how much money are you going to spend on food.

Meal Plans

After knowing your budget per day, it’s time to come up with your meal plan. For some instance, a family of 4 can have a healthy meal for $45 per week.

According to an article in Living in a Dime to Grow Rich, there are plenty of ways to serve your family healthy yet cheap meals. In fact, here are some of the easy meal plans that you can serve:

Beef and Noodles

Beef and Noodles -$1.00

Roasted veggies-$1.00

Canned peaches -$.89

 Total meal – $2.89

Stew

Stew – $.10

Potatoes -S.25

Carrots $.25

Muffins -.40

Total meal- $1.00

Pan Fried Lemon Chicken

Easy Pan Fried Lemon Chicken Recipe -$3.75

Coleslaw $1.00

Total meal- $4.75

Check more cheap meal plans here.

Alternative Ingredients

The next thing to keep in mind when budgeting your cheap family meal plans is to look for alternative ingredients.

Which ingredients are healthy for your family and for your budget? Chicken, turkey, and pork are considered as the cheapest meat in the U.S. so if you’re looking for budget-friendly meals, these meats are a great deal.

You can also use these money-saving ingredients when planning your family meals.

  • Dried Beans instead of canned beans ($1.34 per pound)
  • Canned Tuna instead of fresh fish ($1.89)
  • Potatoes (73¢ per pound)
  • Eggs ($1.85 per dozen)
  • Cheese ($5.02 per pound)

Save some money and stick to your budget by buying these cheaper cuts of meats:

  • Ground chuck
  • Lamb shoulder chops
  • Flank steak
  • Chuck roast

Also, one helpful tip to save money on buying meat is to grind or cut it on your own because sliced and grind meats in supermarkets costs more.

Where to Buy Cheap Ingredients

After finalizing your meal plans, it’s time to look for cheap grocery stores near you. Thankfully, these top cheapest store in the U.S. is here to help you stick to your budget.

Aldi

Aldi is a famous German retailer that offers low-costs products. According to an article, Aldi’s prices are 22% cheaper than Walmart’s. When it comes to planning a cheap healthy meal, this store will surely help you save a huge amount of money. They offer good quality of oranges, cereals, and butter at an affordable price.

Want to shop at Aldi? You can check their location at Aldi’s store locator.

WinCo.

WinCo. is a warehouse-like store that offers great deals. They often sell their items on bulks and receive their products directly from farms and factories. One of their membership perks is that you can shop your groceries online through their official website.

Some of their branches are located at Henderson, Las Vegas, Marysville, Reno, Moscow, etc. They are also open for 24 hours so you can shop at any time of the day and night.

WilCo’s store locator

Fareway

The Fareway meat and grocery is a Midwest grocery company based in Iowa, Fareway Stores, Inc. This grocery store has a reputation as one of the cheapest stores that offer good quality products. According to their shoppers, one of their famous deals is the three 24-packs of soda or other beverages for under $11.

Fareway also offers grocery gift cards that you can give to your family and friends during special occasions. You can purchase Fareway’s gift card here.

Fareway’s store locator

How to Get Discounts and Coupons

If you’re familiar with the show, “Extreme Couponing” then you already have an idea of how important these coupons are. Believe it or not, some people use coupons to buy their groceries for free. Yes, these coupons can be a big help especially if you’re really on a tight budget.

If you’re interested in getting discounts and grocery coupons, here’s where you can get them:

Local Newspaper

You can collect coupons and discounts in the advertisements section of your local newspaper. But most of the time coupons are given every Sunday edition of newspapers.

The Entryway Of Stores

Usually, there’s a coupon rack or coupon machines in the entryway of small stores. You can check grocery coupons there or other coupons that you’ll need.

Online Coupons

Thanks to the internet, everything that you need is now searchable online including grocery coupons. You can check www.coupons.com for free printable coupons. You can also check different websites that offer printable discounts. Just make sure that it’s a trustworthy website to avoid any problems.

Important Tip: Know What You Eat

Lastly, being on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you’ll be buying cheap and unhealthy meals. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to give the best for your kids. And the most important thing to keep in mind when planning your meals is to know what you eat.

Proteins, Carbohydrates, and healthy fats, these are the three major nutrients that your kids need to have a balanced diet and healthy development.

Proteins are important because they help our body to build and repair tissues. It is also one of the important building blocks of our blood, muscles, bones, and skin. For kids, eating a  high-protein meal is important because it will help them grow and develop their organs and immune system.

Your kids will also need meals that are rich in carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates provide fuel for our central nervous system and muscles, it will keep your children energized and active during their daily activities. Carbohydrates are also important for your brain functions because it influences our memory, mood, and energy source.

Last is healthy fats. Some of you may think that all fats are bad in our bodies but it’s not. There are healthy or good fats that can give us a lot of benefits. So what are good fats? 

Good fats are the unsaturated fats and omega-3s, these fats help our body to fight fatigue, improve our mental health, manage our moods, and maintain our weight. While bad fats or artificial trans fats and saturated fats are the reason for heart attacks, weight gain, and the increase in health risks.

Below is the list of ingredients that contains proteins, carbohydrates, and good fats. You can use these ingredients to create a cheap and healthy meal for your family. 

Proteins

-1 large egg (6g of proteins)

-1 cup of Milk (8g of proteins)

-1 chopped, cup, or diced chicken breast (43g of proteins)

-7 tbsp of oats (16.9g of proteins)

-1 NLEA serving of broccoli (4.2g of proteins)

-Per 100 grams of shrimp (24g of proteins)

Carbohydrates

-1 medium Banana (23% carbs)

-1 cup, cubes of sweet Potatoes (18–21% carbs)

-1 medium Apple (13–15% carbs)

-1 cup of Kidney beans (22.8% carbs)

-1 cup of Blueberries (14.5% carbs)

Healthy Fats

-1 cup of Avocadoes (32% fat)

-1 cup of Nuts (110% fat)

-1 oz of Chia Seeds (13% fat)

-1 cup, crumbled of Cheese (60% fat)

-1 oz of Dark Chocolates (13% fat)

When we were young, we always wanted to grow up fast but now that we’re already an adult, we just wanted to escape from all the responsibility. But this is not how the real world works, so we stretch our bones and work hard for our needs. 

Luckily, there are guidelines that we can follow especially on budgeting our income to serve healthy and delicious meals to our family even if we’re on a tight budget.

We often think that parenting is easy-peasy because our parents made it look uncomplicated. But now that we’re entering the stage of parenthood, we understand why our parents made anything possible.

It’s because our kids give us a chance to be better than we are. That’s why parents make the best out of nothing and even make the impossible, possible.

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