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Budget-friendly meal ideas your kids will love

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Between juggling work, household chores, and your children's activities, finding time to prepare healthy and budget-friendly meals can be overwhelming. But don't worry; this article has some simple and delicious meal ideas to satisfy even the tightest budget. With some planning and creativity, you can provide your kids with nutritious lunches and dinners they and your wallet will love!


Lunchbox Ideas


Mini Pizza Pinwheels: Roll out whole-grain pizza dough, spread tomato sauce, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, and add favourite toppings like diced veggies, ham, or turkey. Roll it up, slice it into pinwheels, and pack them in the lunchbox.

Colourful Veggie Wraps: Spread hummus or cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla and layer with colourful sliced veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Roll it up and cut it in half.



Nut Butter and Banana Sushi: Spread almond or peanut butter on a whole-grain tortilla, place a peeled banana on one end, and carefully roll it up. Slice into sushi-like pieces and watch the delight on your child's face!

Cheesy Quesadillas: Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with shredded cheese and add some cooked and diced chicken or beans for protein. Fold it in half and lightly toast in a non-stick pan until the cheese melts.

Yummy Pasta Salad: Cook whole-grain pasta and mix it with colourful veggies like cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, and olives. Toss with a simple vinaigrette dressing and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Dinner Ideas


Sneaky Veggie Spaghetti: Blend cooked carrots, zucchini, and spinach into a smooth sauce, then mix it with whole-grain spaghetti and lean ground turkey or beef. Top it off with a sprinkle of grated cheese.


Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders: Coat chicken strips in a mixture of whole-wheat breadcrumbs and seasonings, then bake until golden and crispy. Serve with a side of sweet potato fries and a healthy dip like Greek yoghurt with herbs.



Veggie-Packed Mac 'n' Cheese: Prepare a classic macaroni and cheese recipe with a twist by adding pureed butternut squash or cauliflower to the cheese sauce. Your kids won't even notice the extra veggies!


Rainbow Stir-Fry: Stir-fry a medley of colourful veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, and carrots with diced tofu or chicken. Toss with a light teriyaki sauce and serve over brown rice.



Pita Pocket Pizzas: Stuff whole-wheat pita pockets with tomato sauce, shredded cheese, and their favourite toppings like sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, and olives. Toast in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden.


Tips for Success

  1. Involve Your Kids: Bring your children into the kitchen and let them participate in meal planning and preparation. When they feel a sense of ownership, they're more likely to eat what they've helped create.

  2. Create a Weekly Meal Plan: Sit down on the weekend and plan your meals for the upcoming week. This way, you can make a comprehensive grocery list and avoid last-minute stress when deciding what to cook.

  3. Batch Cooking: Prepare large batches of certain ingredients like roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, or cooked quinoa at the beginning of the week. This will save time when assembling lunches and dinners.

  4. Make it Fun: Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes for sandwiches or fruits. Arrange colourful veggies in smiley faces on their plates or add googly eyes to their snacks for a playful touch.


Meal planning on a budget might seem daunting initially, but with creativity and organisation, you can make nutritious and delicious meals that your kids will love. By involving them in the process and adding a dash of fun to the table, mealtime can become an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the entire family. Remember, small steps can lead to significant changes, and your efforts to provide healthy meals for your kids will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their well-being and future eating habits and your wallet. Happy meal planning and happy eating!


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