5 Kid-Approved, Cheap Meal Ideas to Feed the Whole Family this Summer Break
School’s out for summer! That means later, lazier mornings without having to get everyone out the door before the sun comes up, and nights spent catching lightning bugs in the backyard instead of finishing homework assignments. But with the kids home from school, it also means there are a few more mouths to feed.
Looking for ways to feed the whole gang without breaking the bank? Read on for some dirt-cheap meal ideas. Even if you don’t have a whole family to feed (we’re looking at you, college students), these could come in handy when you’re in a pinch or just want to spend less on food.
1. Sticky rice, vegetables, and soy sauce
(70 cents per serving)
This meal is cheap, easy, and fairly healthy. Just steam some rice, heat up a can of vegetables (or a bag of frozen veggies), and mix the vegetables and rice together with soy sauce. (To make it even cheaper, save any extra soy sauce packets the next time you order take-out!)
- 2 cups of uncooked rice: $1
- Canned or frozen vegetables: $1.19
- Soy sauce: $1.99
Total: $4.17 (makes six servings)
2. Spaghetti with homemade marinara
($1.36 per serving)
You’d be surprised how easy it is to whip up homemade marinara sauce. First, cook your spaghetti noodles and set aside. Then, sauté a large can of tomatoes, half a chopped onion, and a pinch of garlic for 10-20 minutes to make your sauce. Pour the sauce on the spaghetti and you’re done!
- 1 large can of tomatoes: $1.49
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped: 50 cents
- Pinch of garlic: 25 cents
- Loaf of bread: $1.99
- 12-oz. package of spaghetti: $1.19
Total: $5.42 (makes four servings)
3. Pot roast with vegetables
($1.40 per serving)
If your family is craving something hearty, this pot roast is the perfect go-to for a meat and potatoes kind of meal. Start by placing a small rump roast in your slow cooker and covering it with water. While it’s cooking, chop up some potatoes and peeled carrots. After three hours, add them to the slow cooker with salt and pepper. The roast should cook for another three to four hours after that. Then it’s ready to serve.
- Rump roast: $10
- 6 potatoes: $2
- Small bag carrots: $2
Total: $14 (makes 10 servings)
4. Grilled chicken and sweet potato fries
($1.83 per serving)
Here’s a great healthy dinnertime option. For the potatoes: wash them, cut them into half-inch thick circles, drizzle them with olive oil, and bake them at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. While they’re cooking, grill the chicken breasts until they’re no longer pink in the middle. Serve both with barbecue sauce.
- 6 chicken breasts: $8
- 4 sweet potatoes: $2
- Barbecue sauce: $1
Total: $11 (makes six servings)
5. Tuna melts
($1.62 per serving)
Pump up your plain grilled cheese with some protein! Mix together two cans of tuna and mayonnaise and set aside. You’ll go through the steps you usually do to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Then, add your tuna salad mixture and tomato slices.
- 2 cans of tuna, mixed with mayonnaise: $2.48
- Loaf of bread: $1.99
- Four slices of cheese: 50 cents
- 2 medium tomatoes: $1.60
Total: $6.47 (makes four servings)