meal planning ideas for families

Meal Planning Ideas for Families on a Budget

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There are meal planning ideas for families all over the internet. If you perform a search or go to Pinterest, you’ll find tons of different options for dinner ideas.

But when I was learning how to meal plan for my own family, I became very overwhelmed by all of the options, and it seemed like every single recipe called for 20 different ingredients!

Ain’t nobody got time for that! We’ve whittled our grocery budget down to about $100 per week, and these are a few of the staples you’d find in my home on any given day.

Side Note: Don’t neglect your veggies when meal prepping. Here’s a list of 21 high protein vegetables to help with your weekly meal prep.

6 Meal Planning Ideas for Families on a Budget

Quick Ingredients/Grocery List

  • 10 lbs ground beef or ground turkey (depending on family size and preference) $30
  • 1 Pkg Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast or Thigh-Family Pack $4
  • 1 Pkg Hot Dogs $1
  • Oregano $1
  • Garlic Powder $1
  • Italian Seasoning $1
  • Beef Boullion Base
  • Taco seasoning (this is the exact kind I use)
  • 1 Box Spaghetti Noodles or Squash $1
  • Tomato Sauce (4 small cans) $1
  • 1 Pkg Tortillas $2
  • Shredded Cheese $2
  • Onion (optional)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Tomatoes (optional)
  • 2 dozen eggs $3
  • 16 oz egg whites (carton) $4
  • 1 Minute Quick Oats Amazon sells gluten free options as well!
  • 1 Can Cream of Celery Soup

Total = $53 (not counting Amazon items as pricing can vary)…not a bad price for meal planning ideas for families.


Spaghetti-2 Nights with leftovers

  • 2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey (depending on family size)
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Beef Boullion Base (Tip: they make a paste (base) that’s much easier to scoop a spoonful into your sauce. Otherwise you can just use 2 cubes, dissolved in a tiny bit of water in the microwave. Then stir in). This is the one we use..
  • Noodles (Spaghetti or Squash)

Tacos-2 Nights with leftovers

  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • McCormick’s Taco seasoning-I use this exact one and it lasts forever!
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato

Eggs & 1-Minute Quick Oats

This is the breakfast of champions! 1/4 cup of dry oats with 1/2 package of Stevia. 2 whole eggs or 1 whole egg and 4 oz egg whites scrambled. You can make this for dinner as well with toast and jam!

Burgers and Hot Dogs – Yes, I feed my kids nitrates once a week. Sue me! 

Aldi sells hot dogs for about $1 per package. Grab some ground beef and head outside to the grill! By going bread-free, you’ll save a bit of money and can avoid carbs. My kids love hot dogs cut up with mac and cheese and broccoli. You could also make chili cheese dogs to add a bit of variety to your meal.

Cream of Celery Chicken

This is a delicious comfort food meal my Mom always made us when we were kids, but my sister-in-law added a special ingredient that takes it above and beyond. Grab a family pack of boneless skinless breasts or thighs (thighs are cheaper and juicier but have more fat). I paid $2.60 for a family pack just the other day. These go on sale first thing in the morning when they’re reaching their expiration date. There was a $2 off sticker on the package I picked up.

Wash and clean the chicken and add to the crock pot on low. Add in 1 can of cream of celery soup mixed with a small amount of milk. It doesn’t matter what kind of milk, but make sure you don’t get cream of chicken or cream of mushroom. You want cream of celery. This is your flavoring. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (test chicken for doneness) but about halfway through, cover the top of the chicken with Stove Top Stuffing. Trust me….It’s amazing!

Healthy Lunch Idea

Get a package of 93% lean (or leaner) ground turkey, and brown with taco seasoning. You can sautee onions and add if you really want extra flavor, but it’s unnecessary. If you’re on a KETO diet or low carb, section the turkey into 1/4ths (for 4 different lunches). Aldi sells premade guacamole for a couple of bucks in their specialty section. I buy the “chunky” guacamole.

Mix 1 tbsp guac into the ground turkey, and I promise this is such an indulgent lunch! Plain chicken breasts, turkey, and asparagus gets old after awhile. This is a great, inexpensive way to spice it up!

These are a few of the staples in my home. By sharing my meal planning ideas for families, I hope you’re able to cook more affordable meals throughout the week so you can save tons of money on groceries. You’ll want to fill in the blanks with some of your own favorite meals. These are just to get you started.

Let me know if you try one of them out what you thought of the recipes!

2 thoughts on “Meal Planning Ideas for Families on a Budget”

  1. I have used 1/2 of a pound of meat in pasta dishes with a pound of noodles. I also add canned tomatoes. I also put canned tomatoes in sloppy joe meat. Black beans can be added to tacos or any Mexican dish. I also but a whole container of oatmeal instead of individual packets. You get way more and aren’t paying so much for packaging. You can add your own flavor to the oatmeal using brown sugar or some kind of fruit you like. These are ways we save money and stretch meals.

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