I think my favorite part about meal planning is having a list of cheap, healthy meal ideas that my family can make based on what we have in the pantry.
At the start of each week I take inventory of what I have in the kitchen, glance at what’s on sale at the stores and compare them both to this monthly meal plan.
Fifteen minutes later I’ve got a list of cheap healthy meal ideas for at least two weeks!
In reality, that list of meals usually lasts us the rest of month when you consider our weekly pizza nights, skipping the meal plan to eat leftovers and special treats out to dinner.
I know that this meal plan won’t fit every family nor every schedule, but it’s filled with summer meals that use fresh, seasonal produce. I’ve also taken into account summer heat, and included tons of meals that won’t heat up the kitchen!
Take the meals you like, leave the ones you don’t and re-arrange to fit what’s going on in your own home!
Cheap Healthy Meal Ideas: June 2016
Notes on these cheap healthy meal ideas:
- This meal plan is for the average family of four, costing approximately $330. You might need to change portion sizes according to your own family size and budget.
- Meals are based around 3 whole chickens, 1 beef chuck roast, Italian sausage, and bacon.
- The meals within this plan were designed to build off of each other, using leftovers when possible and allowing opportunities for batch cooking (i.e. making one big batch of tortillas instead of making “just enough” on two separate days. Take advantage of this to really lower your budget and reduce time spent in the kitchen.
Cheap Healthy Meal Ideas: Week 1
(S) Easy Spaghetti Carbonara
(M) Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
(T) General Tso’s Chicken Bowls
(W) Potato Lentil Nachos
(T) Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken
(F) Grilled Veggie Wraps
(S) Peas & Kale Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette and Biscuits
Cheap Healthy Meal Ideas: Week 2
(S) One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(M) Garden Vegetable Soup
(T) Grilled Vegetable Pizza
(W) Skillet Sausage, Potatoes & Peppers
(T) Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
(F) Green Chili Tamale Pie
(S) Spicy Southwestern Salad with 30 Minute Dinner Rolls
Cheap Healthy Meal Ideas: Week 3
Cheap Healthy Meal Ideas: Week 4
(S) Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce
(M) Garden Vegetable Lasagna Soup
(T) One Pan BBQ Chicken Potatoes
(W) Sausage Creole
(T) Slow Cooker Lasagna
(F) Mediterranean Chicken Salad Wraps
(S) BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad
Breakfasts are usually a variety of meals, based largely on what we have in the kitchen and almost always served with fresh fruit.
These are a few basic meal ideas, plus some recommended recipes that should align with the ingredients being purchased for the dinners above. Simple meals like breakfast porridge and baked oatmeal can be flavored based on what you have in your own kitchen.
Similar to breakfast, lunches are usually a variety of meals based on what’s in the fridge and pantry and come with a side of fresh fruit.
My first suggestion for lunch is always leftovers (unless the leftovers are already slated for another meal), but here are a few additional lunch ideas that are simple and easy to prepare. As a bonus, all of them can be tailored according to what you currently have on hand, and packed either for school or a picnic lunch on the go.
Since the goal is to not consume too much sugar, let’s keep the options minimal. Still, you’ll be able to enjoy either one of these treats.
Did you know that I make these meal plans every month? I sure do, and I’ve kept an archive of all of them. For more real food meal plan inspiration, visit this page.