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Best cheap easy but healthy meals

16 replies

JustOnewouldbenice · 25/09/2020 08:08

Have a 2 month extreme budget
I’m no good at cooking but I do have a slow cooker. I’ve looked online but can’t really see the sort of recipes I need.
Cheap easy but healthy meals for a big family.
Kids have a daily multivitamin and iron so I think they are covered but I want to boost their immune systems too and I’m just confused what is really cheap but really healthy and cheap is the important bit
Are there any foolproof recipes or staple items I should get

OP posts:
RickOShay · 25/09/2020 08:10

Baked potatoes and beans?
Lentil dal is delicious.
How many are you cooking for and how old?

chocolatespiders · 25/09/2020 08:15

Spag bol bulked out with lentils to make it stretch further and add a grated carrot.
Soup and a toastie night (seen on MN) can throw lots of goodness into soup.
In the free tesco magazine they do a five meals for £25.00 promotion which is worth a look at for ideas.
Do you have a good selection of shops near you?
Do you have a community fridge near you?

chocolatespiders · 25/09/2020 08:17
chocolatespiders · 25/09/2020 08:18

This is popular in our house - can be adapted as you like.

TryTry123 · 25/09/2020 08:21

The budget cook, 'A Girl Called Jack' has a website with lots of free recipes. She does meals for under 2 pounds.

JustOnewouldbenice · 25/09/2020 08:22

3 adults 3 children

OP posts:
JustOnewouldbenice · 25/09/2020 08:24

Thankyou I’ll have a look at all these recommendations. I have staples like stick cubes, spices, herbs I just never know what to do with anything and I don’t want to be relying on cheap freezer stuff when maybe we could have cheaper and healthier meals but I never know where to start so this will be really helpful

OP posts:
WillYouDoTheFandango · 25/09/2020 08:24

I’ve found these to be good. They’re in the monthly free Asda book but also online.

Lunaballoon · 25/09/2020 08:24

Large bags of rice (Morrison’s is good for these, I usually pay around £9 for a huge bag that lasts for ages.
Various types of pasta, look out for cheap deals.
Noodles for stir fries.
Tins of tomatoes
Dried pulses - lentils, chickpeas etc. One pack of dried chickpeas can be cooked and frozen in multiple portions.
Spices, herbs, stock cubes

SisyphusAndTheRockOfUntidiness · 25/09/2020 08:28

If your family like chinese food, is pretty good. I tried it plain the first time, then with some spring onions, bacon & soy sauce. I've since experimented with adding other stuff - any veg I fancy, e.g. a few peas, a bit of chopped pepper etc. Pretty good, simple, adaptable & quite cheap. Sometimes I have a poached egg on the side if I've no bacon. Yesterday I used an ounce of white fish instead (I make it just for me). I don't have a rice cooker, I just do it in a pan.

SisyphusAndTheRockOfUntidiness · 25/09/2020 08:37

Also, soup. Especially if you can have a small bowl with something like a sandwich. It can be very cheap (a lot of water in it), endlessly adaptable (good for using up slightly out of date vegetables).

Eggs are a good & cheap source of protein. Also lentils, beans etc, in combination with either rice or a wholegrain carb.

Buy whole milk. It's no more expensive, & more filling.

Camomila · 25/09/2020 08:40

we like:
jacket potatoes, beans and salad
pasta bolognese - I use 250g lean mince and bulk it up with lots of soffritto (carrots, celery, onion)
homemade beanie burgers (I add chilli to mine and DHs)
plus the classic pasta with pesto, cheese and left over veg

cambrianexplosion · 25/09/2020 08:41

I enjoy cooking but I'm naturally crap at it so had to learn.

I'm on a low income, my best money saving tip would be DO NOT give in to cheap convenience foods if you can help it, buy mostly 'ingredients', it seems difficult at first, but once you get it it comes naturally and is as cheap as the cheapest convenience foods and way cheaper than ready meals.

Versatile stuff, basics, avoid expensive one off ingredients.

I make sure there's protein, carbs, and fruit/veg in every meal. Even if we get 3/4 of our 5 a day we take cheap vit and mineral tabs.

So yesterday was

Porridge made with milk and apple

Pasta with tomato onion garlic sauce with grated cheese

Cottage pie made with carrots onions and Brussel sprouts.

For example I always have in -

onions (80p for big bag)
cheapest potatoes
some herbs - dried
salt and pepper
tinned tomatoes
greens like cabbage or broccoli
cheap cheese
frozen fish or tinned sardines
meat - chicken thighs, beef mince, diced beef, bacon
use cheaper fruits like frozen or big bags oranges
stock cubes
self raising and plain flour
big pack of Quorn mince or pieces cause daughter is vegetarian, but they are ok.

You can make pretty much everything with these ingredients. You only have to maybe add different spices.

various tomato based dishes - pasta sauce with cheese, spag bol.

Cottage pie

Sardines on toast

Fish pie


Lentil dhal

All different soups

Eggs chips and beans


Rice dishes

Flatbreads made at home way cheaper

Loads more possibilities..

Another thing is reduce separate 'snack' foods, those mini packets etc, and just cut up some cheese or have carrot sticks etc for a snack. I do buy chocolate or crisps sometimes. Only the cheapest diluting juice and use sparingly. I do buy tea and coffee.

Hazelnutlatteplease · 25/09/2020 09:43

Another vote for the girl called Jack recipes (not the rest of the books though).

The salmon paste pasta recipe comes out 50p a person if that. Helps a weekly budget hugely. And most of her recipes come out to a surprisingly balanced diet whilst having a sensibly limited range of ingredients (less waste). You can limit further by using full fat milk instead of yoghurt.

Or food shop looks very similar to Cambrianexplosion. Although suspect we make use if frozen veg not fresh more. Mostly because noone likes the same bag and we end up with waste. Most main meals come with a choice of 2 steamed frozen veg (broccoli, green beans, courgette), bulks the meal out and covers your 5 a day cheaply.

We also make good use of cooking bacon (Tesco Aldi, can find it at morrissons). Very cheap protein and you only need about 50g a head. I split the large packets into appropriate weight packets and freeze. Makes Tomato bacon pasta, car-bri-nara (jack) or bri and bacon rissotto (jack) another less than 50p a head meal

doadeer · 25/09/2020 10:36

I tend to bulk out a chicken casserole with butter beans and potatoes so you don't need a huge amount of chicken. Literally throw onions, chicken, carrots, celery with stock, water, herbs, whole mustard (optional) and then towards the end add a can of butter beans and serve with mash. I don't bother browning the chicken and it always tastes nice regardless. Can do same with beef.

A big curry goes a long way, look on BBC for basic recipe and you can bulk with lentils and tomatoes and add coconut milk if you want.

Soups with cheese on toast is always a winner.

We always had cauliflower cheese with crispy bacon on as a child (never a side dish) with bread and butter. Or you could do a big macaroni cheese. The basic cheese sauce is the same. I find it you add a bit of strong cheese it really improves flavour. And some mustard.

Again if you eat pork, a gammon joint is delicious in slow cooker then finish in oven. Can eat with veg/potato/bread/salad/chips whatever really.

TooManyPlatesInMotion · 25/09/2020 11:28

I am in a similar position. I have 3 kids and 2 adults to feed and we all eat the same thing. My favourites:

Spag bol with extra veg/lentils
Chilli con carne
Chicken, sweet potato and spinach curry (use chicken thighs, cheaper than breast and much better for slow cooking)
Slow cooked stew - eg with mutton, butter beans, carrot, celery
Porridge - breakfast. Cheap, healthy filling. Add some stewed fruit (frozen bags of berries).
Eggs - scrambled with spinach and spicy beans on the side. Omelettes.
A roast chicken - we can get 3 good meals out of one. Meal number 3 - I strip the carcass, boil it up, make a lovely broth with pearl barley.
Treats - homemade flapjacks with some dried fruit in.

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