When preparing meals for your family there’s lots to consider. Does it fulfil their nutritional needs? How much does it cost? How long does it take to prepare? Is it a healthy choice your kids will like? With so many requirements to meet, it’s not surprising we have limited repertoires when it comes to cheap, healthy meals.
Yet with so many recipes at our fingertips, information overload can hamper our quest to find the recipes that really work.
In a mission to make your life easier we’ve compiled a list of super easy meals you can rely on every time.
And, if none of these take your fancy and you need some extra help, take a look at our list of meal delivery services Australia, for a super easy way to feed the family.
CHEAP, HEALTHY MEALS YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE
1. Pesto Chicken Pasta
Looking for a kid-friendly pasta recipe that looks and tastes amazing? This one is right on the money. Make it even healthier with whole wheat fettucine for extra protein and fibre, and grab a jar of pesto from the store to cut prep time in half.
2. Tuna Patties
These yummy tuna patties are on the table in just a few minutes. Tuna and jasmine rice are the main ingredients, but you can easily substitute regular rice and other fish or even chicken and beef mince.
3. Chicken, Corn and Risoni Soup
Nothing’s easier than this chicken, corn and risoni soup after a tiring day at school and work. It’s also great if your kids are sick and want comfort food. Use canned corn and rotisserie chicken if you’re pressed for time.
4. Ham and Egg Pasta
Even picky eaters will love this ham and egg pasta that comes together in no time. Grill the ham, cook pasta as usual, add eggs, milk cheese and you’re done.
CHEAP, HEALTHY MEALS (cont.)
5. Impossible Pie
The impossible pie is the exact opposite of the name…it’s super easy, ready in half an hour (minus prep time), and costs under $10 for a family of four. Cheap, delicious, and healthy…the pie is filled with grated carrot and zucchini, corn kernels, peppers, and mushrooms.
Source: Stay at Home Mum
6. Porcupine Mince Balls
Tell your kids you’re having porcupine mince balls for dinner, and no, it’s not a prank. These are just regular meatballs rolled in rice that you can sneak grated veggies in. Go crazy and throw in carrots and zucchini…we promise your kids won’t notice.
Source: Stay at Home Mum
7. Lighter Fish Finger Sarnies
Kids love anything breaded and deep fried. You can serve up a reduced calorie, fat and salt version with these lighter fish finger sarnies. The recipe calls for haddock loin or other plump white fish, but feel free to use whatever meat you have at home.
Source: BBC Good Food
8. Five Spice Salmon Tacos
Serve these guilt-free salmon tacos for taco night and watch them disappear. Salmon fillets, cucumber, yoghurt, and five spice powder are the main ingredients, but you can easily substitute whatever’s available.
Source: Jamie Oliver
HEALTHY KID FRIENDLY DINNERS (CONT.)
9. Pineapple Fried Rice
This pineapple fried rice recipe is the answer if you want to make something fast, cheap and healthy for the kids. Use frozen mixed veggies if you don’t have fresh or use whatever you have on hand. Make it vegetarian by substituting eggs for the chicken sausage.
Source: Super Healthy Kids
10. Pizza Spaghetti
Pizza spaghetti combines two kid favourites in a cheap, easy and healthy recipe. The meat sauce is lean beef mince, sausage links and turkey pepperoni with a sprinkling of fresh basil and parsley. Best of all, it’s ready in less than an hour.
Source: Taste of Home
11. Baked Chicken Dinner
This simple baked chicken dinner is family friendly and easy on the wallet. Chicken thighs (substitute chicken breast or rotisserie chicken if you like), potatoes, prosciutto and olives make up the bulk of this flavourful meal.
12. Creamy Curried Sausages
Curry and children don’t usually mix, but this creamy curried sausage recipe is guaranteed to be a hit with everyone. The sausages and creamy sauce almost hide the taste of green beans. The curry is also very mild, and you can easily reduce the amount of spice that goes in.
13. Greek Pasta Bake
Greek is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and this pasta dish, packed with lean meat and a variety of veggies, is no exception. Cover in more cheese if you want to hide the healthy stuff, and remember to taste as you go when whipping up the tomato sauce. By the way, this easy-peasy pasta recipe serves 8, so there will definitely be enough for seconds.
Source: Taste of Home
14. Chicken, Pepper and Corn Stir-Fry
Stir-frying is known as a healthy way to cook, since you use a tiny splash of oil and get to retain the crispness and nutrients of the veggies. This colourful chicken dish gets done in just 30 minutes, so it’s perfect when you don’t have a lot of time. Serve on a bed of hot rice for a full-on Asian deliciousness.
Source: Food Network
15. Pesto-Prosciutto Flatbread
Turn your ordinary pizza night into a healthy pizza night with this quick and easy 20-minute flatbread recipe. Use store-bought pizza dough if you’re scrimped on time, or make it a family affair by making dough from scratch with the kids. You can even switch the toppings to… whatever you like!
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
16. Pork and Kimchi Fried Rice
Whether or not you or the kids are riding on the Korean wave, no one can resist this kimchi and gochujang fried rice. Admittedly, kimchi is a polarising flavour; some people find its smell and taste off-putting. But don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Kimchi is an excellent probiotic that will help your household maintain healthy digestion.
Continuing on our East Asian streak, have you tried omurice? Omurice – which comes from combining omelette and rice – is just that: ketchup rice stuffed in omelette. If your kids are into Japanese anime or manga, they will defo thank you for making this.
Source: Pickled Plum
18. Sweetcorn, Squash and Spring Onion Ramen
This colourful bowl is a hearty and healthy delight, perfect for a cozy, cold night. If you can’t find fresh egg noodles or are simply pressed for time, grab a package or two of instant ramen on the way home. Toss in leftover veggies from the fridge, and top with a boiled egg. Yum!
Source: Tesco Real Food
19. Teriyaki Tofu
This simple dish is an excellent gateway to the amazing world of tofu. Tofu is incredibly cheap, and it’s easy to whisk teriyaki sauce from soy sauce, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder. It’s always nice to have fresh tofu on-hand, since it’s a pretty versatile ingredient. It works as a meat substitute and can be used as an extender in meatballs and patties, too.
Source: Food & Wine
20. Pasta with Ham, Peas and Cream
Finally, it’s Nigella Lawson’s recipe, so what could go wrong? This 5-ingredient carbonara riff is a perfect after-work/after-school meal that will surely impress kids and teens alike. The recipe is for 2 to 3 kids, so you’d have to double or triple the recipe if older kids or adults would be eating. Whip up a huge batch because everyone will be asking for seconds and thirds!