Cheap Meal Ideas for Kids
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs about $233,610 to raise a child from birth to age 18. That’s a lot of money for anyone – and especially for families on a budget.
Thankfully, there are limitless ways in which to spend less in almost every facet of life. Today, we’re going to talk about ways to spend less on food – specifically, ways to save money when feeding a family with children.
Cheap Meals For Kids: Use What You Already Have
Feeding your kids does not have to break your wallet. Start by using what you already have on hand at home, instead of making a trip to the grocery store or getting takeout.
Here are some cheap and easy meal and snack ideas for kids, using ingredients you probably already have on hand:
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwiches
- Buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese
- Macaroni and cheese
- Alphabet soup
- Grilled cheese
- Apples with peanut butter
- Bananas with peanut butter
- Cheese, crackers, and apples
- Cheesy corn hotdish
- English muffin pizzas
- Mozzarella sticks (made with a wonton wrapper)
- French toast
- Cinnamon toast
- Oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips
- Applesauce overnight oatmeal
- Homemade popsicles (made from yogurt and 100% fruit juice)
- Tortilla shell pizzas
- Muffin tin pizzas
- Breakfast tostadas
- Green bean fries
- Sweet potato fries
More cheap meal and snack ideas: 50 Cheap after school snacks
Getting Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods
Kids can be fed quite cheaply. The trick is finding foods that they will enjoy eating that are also healthy.
One clever trick to get your kids to eat healthy foods: Try naming your menu items.
A peanut butter and banana sandwich is more kid-friendly if it’s called a “monkey sandwich”. Broccoli is boring, but “dinosaur trees” is fun and intriguing. Food manufacturers do this all the time in an effort to market toward a young audience. Why not try it yourself?
Here are some classics with a kid-friendly name:
- Ants on a log (spread a celery stick with peanut butter and place a few raisins on top)
- Toad in a hole/egg in a nest (cut a circle in a slice of bread, crack an egg and pour into the hole, and fry until the egg is cooked through)
- Pigs in a blanket (wrap refrigerator crescent rolls around a hot dog and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F)
- Rainbow wheels (spread hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, layer on lettuce, tomato, avocado and cheese, and roll up)
Here are some other tips to get your child to eat healthy foods:
- Cut healthy sandwiches in fun shapes with a cookie cutter
- Have your child help prepare food. Depending on your child’s age, give them simple tasks such as washing vegetables, mixing batter or cracking eggs.
- Serve raw veggies with a healthy dip like hummus or bean dip
- Make one meal for the whole family to enjoy – Don’t start the habit of making a special meal for the kids and one for the adults
- Cut back on junk food – If you stop buying it, they will stop eating it at home
The $10 Food Day Series
I recently came up with three one-day meal plans that will feed a family of four for less than $10 – for the entire day! If you are looking for some ultra cheap meal ideas (we’re talking much less than $1 a serving), these are for you: