One week of healthy family dinners on a budget – here’s what we eat in a week! Get the recipes and strategies here.
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What does it actually look like to save money and eat healthy? Here’s an example of what we eat in a week – the dinner edition.
Healthy Dinners on a Budget
While there’s no single way to plan and cook that works for every family, here are 5 ways I keep costs down on our dinners every week:
- Look at what you have at home first, then create meals around that.
- Make meatless, or plant-based meals – Most of our dinners have a meat option for those of us who want it, but our meals are largely plant-based.
- Eat Leftovers Twice a Week – Or you can call it “MYO” (Make Your Own). At least once or twice a week, we have a night where everyone is in charge of their own meal. This works best when you have bigger kids or just adults in your house. But we keep this night very light and simple. Everyone makes whatever they want (sandwiches? Eggs and toast? Ice cream? You set the rules) and must clean up after themselves.
- Make food your family already likes – but the cheap ones (cheese pizza, burritos, and spaghetti are some of ours). You don’t need to try new recipes every week.
- Cook once, eat twice – or three times. We call them “planned-overs” instead of leftovers. This is in addition to MYO nights. So when I cook chicken, I usually make enough to last several meals. Or when I prep salad, I chop enough veggies to last us multiple days. This saves time and helps me use all the food in our kitchen.
What We Eat in a Week (Video)
I made a video breaking down exactly what we ate in this week and why.
Family Dinners on a Budget
Here’s what we ate this week (with recipe links!).
- The Only Chicken You Need to Make (instant pot, slow cooker, grill, oven, or stovetop)
- Mediterranean Yellow Rice (instant pot or stove top)
- Our Favorite Budget-Friendly Salad
We started making this meal regularly when Chris and I were in a really intense fitness program. It’s really simple, delicious, and our whole family likes it. Some people eat their chicken with hot sauce, some with barbecue sauce, some even with ketchup. Some put the chicken on their salad.
In this case, the chicken was more of a side dish, while the salad was the main course.
- Fried Rice (with “planned over” chicken)
This is an easy stovetop, one-pot dinner! You can make it with or without chicken, and you can use the veggies called for in the recipe or just use a bag of frozen mixed stir-fry veggies. I usually add extra frozen green beans and peas too.
- Leftovers or MYO
“MYO” (Make Your Own) – At least once or twice a week, we have a night where everyone is in charge of their own meal. This works best when you have bigger kids or just adults in your house. But we keep this night very light and simple. Everyone makes whatever they want (sandwiches? Eggs and toast? Ice cream? You set the rules) and must clean up after themselves.
Personally, I love Snack Plates, so that’s what I made in the video.
- Leftovers or MYO
You don’t have to have 2 days of leftovers or MYO in a row, but my Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually busy, so it works for me. Do what works for you!
- Flavorful Vegetable Soup (instant pot)
- Serve with homemade bread, crackers, or grilled cheese (we like this easy sourdough best)
- Leftover soup
- Serve with salad and bread
Since one pot of soup usually lasts us a few days, I always plan on serving it again (sometimes with different sides) the next day. This helps us make sure we don’t waste food and makes dinner prep easy for me.
Healthy, Budget-Friendly Family Dinner Ideas
I hope this list and video gave you some ideas. Saving money and eating healthy is a skill that improves with practice and a little planning. You can make healthy, budget-friendly dinners using these ideas in this post or check out more below: