Meal Plans

60 Frugal & Healthy Foods with 110 Meal Ideas Under $1

frugal foodsDry Goods - These are great items to buy in bulk. Not only will you get these items dirt cheap that way, but they also have a long shelf life and will last you all year. If you don't have a membership to Sam's Club or Costco, you can get them on Amazon for around the same price. You can even save an extra 15% if you subscribe and get it mailed to you automatically the next time you need it. I have included a couple links to some good bulk deals on Amazon for your convenience.

  1. Oats
  2. Grits
  3. Rice - brown or white
  4. Lentils
  5. Pasta
  6. Mac and cheese ($0.39 cents a box at ALDI)
  7. Beans (especially black beans, great northern beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans)
  8. Cornmeal (for cornbread)
  9. Breadcrumbs
  10. Saltine crackers

Bakery

  1. Bagels ($1.29 at ALDI)
  2. Tortillas ($1 at Dollar Tree)
  3. English Muffins ($0.99 a pack at ALDI)
  4. Bread ($0.49-$0.85 at ALDI)

Canned/Jar foods

  1. Pasta sauce
  2. Tuna
  3. Salmon
  4. PB&J
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Corn
  7. Tomatoes (puree or diced)
  8. Canned fruits
  9. Canned pumpkin

Dairy

  1. Eggs
  2. Powdered milk
  3. Yogurt ($0.37 at ALDI)
  4. Cheese singles

Produce (View this guide for the cheapest produce month-by-month)

  1. Potatoes
  2. Bananas
  3. Apples
  4. Watermelon
  5. Corn
  6. Oranges
  7. Celery
  8. Green peppers
  9. Frozen Veggies ($1 per bag at ALDI)
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Carrots
  12. Onions
  13. Seasonal veggies and fruits
  14. Greens (collard and mustard)
  15. Cabbage
  16. Zucchini

Baking goods

  1. Flour
  2. Sugar
  3. Baking powder
  4. Cake mix

Meats

  1. Whole chicken
  2. Chicken legs
  3. Chicken thighs
  4. Turkey bacon ($1.79 at ALDI)
  5. Ground beef (especially the stuff in the tubes)
  6. Ground turkey
  7. Pepperoni
  8. Pork shoulder and bone-in pork chops
  9. Turkey polish kielbasa ($1.50 at ALDI)
  10. Pork Boston Butt
  11. Tofu (not a meat, but it can act like a meat in a dish to save money)

Snacks

  1. Popcorn
  2. Peanuts
  3. Pumpkin seeds
  4. Edamame
  5. Pretzels
  6. Hazelnut Spread
  7. Almonds

Seasonings
You can get most seasonings for under $1.50 at ALDI, Big Lots, & Dollar Tree


Some sample frugal meals made with these cheap ingredients

Breakfast Under $1 Per Serving

  1. homemade oat & honey granola bars
  2. cinnamon oatmeal
  3. eggs with toast
  4. yogurt with granola
  5. turkey bacon and grits
  6. breakfast sandwich
  7. bagel and cream cheese
  8. fruit salad
  9. biscuits with gravy
  10. omelets
  11. pancakes
  12. waffles
  13. hard boiled egg and toast
  14. french toast
  15. tofu scramble
  16. breakfast burrito
  17. potato and egg hash
  18. peanut butter toast
  19. sliced banana and hazelnut spread on toast
  20. pumpkin oatmeal

Lunch Under $1 Per Serving

  1. homemade hummus with celery or carrots
  2. chicken salad sandwich
  3. tuna salad sandwich
  4. pasta salad with veggies
  5. peanut butter and banana sandwich
  6. peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread
  7. PB&J
  8. potato soup
  9. tomato soup
  10. caesar chicken wrap
  11. BLTs with turkey bacon
  12. grilled cheese
  13. hazelnut spread and banana roll up
  14. cucumber sandwich
  15. tuna melt
  16. thai peanut noodles
  17. apple and peanut butter wrap
  18. chicken burrito with salsa
  19. bean and cheese burrito
  20. black bean and corn quesadilla
  21. egg salad sandwich
  22. tuna salad with crackers
  23. chicken salad with crackers
  24. mac and cheese
  25. pasta salad
  26. mini pizzas

Dinner Under $1 Per Serving

  1. grilled chicken
  2. chili and cornbread
  3. lemon or garlic roasted chicken
  4. tacos
  5. spaghetti with meat sauce
  6. tuna casserole
  7. shepards pie
  8. salmon patties
  9. beef stew
  10. chicken stir fry
  11. chicken and broccoli casserole
  12. taco salad
  13. cobb salad
  14. tuna cakes
  15. sausage with green peppers and onions
  16. fiesta black beans and rice
  17. beef and bean burritos
  18. bean soup
  19. stuffed bell peppers
  20. yellow rice and black beans
  21. chicken quesadillas
  22. rice burrito bowl
  23. chicken pot pie
  24. baked chicken
  25. red beans and white rice
  26. chicken tenders
  27. homemade pizza
  28. english muffin / texas toast pizzas
  29. Italian breaded pork chops
  30. black bean burger
  31. bean and vegetable curry
  32. white beans and sausage
  33. beans and weiners
  34. chicken and dumplings
  35. pork carnitas
  36. pulled pork sandwiches (slow cooker version)
  37. black bean soup
  38. pasta carbonara
  39. egg fried rice
  40. salisbury steak with caramelized onion gravy
  41. salsa chicken
  42. chicken parmesan
  43. chicken noodle casserole
  44. stir fry with tofu
  45. chicken enchiladas
  46. homemade calzones
  47. chicken and rice casserole
  48. loaded baked potato
  49. hamburger casserole
  50. chicken fried rice (or lo-mein)
  51. honey mustard chicken
  52. paprika chicken & rice bake
  53. bbq chicken
  54. chicken fajitas
  55. chicken and dumplings
  56. spagetti pie
  57. chicken alfredo
  58. brown sugar glazed pork chops

Sides Under $1 Per Serving

  1. baked potato
  2. corn on the cob
  3. mashed potatoes
  4. pinto beans
  5. cornbread
  6. black beans
  7. collard greens
  8. creamed spinach
  9. refried beans
  10. broccoli with cheese sauce
  11. green beans
  12. side salad
  13. baked beans
  14. pan fried potatoes and onions
  15. homemade rolls
  16. scalloped potatoes
  17. mac and cheese
  18. green bean casserole
  19. spanish rice
  20. fried cabbage

Desserts Under $1 Per Serving

  1. peanut butter cookies
  2. basic muffins
  3. rice pudding
  4. baked oat-stuffed apples
  5. banana bread
  6. oatmeal cookies
  7. banana pudding
  8. peach cobbler
  9. snickerdoodles
  10. banana pudding
  11. apple crisp
  12. peanut butter oat bites
  13. frozen yogurt pops

For more frugal & healthy meal ideas, check out my other posts:


Cheap & Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids - Week #3

lunch3

Day 1
chicken quesadilla
tortilla chips

 

Day 2
chicken nuggets
broccoli with melted cheese on top
mixed melon fruit cup (cantaloupe and honeydew)

 

Day 3
chicken salad sandwich
raw broccoli with light ranch dressing
honey yogurt with chopped melons

 

Day 4
chicken wrap
broccoli cheese soup

 

Day 5
chicken burrito
tortilla chips

 


Shopping List

 

  1. whole chicken - $4.75 - $0.95 per pound
  2. tortillas -$1
  3. lettuce - $0.99
  4. bread - $0.85
  5. cheddar shredded cheese - $2.29
  6. tortilla chips - $1.29
  7. canned corn - $0.49
  8. canned diced tomatos - $0.59
  9. refried beans - $0.65
  10. honeydew - $1.69
  11. watermelon - $0.50 for quarter
  12. mango - $0.49
  13. bell pepper - $0.49
  14. honey yogurt - $0.35
Total - $15.80

 

I got most my items at ALDI. They are having a good sale on produce this week. I got the tortillas at Dollar Tree (tortillas are more expensive at ALDI) and stopped off at a produce stand for the watermelon because it was cheaper.

 

Pantry Staples, Spices & Other Items That I Had Already:
milk, chicken broth, butter, garlic powder, taco seasoning, cilantro, lime juice, basil, mint, mayo, pankco breading, onion, green peppers

Cheap & Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids - Week #2

Here's some more healthy and budget-friendly school lunch ideas. These meals are under $2.50 a day.
lunch box ideas for kids
Day 1
egg salad sandwich
carrots with light ranch dressing
peanut butter oat balls

Day 2
peanut butter and banana sandwich on honey wheat bread
graham crackers

Day 3
chef salad  (boiled eggs, turkey bacon, turkey lunch meat, shredded cheese, cucumber, tomato slices, shredded carrots) - it’s a big salad so I’m not going to add a snack item
peach yogurt (plain yogurt with chopped peaches, a drizzle honey and a sprinkle of granola to give it a crunch!)

Day 4
turkey rolls
peach slices
graham crackers
honey glazed carrots

Day 5
BLT sandwich
peanut butter granola bar

Grocery List:
dozen eggs - $0.79 - on sale
bag of baby carrots - $0.99 for 2 lbs
peaches $0.29 x 5 = $1.45 - on sale
turkey lunch meat - $1.79
shredded mozzarella cheese - $2.49
lettuce - $0.99
turkey bacon $1.59 (it's healthier than regular bacon and tastes just as good. Plus, it's cheaper than regular bacon)
cucumber - $0.29 each - on sale
banana - $0.29 cents a pound - on sale
tortillas - $1
graham crackers - $1.49
whipped topping - $1
tomato $1
Total = $15.06

condiments/spices/pantry staples that I had on hand: 
light ranch dressing, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla extract, peanut butter, garlic powder, olive oil, oats ( I buy this in bulk so I always have it).

Notes:
Some of the recipes this week require a little prep work like the carrot recipes and the peach apple sauce, but it won’t take more than 30 minutes and can be done ahead of time. They are easy to follow recipes with not too many ingredients (most of which I already had)

There is a really great sale this week (Aug 3rd-9th) at ALDI. Found lots of good prices on produce and dairy! I recommend you shop there this week.

Cheap & Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids

lunch box ideas

School is starting back next month. The start of a new school year is a great time to start thinking about changing our old, boring routines including coming up with new lunch box ideas! I’m sure your kid is tired of cheese and PB&J sandwiches every week so here are some fresh and budget-friendly ideas to get the school year started off right:
Day 1
  • ham and cheese roll up
  • pretzels
  • small slices of strawberries and banana
  • cucumbers with light ranch dressing
Day 2
  • grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich
  • trail mix
  • celery sticks
  • apple slices
Day 3
  • tuna salad lettuce wrap
  • ants on a log (pick out the raisons from the trail mix)
  • pretzels
  • strawberries lightly drizzled with chocolate syrup sauce
Day 4
  • ham and cheese slices with crackers
  • trail mix
  • cinnamon & sugar apple slices
  • cucumbers with a sprinkle of dill
Day 5
  • tuna salad and crackers with a side of lettuce or cucumbers
  • strawberry and banana kabobs with a light drizzle of chocolate syrup
  • celery
  • pretzels
Shopping List
  1. tortillas $1
  2. bread $0.85
  3. saltine crackers $0.88
  4. ham $1.79
  5. cheddar cheese (brick) $1.59
  6. tuna $0.57
  7. lettuce $0.99
  8. pretzels $1.29
  9. trail mix $1.79
  10. strawberries $1.29 for 1lb package
  11. apples $1.32 per lb
  12. banana $0.44 per lb
  13. cucumbers $0.29 each
  14. celery $1.29

Total - $15

staple condiments:
peanut butter, ranch dressing, Italian dressing, light mayo, mustard, chocolate syrup

LUNCH BOX DEALS

aldi lunch box

Sistema Lunch Cube Assortment - On Sale for $5.99 at ALDI July 27- Aug 2
  • BPA FREE
  • Includes 5-oz. leakproof container
  • Includes 8-oz. bottle
lunch box cooler
Insulated Polyester Cooler Bags with Carrying Strap
Whether taking lunch to work or school, or taking snacks and drinks to the beach,
these insulated cooler bags will ensure it stays cold! Insulated polyester cooler bag
measures 8.5x5.5x5.25 in., has a zippered closure, and carrying handle for easy
transport. Great for taking along to the beach, picnics, road trips, and more.
lunch box water bottle
Colorful Plastic Water Bottles with Flip-Top Lids, 24 oz.
Colorful plastic water bottles help you stay hydrated on the go!
Bottles have a wide mouth design, screw-on caps, and flip-top closures.
betty crocker food storage container
Betty Crocker Easy Seal Divided Storage Containers with Lids, 32 oz.
Whether storing food in the refrigerator or taking it with you on the go,
plastic storage containers with lids will help to make sure it stays fresh.
Perfect for storing left-overs or packing lunch.
food storage container
Surefresh 3-Compartment Storage Containers, 57 oz.
3 compartment plastic storage containers with lids help to keep food separated
and make sure it stays fresh. Perfect for storing left-overs or packing a lunch

Other Great Dollar Tree Ideas for Lunch Boxes:

$50 Weekly Meal Plan - Week #3

 $50 meal plan

$50 Weekly Meal Plan for Families on a Budget

Monday
Breakfast: Cinnamon toast and apple slices
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwiches and celery sticks with peanut butter
Dinner: Salisbury steak with onion gravy, sautéed green beans with almond silvers, and baked potato

 

Tuesday
Breakfast: Apple cinnamon oatmeal
Lunch: Homemade potato soup (with cheese, bacon)  and saltine crackers
Dinner: BBQ chicken drumsticks, collard greens, potato salad

 

Wednesday 
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with shredded cheese and slice of bacon
Lunch: Potato soup and saltine crackers
Dinner: Meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, buttered spinach

 

Thursday
Breakfast: Creamy wheat with apple slices
Lunch:  Meatloaf sandwich (leftovers)
Dinner: Fish and chips with hushpuppies

 

Friday
Breakfast: Homemade Waffles with syrup
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwiches and sweet potato chips
Dinner: Chicken and dumplings  (easy version using refrigerated biscuits)

 

Saturday
Breakfast: Sausage patty, biscuits smothered with country gravy
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich (made with leftover chicken)
Dinner: Cajun baked fish, collard greens and mashed potatoes

 

Sunday
Breakfast: Egg, cheese and bacon sandwich on buttered toast
Lunch: Cobb salad
Dinner: Pizza

Shopping List
  • 3 lbs of hamburger meat - $5.37 (SALE)
  • 4 lbs of chicken drumsticks - $2.76 (SALE)
  • 1 lb of tilapia $4
  • Collard greens - frozen $1.20
  • Spinach - frozen $1.19
  • Jiffy mix $0.47
  • Fries - $1.79
  • Celery (big bag) $1.29
  • Carrots - 2 lb bag - $0.99
  • 2 cans of refrigerated biscuits - $1.99
  • Sausage patties - frozen - $1.49
  • Bread - $0.85 cents
  • Apples - 3 lb bag - $2.99
  • Cream of wheat - $2
  • Cooked, chopped ham - 1lb - $1.99
  • Swiss cheese - deli style - $1.79
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes  - $2.99
  • Turkey bacon $1.89
  • Sharp cheddar cheese - grated-  $2.29
  • Pizza crust $0.99
  • Pasta sauce $0.89
  • Pepperonis $1.79
  • Mozzarella cheese  $2.50
  • Green beans - frozen - $0.95
  • Eggs - $0.79
  • Milk - $2.29
  • Sweet potato chips- $1.79
  • Lettuce $0.99
  • Saltine crackers - $0.79
Things that I already had which were omitted from the list: oatmeal, mashed potatoes (bought both of these items in bulk and they have lasted a while), condiments, spices, onion, baking goods (flour, sugar, butter, etc.) for the waffles.

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