Meal ideas on a budget!

Author : teriann

If you have children you have heard this statement many times: ”That’s for dinner, again!” It has become even worse during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Meal planning which was always a challenge, has now became even more of a headache.

As I drove past several fast food entities recently, I noticed that there were very long lines, in one instance the line of cars had extended on the road and appeared to form their own lane. I suspect that it is the stress of trying to cook meals at home that may have prompted the rush on the fast food establishments.

What about those who either do not want to, or can’t afford to purchase fast food options?


In order to save money, consumers often serve the same meal options for lunch and dinner. If you use your leftovers wisely, then that will save you from spending too much on food and stick to your budget. Be creative in presenting various meals to your family with the same ingredients.

So when leftovers are presented they are not greeted with distaste, for example, minced beef can double as chili, hamburger or mixed with rice and vegetables to create new dishes. If you have leftover chicken and rice, with just a few additional ingredients of soy sauce, egg, escallion and mixed vegetables,  you can transform that dish into fried rice.

Are you a cheese lover? Just a little bit of cheese goes a long way, just add tuna, fresh vegetables and pasta for a delicious alternative than your regular dinner. One pizza party too many? Just chop up pieces of the pizza and add eggs, milk and cheese and turn them into a breakfast casserole fit for a king.

Meal Plans

It is important to plan you meals, before you even go shopping. This saves on the frustration of trying to find ingredients that you can afford. Get children involved with the meal planning process so that they understand that it’s not business as usual and they need to tighten their belts even as we all get used to the new normal.

Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but one way to save money is to really examine your previous receipts. Determine what items are the most expensive on the bill and if there are cheaper substitutes available.  Some brands are very costly and are easily exchanged for other cheaper brands without sacrificing quality.

Mix in the vegetables!

A number of Jamaican farmers are struggling right now to get rid of extra produce so it makes sense to connect with them and get farm fresh vegetables on your family table. Mixing fresh vegetables in stews and other dishes gives the meal a healthy dose of nutrition.

Some children resist eating vegetables so it’s a good idea to incorporate them into meals without theme even being aware of the addition. Try mixing carrots or pumpkins with mashed potatoes to create a new flavour. Tired of eating plain white rice or just rice and peas?  Try mixing in pumpkin, callaloo, cauliflower or other vegetables into the rice.

Regardless of your family’s preference or dietary needs, the important thing to remember is to make sure that while we want to ensure that our families remain healthy we do so without breaking the budget!

Stay safe out there! What’s your take? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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2 Responses to “Meal ideas on a budget!”

  1. J Song says:

    Great, I love this article

  2. teriann says:

    Thanks J Song! Please keep visiting the site! We love to hear from you!

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