Three wholesome meals for a family of four on a budget

Jennifer Endean guest blogger

Jennifer Endean guest bloggerWith fast food at the height of popularity, the challenge of feeding a family of four with three wholesome meals for under £20 is tricky.

However, home cooking doesn’t have to be more expensive and time consuming to prepare. This challenge is one that you too can take on, involving the family with the preparation and cooking of these nutritionally balanced meals, followed by the enjoyment of eating them.

We’ll start with breakfast.  Here’s an absolute classic recipe that the kids love to make and be creative with.  Stack a pile of pancakes up in the middle of the table with lots of healthy toppings surrounding them and watch them get demolished.  This is a great way to start the day for all the family to enjoy.

Sunny breakfast pancakes

Total cost approx £3.85   Serves 4 = 6/8 pancakes

Top tip: The rule of the house is, whatever the kids add to the top of their pancakes they have to eat, which stops them getting a touch over zealous with the toppings.


Now for lunch, which is a gorgeous looking, tasty tomato soup that will keep you going until teatime.  It can be stored and reheated, so nothing goes to waste. Throw in some tasty toasted croutons, and maybe a slice of crusty bread and voila!

Fresh tomato soup

Total cost approx £3.40

Top tip: No need to use expensive tomatoes for this recipe, the cheaper ones will do perfectly.


On to dinner and my recipe for chicken kebabs. This meal is easy on the purse but it is quality food that can be prepared during the day and left in the fridge, ready to be barbecued or roasted later. The veggies can be pre-prepared as well and added to the skewers by the kids, as long as hands are washed before and after and supervision is given throughout.  Use peppers, courgettes, mushrooms etc and serve with oven roasted, herby potatoes, with a mint dip to finish off.

Chicken kebabs with minty dip

Total cost approx £8.35

Minty dip

Total cost approx £1.70

Top tip: Leftover chicken can be used as sandwich fillers for the next day.


Pudding time and we like to finish off with a gorgeous great fruit crumble. I usually use apple, but you can use another fruit if it’s in season. Either go for the ultra healthy crumble with rolled oats and wholemeal flour, or if you are using your store cupboard staples it can be white flour and butter.  Add a small portion of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Fruit crumble

Total cost approx £2.40

Top tip: Use fruit from farmer markets, or grow your own in the garden.

GRAND TOTAL:  £19.70

So there we have it, three fab meals under budget, with leftovers for the next day as well.

Your kiddies have had their five a day with all that lovely fruit and veg, and some good protein and carbs too. The only thing left to do is sort out the mess in the kitchen!

Jenny is a new mum who lives in the heart of Essex and blogs over at the Discount Coder Blog. She has an eye for a bargain, is very thrifty and loves saving money.