10 Simple and Cost Effective Family Meals

I love getting meal inspiration from other families, so thought I’d write down all of our simple and cost effective family meals here for you. Hopefully you find something new to try. Tag me on instagram @simplehomemom if you do! Today on the blog, I bring you: 10 simple and cost effective family meals.

Why simple and cost effective family meals?

Simple and cost effective family meals are a must these days because life is busy and most of the time kids do better with simple rather than elaborate meals..and plus it means less prep time for us. The other benefit is the obvious - saving money, which is what most of us strive to do. It’s the ideal situation, right? I’m a fan of quick, simple, healthy meals that get repeated often. I’ll be sharing our most popular meals in my blog for you today. They are in no particular order. I’d also love to hear what your favourites are; feel free to leave a comment!


This is one of our “fun” meals that we have periodically, but it’s always a hit and can have so many variations to it.


  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • Any variation of meat such as: ham bits, bacon, chicken, hamburger
  • Any variation of veggies such as: peppers, onions, hot peppers, green onions, tomato

Serve the nachos on their own after broiling in the oven or with sour cream and/or salsa. If we’re feeling like splurging a little, we buy Doritos and use those for the nachos. It’s sooooo tasty!

And because I love DIY: DIY Nacho spice; Easy Homemade Baked Pita Chips; Taco meat recipe

A picture of nachos on the table.


Picky plates or finger foods are what we do for most of our lunches. I put them in a round container with separated sections. I use my picky plate planner page from my Simple Meal Planning Guide to plan it out. I make sure to have a variety of foods from different food groups such as:

  • nuts
  • dairy
  • protein
  • fruits and vegetables

You can find out more about picky plates in my Simple Meal Planning Guide that includes printables and steps to make your own picky plates as well.

Finger food ideas: 20 Best Finger Food Ideas to Feed a Crowd; 19 Healthy and Easy Finger Foods For Kids; Masterlist of Finger Foods for Toddlers, Babies, and Big Kids


I do variations of these often, so will share the most current version I’ve been making.


  • Whole wheat wrap - sub for lettuce for a gluten free option.
  • Canned tuna
  • Touch of greek yogurt (or if you’re into mayo, do that)
  • Spices: garlic, oregano, pepper..whatever strikes your fancy
  • Shredded cheese
  • Onion
  • Lentils. I cook in the instant pot and mix with the tuna sometimes.
  • Chopped spinach
  • I’ll sometimes serve with a side of mixed veggies too.

4. TACO BOWLS (lentil with meat)

This one is always popular in our home. I keep a running list of ingredients on my phone for quick recall; low brain power usage is all that’s needed. ha!


  • 1/2 Hamburger or ground turkey and 1/2 lentils with chopped onion and sometimes shredded carrot and/or cabbage
  • Refried beans or plain beans
  • Olives
  • Lettuce/spinach
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Any other veggies we have on hand that work!

A picture of taco bowl ingredients on the counter.


This is a favourite in our home!


  • Chicken
  • Onions
  • Tomato
  • Pickled turnip
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce/spinach
  • Herbs
  • Cucumber
  • Olives
  • Garlic sauce
  • Hummus
  • Wraps

We use this recipe to make our chicken. We batch enough for four shawarma nights at once. For our garlic sauce, we use plain yogurt, olive oil, and blended fresh garlic.


If you’re stumped with meal planning and grocery planning, using one of my Simple Planners for Moms will be really helpful for you. I tend to plan my meals out weekly, and then make sure I write them down on my daily planner pages. You can find all of my Simple Planners here.

A picture of one of my printable daily planners.


This one is SO tasty and is usually a hit with our crew. We try to have at least one meatless supper a week, usually on Monday for a meatless Monday theme. Meal planning with theme nights is a hit here! It simplifies meal planning so much for us.


  • Broth. We make our own broth whenever we cook a chicken or turkey or use some store bought broth.
  • Rice, quinoa or rice noodles
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Red lentils (they cook up so softly and you don’t even notice them much in the soup)
  • Add chicken or turkey for a non vegetarian option
  • Serve with biscuits!


These are always a hit here and so simple to put together.


  • Scrambled eggs
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Cheese
  • Sauce
  • Whole wheat wraps
  • Veggies on the side (fresh or steamed)


Our favorite, simplest recipe is taking salmon or haddock with olive oil, salt, and pepper and frying it on our griddle.

I make instant pot quinoa/rice. Find a good recipe here. I add spices like cumin and oregano. I’ll use broth instead of water if I have some too.

Veggies are usually roast veggies or steamed veggies. Whatever we feel like or have to use up. Olive oil, salt, and pepper is our go to mix.


We use a breakfast buffet most days for breakfast. It consists of dry oatmeal with added milk or pot oatmeal. The kids choose their own combinations from the ingredients below to make their own breakfast bowls:

  • Oatmeal
  • Milk
  • Dried or fresh fruit
  • Chia and flaxseed
  • Frozen berries
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut butter


This is a very recent addition, but it’s a hit! And so affordable and quick, to boot.


  • Milk
  • If available, bone broth
  • Canned corn
  • Steamed and diced potatoes
  • Any other small chopped veggies you’d like to add
  • Cut up ham
  • Spices to taste
  • Serve with biscuits if you’d like!

SAVE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: A picture of the blog title.

Other help blogs I found with simple and cost effective family meals:


A picture of a review of the Simple Meal Guide

And if you’re constantly finding meal planning a challenge, you may also love my Simple Meal Planning Guide!

The Simple Meal planning Guide is for you if…

  • you often feel stumped and uninspired with meal planning
  • you often dread meal times
  • you often feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with meal planning
  • you’d like a simple, streamlined process to meal plan that works for you in every season of life
  • you often are googling meal planning type ideas
  • you can’t seem to find a system for meal planning that sticks

You can find more about it here.

“If you struggle with meal planning at all (or just need fresh ideas and inspiration), you would love this simple, thorough, accessible resource.” - Crystin from @delightfullyfeasting