Wed. Dec 6th, 2023
    5 Affordable and Nutritious Meal Staples for Every Family

    As grocery prices continue to rise, it can be challenging to stick to a budget while maintaining a nutritious diet. However, there are still some cost-effective meal staples that can help you feed your family for $20 or less. Let’s explore these options and discover how they can be incorporated into your weekly meal planning routine.

    1. Frozen Dumplings: Frozen dumplings are not only cheap but also provide a nutritious meal for the family. You can find large bags that cost as little as 25c per dumpling, allowing you to feed a family of four for less than $20. Additionally, steamed dumplings are low in fat and calories. Pair them with frozen edamame and green veggies to create a quick and easy family meal.

    2. Premade Lasagne: Making lasagne from scratch can be time-consuming and expensive. However, supermarkets offer premade lasagnes that contain a decent amount of meat (>20 percent) at an affordable price. Look for frozen lasagnes with more than 20 percent meat content, such as the Coles Own Brand Lasagne tray, which costs as little as $14 for 1kg. This option provides a budget-friendly and time-efficient meal for families, with the potential for extra leftovers.

    3. Lean Mince: Whether you prefer turkey, lean pork, chicken, or lean beef mince, you can create a delicious meal base for as little as $6 per 500g. By adding extra veggies and legumes like grated carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, lentils, or kidney beans, you can transform the mince into spaghetti bolognese, Chow Mein, or San Choy Bow, all for less than $20. Furthermore, lean cuts of mince are excellent sources of protein, zinc, and iron.

    4. Canned Fish: Fresh seafood is a nutritional powerhouse but can strain your budget. Fortunately, canned seafood like tuna or salmon can be an affordable alternative. These canned options serve as nutrient and protein-rich meal bases for pasta dishes, bakes, fritters, and pies. With a large 720g can of tuna or salmon costing under $10, you can easily create a family-friendly, Omega-3 rich meal that is quick, easy, and budget-friendly.

    5. BBQ Chicken: Despite the increase in the cost of supermarket chickens, a cooked chook remains a cheap option. For $12-$14, you can have a nutritionally balanced meal by adding a salad bag, potatoes or sweet potato chips, or some frozen vegetables. The leftovers can be used for sandwiches the next day. Alternatively, you can find frozen whole chickens for less than $10 and cook them yourself with vegetables for a delicious homemade roast, all within the $20 budget.

    By incorporating these affordable meal staples into your grocery shopping routine, you can create tasty and nutritious meals for your family without breaking the bank.


    1. Are frozen dumplings healthy?

    Yes, frozen dumplings can be a healthy meal option. Steamed dumplings are low in fat and calories, providing a satisfying and nutritious meal for the family.

    2. Can I make lasagne for less than $20?

    Making lasagne from scratch can be costly, but supermarkets offer premade lasagnes that are budget-friendly. Look for options with more than 20 percent meat content to get the most value out of your purchase.

    3. Can lean mince be a good source of nutrients?

    Yes, lean mince, whether it’s turkey, lean pork, chicken, or beef, is a rich source of protein, zinc, and iron. It can be used as a base for various dishes when combined with vegetables and legumes.

    4. Is canned fish a healthy choice?

    Canned fish, such as tuna or salmon, can provide essential nutrients and serve as a protein-rich base for many delicious meals. With its affordability and versatility, canned fish can be a healthy choice for budget-conscious families.

    5. Are BBQ chickens budget-friendly?

    Yes, while the cost of supermarket chickens has increased, BBQ chickens still provide a cost-effective meal option for families. Adding simple sides like salad, potatoes, or frozen vegetables can create a tasty and nutritionally balanced meal for under $20.