One-Month Budget Family Meal Plan

Need ideas for cheap, easy meals to feed your family? Check out this one-month budget family meal plan. You’ll get meal planning, recipes, snack ideas, and even cooking tutorials to make life easier. These recipes are gluten-free and made with real food ingredients that are full of flavor. 

Photo collage of gluten-free dishes like cauliflower soup, beef chili, beef taco meat and macaroni and cheese for meal planning

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Looking for healthy meals to cook for your family but on a tight budget? I’m going to show you how easy it is to cook real food, gluten-free meals that your whole family will love, even picky kids because I’ll show healthy swaps for their favorite meals. These recipes are easy to make with most of them taking less than 45 minutes from start to finish. You can make extras to enjoy as leftovers too. 

Be sure to check out my free Instant Pot Recipe Guide, and you’ll get my weekly email newsletter too.

Grocery Budget Tips

Here are some tips to help you save on your food budget the next time you go grocery shopping.

1. Regularly shop from your fridge.

Look to see what you already have and what you can use to make meals. For instance, if you already have dried pinto beans, you can make Instant Pot Refried Beans and serve them up with gluten-free flour tortillas and cheese. Just note what you need to buy to make that dish. 

2. Reduce food waste.

Check expiration dates on foods in the fridge and pantry. Make sure to rotate those foods to get them used first, and make meals around foods before their expiration date. Be sure fresh fruits and vegetables are used and incorporated into meals. If you run out of ideas, serve up some raw vegetables and fruit for the family before dinner. You could chop up fresh fruit and vegetables and freeze to use for later in smoothies, soups, stews, etc. 

3. Make a shopping list and stick to it.

I’ve got a budget family meal plan below you can use to save on your grocery bill. Just be sure to stick to your list at the store and avoid making impulse purchases. 

African-American woman holding bell peppers and smiling at a grocery store

4. Shop the sales at your local grocery stores.

Look at the weekly ads for grocery stores near you to find the best deals. For instance, there’s a health food store called Sprouts near me that has double ad day on Wednesdays. That means sales for the current and next week – which both start on Wednesday – overlap and I can save more. 

5. Look for store brands at grocery stores to save money.

Look for a store brand version of your favorite foods like Kirkland at Costco, 365 Everyday Value at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Simple Truth at Kroger, and Market Pantry at Target stores taste just as good as name brand foods but at a fraction of the cost. I personally love to shop at Trader Joe’s as all of their products are white-label versions of popular name brands. 

6. Avoid pre-packaged foods.

Pass on the pre-packaged salads, fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, marinated meat or chicken, canned beans, pasta sauce, and frozen meals. Not only is it cheaper to make your own food, it’s so much better for you too. A typical fresh fruit and vegetable tray at the grocery store can cost $15-25. You can easily make your own for half that price. The same goes with jarred pasta sauce. It tastes so much better when you make it on your own (especially with this Marinara Sauce Recipe). In addition, making Refried Beans with dried beans instead of canned beans can be one of the cheapest meals when you serve it up with some Mexican rice. 

organic vegetables in a grocery store like carrots, broccoli, asparagus with price tags

Where to Buy Ingredients

  • Buy fresh produce from local farmer’s markets. Find one near you or consider joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture) co-op where you can buy produce boxes from local farmers.
  • Try Amazon Fresh. Surprisingly, it can be the same price or even cheaper than grocery stores. In addition, it can be a great way to get foods and spices not normally in your local grocery store. Check for your favorite foods here.
  • Butcher Box is a great place to buy quality meat and chicken. You can even choose a custom box to mix and match exactly what you want. Check out their newest deal here.

Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple

Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple cookbook on an e reader

Are you struggling to find the time to cook healthy meals for your family? Do you wish you could find one-pot meals that are simple and easy to make… and your family will love?

Learn how simple it is to make healthy, one-pot meals with your Instant Pot with my cookbook Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple. You can download it instantly to your phone, computer or e-reader, so it’s portable and can go with you anywhere!

With this book, you’ll get:

  • Tried-and-true recipes the whole family will love – including pot roast, spaghetti, tacos, carnitas, soups, and easy breakfast meals
  • Instant Pot starter guide on how to use the buttons, tips and tricks, and more
  • Printable shopping lists for ingredients
  • Step-by-step video lesson on how to use your Instant Pot, pressure cooker safety, and some of my favorite tips and tricks
  • Two-week meal plan that you can put into action for no-stress weeknight dinners

Get Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple now!

Grocery List 

Here’s a list of low-cost ingredients to make the meals in this one-month budget-friendly meal plan. It’s a good idea to sit down with your family to go over the new recipes to find out what they want to try and work it into your weekly meal plans. 

Meat & Seafood

  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken breast
  • Chicken thighs
  • Whole chicken
  • White fish

​Vegetables & Fruit

  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Lemons
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Basil
  • Kale or spinach or other leafy greens

Starches

  • Potatoes
  • White rice
  • Gluten-free pasta like macaroni
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Gluten-free tortillas
  • Gluten-free flour

Egg & Dairy

  • Mexican cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream

Pantry Staples

  • Pinto beans or black beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Pinenuts
  • Chicken broth or stock
  • Soy sauce
collage of meals like cauliflower soup, minestrone soup, chili and fried chicken strips with the text "one-month budget family meal plan" on it

Budget Meal Plan Tips

  • All healthy recipes are gluten free and feed a family of 4-5 but you can use gluten or your favorite budget-friendly starches like pasta and flour tortillas.
  • There are 5 dinner ideas each day but you can enjoy them for lunch and have leftovers for dinner or vice versa.
  • Meals should take 30-60 minutes from start to finish, with most meals less than 45 minutes so they’re perfect for busy families.
  • Make any meal low carb by substituting cauliflower rice for regular rice, lettuce cups for taco shells, tortillas, and hamburger buns, or even enjoying a meal over a bowl of mixed salad greens
  • Instant Pot recipes can be made on the stove or as slow cooker meals. Check the full recipe below for instructions on how to do it. 
  • Double recipes as needed for large family meal planning, and serve toppings as a bar. For instance, beef tacos can be served along with all the fixings like lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, and tortillas in separate bowls and serving dishes for family members to serve themselves. This is a great option for families who have different dietary restrictions like gluten, nuts, dairy, etc. 
  • Pack leftovers for lunch for a quick meal or use them for after-school snacks to feed hungry kids and teenagers. 
  • Use leftovers creatively to make new dishes without much effort and to save on food costs. For instance, use leftover chicken and meat for salads, quesadillas, or taco for easy, cheap meals. Use leftover chili or taco meat on baked potatoes or even pasta to enjoy as new main meals that taste delicious. 
  • Enjoy weekends for eating out, eating leftovers, or come up with a meal spontaneously. I personally find that when I have some wiggle room in my meal plan to eat according to my cravings then I’m more likely to stick with it.

Week 1

Instant Pot Pesto Chicken
Enjoy moist tender chicken with crispy skin covered in a fresh pesto sauce in under an hour thanks to this instant pot pesto chicken recipe.
Get the recipe
Instant Pot Pesto Chicken
Instant Pot Three Bean Chili
This Instant Pot Three Bean Chili is great for an easy weeknight meal that’ll be ready in about 30 minutes that’s full of protein, fiber and nutrients.
Get the recipe
Instant Pot Three Bean Chili
Instant Pot Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps
Looking for an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love? Try this Instant Pot Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps. It’s so tasty and easy to make.
Get the recipe
Instant Pot Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps
Low-Carb Fish Tacos (Keto, Paleo)
Make these delicious Keto Low-Carb Fish Tacos made with spices, avocado and salsa. The whole family will love it, and it’s ready in just 30 minutes.
Get the recipe
Low-Carb Fish Tacos (Keto, Paleo)
Instant Pot Minestrone soup in two white bowls topped with Parmesan cheese
Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

Week 2

Instant Pot Taco Meat - make this family favorite in the pressure cooker for a fast meal - DontMesswithMama.com
Instant Pot Beef Taco Meat

Week 3

Gluten-Free Chicken Strips - DontMesswithMama.com
Gluten-Free Chicken Strips

Week 4

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Breakfast Ideas

Feel free to serve these up multiple times a week or over the course of the month. I like to make extra batch so it’s easy to reheat for busy mornings getting the kids to school.

plate of 3 egg bites with instant pot in background
Bacon Gruyere Egg Bites

Snack Ideas

Homemade Guacamole

Lunch Ideas

Eat leftovers or keep it simple – like a charcuterie tray of fresh fruit, raw vegetables, healthy dips (like this onion dip), raw or organic cheese, nitrate-free salami or lunch meat, and gluten-free crackers.

Dessert Ideas

Cooking + Kitchen Tutorials

More Budget Meal Plan Tips

Did you try these recipes? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

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