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-   -   Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family? (http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/community/showthread.php?t=524402)

tryin-to-FROG 12-14-2017 09:19 PM

Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
I thought there was a very old thread here on this topic but can't find it. Does anyone have ideas? Trying to be frugal and not eat junk but needing to fill tummies of 6 kids ages 4 to 15:) Any ideas or is there another thread on this? Thanks!!

Aerynne 12-14-2017 09:38 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
bean burritos (make beans from dry)

fried rice (try to go minimal on the oil and maximize the veggies if you want healthy. I just use the frozen mixed veggies. They're cheap and people like them).

chili or taco soup

any kind of soup plus homemade, whole wheat bread (can be breadsticks, garlic rolls (make like cinnamon rolls but use garlic and your fat of choice with bread dough)

RealLifeMama 12-14-2017 09:40 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Lunch is so hard. Everyone wants to eat at different times, and really, making a bunch of sandwiches is tedious and time consuming.

Soup is good, and easy to toss in the instant pot to be done around lunchtime and whenever people want to eat, but none of my kids are big soup eaters. I'd probably make lentil or black bean soup all the time if they were into it.
Healthy is different to different people. Most people won't think bready things are healthy, but I am OK with it.
We don't have any dietary restrictions, so we can eat just about anything.
Veggie wraps are a favorite. Whatever veggies I have cut up for salads go in the tortilla with either hummus or cream cheese, then salad greens, a tiny bit of dressing, and just roll it up.
I just use plain ol' white flour tortillas, so they are cheaper than a loaf of bread. If we are having sandwiches, we go through a whole loaf, so tortillas are more economical, even if I get the good, whole wheat kind.
I have been known to get big loaves of French bread if we are having sandwiches and making them like a party sub instead of making individual sandwiches.

My son makes tuna melts once a week. Trader Joe's whole wheat English muffins, toasted in the toaster, then topped with tuna straight from the pouch, then covered with cheese slices. Heat it in the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve with sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Only half the kids eat it. The others usually do English muffin pizza instead.

We do a lot of "snacky lunch" with whatever we have on hand.

I can't wait to see other peoples suggestions. I get so bored with lunch.

tryin-to-FROG 12-14-2017 09:43 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
My version of healthy has changed quite a bit with the increase in mouths to feed. Yes I love soups but they are not usually fond of it- Lately we have been defaulting to turkey sandwiches using deli turkey but that gets expensive. The younger ones are ok with pbj, but Like the wrap idea too that could be a bit healthier also.

RealLifeMama 12-14-2017 09:49 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tryin-to-FROG (Post 6120552)
My version of healthy has changed quite a bit with the increase in mouths to feed. Yes I love soups but they are not usually fond of it- Lately we have been defaulting to turkey sandwiches using deli turkey but that gets expensive. The younger ones are ok with pbj, but Like the wrap idea too that could be a bit healthier also.

I know! My kids love turkey sandwiches, but $$$$. I get turkey from the deli once a month.
We also do Annie's Mac and Cheese twice a month. Three boxes feed everyone, so that is just about $4-5. That costs about the same as PB&J depending on what kind of bread we use.

Aerynne 12-14-2017 10:00 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Oh, more- some of my kids really like saag aloo and it is very healthy!

Also we do a lot of baked French fries when I don't have a little baby. Just chop up potatoes into fry shapes, salt, and baked on lightly greased or silicone pans. I know most people wouldn't consider that lunch but we do. :shifty I don't make them now since I don't have time to peel potatoes and I miss them.

We make pita pizzas a lot. I don't know healthy those are but they aren't terrible for you and they are fairly cheap (we get pita breads at Costco) and everyone likes them.

Oh, and sushi bowls. Just make a bunch of sushi rice and chop up toppings (we use seaweed, cucumber, avocado, sesame seeds, and ginger). Then we throw all that stuff in a bowl- much easier than making sushi.

Pancakes can be fairly healthy depending on how you make them, and they are definitely cheap and easy.

Do you ever eat potato pancakes? Those are cheap and yummy, too. I like them with applesauce.

Mother of Sons 12-14-2017 10:15 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Aglio e olio (pasta in garlic sauce. We usually add parm)
Instant pot fried rice
French bread pizza
Tuna or chicken patties
Pancakes spread with peanut butter and rolled up. Cut into sushi slices of your kids are into that
Egg salad sandwiches
Baked potatoes topped with veggies and cheese or leftovers.
Dumplings
Hong Kong noodles

Maedchen 12-14-2017 11:11 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
How about taking ground turkey/chicken/ beef and making a meatloaf type loaf that you can slice and make into sandwiches?

I don't know if you do a type of Ramen noodles, but I used to do this with ham or with chicken or bacon......... you brown the meat and then sprinkle the the seasoning on the meat. You can add whatever handfuls of veggies at this point you want. Add the noodles.........top with thin cabbage (similar to coleslaw) add some water (about 1/2 of what you need for the amount of noodles you put in.You may have to add a little more, but some water will cook out of the cabbage) Add just a Tbs or so of sugar or syrup and cook for 20 min on low while they water is absorbed by the noodles.

It is a good casserole dish that I took to many suppers at church. It is cheap and tasty.


If you can get a good deal on Salmon, adding an egg, some bread crumbs, onion (you could put spinach leaves) add some hemp seeds, chia seeds, season to taste and pan fry similar to hamburgers......... It is a light meal.


For a side, we make a latkes. I have dehydrated potato flakes. I make a large bowl of mashed potatoes and add an egg or two depending on the amount and just brown them in patty sizes. It is cheaper than french fries and you can add just a little oil to the pan. (because it has either milk or chicken broth with onion or without (sometimes spinach leaves) I feel it has a little more food value.

**

Salads with cooked quinoa added to the salad,fruit and possibly nuts.

graciousmomma 12-14-2017 11:12 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Refried beans cooked in the Instant Pot. It makes a lot, and people can make bean bowls with cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc., or use the beans to make burritos. This recipe makes for plenty of leftovers, too. https://www.allergyfreealaska.com/20...refried-beans/

I haven't done this in a while, but I have made spaghetti with tomato sauce, and put black beans in it for the protein. Lately, I have made bagged frozen tortellini, which I have gotten usually as a BOGO, and then used a jar of pasta sauce and added pureed squash in it (I do have to add a little bit of seasoning to the sauce to hide the squash taste, but no one had a clue there was squash in the sauce :shifty ).

My kids aren't always huge on soup, but I found a cheeseburger soup recipe (made with cauliflower rather than potatoes) that almost everyone likes. I make this in the Instant Pot, set for 10 minutes on high pressure, and just use regular milk rather than the almond milk the recipe calls for. I also add chopped pickles, and a little bit of pickle juice. https://lowcarbyum.com/crock-pot-cheeseburger-soup/

Homemade sloppy joes, and mashed ranch cauliflower on the side is another go to dinner/lunch around here. I have been doing quite a bit of mashed cauliflower, as dh eats low carb, plus frozen cauliflower can be picked up pretty reasonably around here, like around $1.00 for a 1 lb bag.

Black bean enchiladas are pretty good, as well. I haven't made them in a while, but if I do, I usually make several pans at a time, just so that I can have leftovers to heat up easily. http://thethriftyhousewifeblog.blogs...da-recipe.html

A lot of times anymore, I just make a larger batch of whatever I am making for dinner, and heat up leftovers for lunch.

Lady Grey 12-15-2017 07:14 AM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
If you have an Instant Pot, this beans and rice recipe is super cheap and easy.

We also like English muffin pizzas when I can get the English muffins at the bakery thrift store. (sometimes I get those 100 calorie flat breads instead as they work well too)

Popcorn, cheese and apples.

ValiantJoy07 12-15-2017 07:26 AM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
We do pasta and meat sauce (pound of browned ground beef and a package of pasta, jar of tomato sauce, tomato sauce had of water, high pressure in the instant pot for 5munutes, 10minute NR). You could do a side salad or bread and butter as a filler.

I buy giant bags of kettle potato chips and sweet potato chips and hummus at Costco and they have that with carrots and chips and fruit for lunch. I

I make a big pot of rice and 3cans of beans with adobo or taco seasoning and they have that topped with salsa and sometimes avocado or guacamole (we are dairy free but sour cream and cheese would work too).

pb&j, peanut butter toast and fruit smoothies,

Snacks lunch, veggies, picklew, hummus and a roast chicken (I throw it in the IP in the summer and in the oven in the winter)

tuna sandwiches is another favorite Costco sells an albacore with zero fillers (no soy) which is great for us.

We can't do this but English muffin mini pizzas. Take an English muffin and opening and out them in a cookie sheet covered with sauce and cheese and bake at 425 until cheese is melted.
quesadillas is another easy favorite with salsa

Macaroni and cheese from scratch is fairly affordable and filling. Really yummy with a side of baked beans or with a few hot dogs sliced into it.

ShangriLewis 12-15-2017 11:03 AM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Baked Potatoes with whatever toppings. I like a sweet potatoe with chili. I recently got hooked on Big Mac Potatoes. Itís a vegan recipe using a lentil mixture for the meat and sauce and cabbage. I make regular potatoe in the Instant pot. Sweet potatoes ar cut in half and roasted cut side down on parchment.

You can use leftovers to top them. Like pizza potatoes, chili potatoes, chicken and broccoli.

knitlove 12-15-2017 11:29 AM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
This week I did a cabbage stir fry, where it was 1lb of meat and a whole head of cabbage, with garlic and ginger and soy sauce. It was really filling and would have made enough for all four us for two meals, except early bird decied she loved it and ate more than dh and I put together so it was only good for a meal and a half.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

graciousmomma 12-15-2017 01:10 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by knitlove (Post 6120603)
This week I did a cabbage stir fry, where it was 1lb of meat and a whole head of cabbage, with garlic and ginger and soy sauce. It was really filling and would have made enough for all four us for two meals, except early bird decied she loved it and ate more than dh and I put together so it was only good for a meal and a half.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Oh, we make something like that too :yes Ours has a can of diced tomatoes in it as well, and I add just a bit of vinegar. My kids LOVE Chinese food, so when I started making it, I just told them we were having Chinese for dinner. They all love it :giggle

Maedchen 12-15-2017 02:43 PM

Re: Cheap, Healthy, Filling lunches for a large family?
 
We also make Tortilla de Patata. Diced potatoes (if you use raw, fry them and drain) To cut down on frying, we bake potatoes and dice them so we can use them quicker.

In a little olive oil cook dice onion and garlic brown the potato dices and then add scrambled eggs (eggs= for the amount of potatoes you are using for a individual serving, 2 eggs, 9 inch skillet, probably 4 eggs...... use your discretion)

Cook like an omelet and then flip it like a pancake. If I am doing a family size, I have 2 skillets so I can just flip into the next skillet and not break the tortilla de patata. (in Spain, they would serve it plain with a side salad or you could add some small shrimp, ham or bacon. I am pretty sure it would work well with Turkey sausage that is pre-cooked and crumbled.)


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