Saving money? These 3 nutritionist-approved meals cost less than $20 each

And feed the entire family!

By Team Triple White • 3 years ago • NUTRITION, HEALTH & FITNESS


When you’re a time-poor parent, you need to have an armoury of fuss-free yet nutritious meals that you know the entire family will enjoy – and if they don’t break the bank, even better!

Here, paediatric nutritionist, mum-of-two and Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook author Mandy Sacher shares three of her tried-and-tested whole food family favourites. The best part? They all come in under $20!


Recipe 1: Lentil & Veggie Soup

This hearty lentil soup is packed with vegetables and a great source of iron and protein, making it the perfect winter warmer for your family. Pureeing will make it far more appealing for younger children, babies or fussy eaters. Take it to school or along to the soccer match in a thermos to keep little tummies warm.

cheap healthy meals


2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
500g lentils, rinsed
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 litres of vegetable broth / bone broth
1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander
1 tsp freshly ground toasted cumin


  1. Place a pot on a medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot and celery.
  2. Sauté for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add lentils, tomatoes and broth.
  4. Stir gently, whilst increasing the heat and bringing to the boil.
  5. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for approcimately 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  6. Remove the heat and allow to cool.
  7. Using a hand held blender, process until a smooth consistency is reached.
  8. Serve with brown rice, quinoa, sourdough bread or as a starter before the main meal

Tip: If using store bought tomatoes, ensure they are in a glass jar, not canned.

Recipe 2: Chicken Drumstick, Orange & Thyme Casserole

This trusty chicken casserole combines the sweet flavours of thyme, apricot and orange with chicken and sweet vegetables to create a flavoursome dish that the whole family can enjoy. For babies, you can remove the bones and puree the chicken and veggies.

cheap healthy meals


4 chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 leek, finely sliced
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 butternut pumpkin, medium sized slices
1 whole broccoli, chopped into small pieces
Juice of two oranges
4 apricots, dried and sulphur-free
1 clove of garlic, chopped fineyl
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or chopped finely
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
500ml chicken stock, low sodium or home-made chicken broth (salt-free for babies)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Celctic sea salt to taste (if necessary)
Cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large pot or pan.
  2. Add leekks, garlic and ginger and stir fry until soft.
  3. Then add the drumsticks and fry until brown on the outside.
  4. Add stock, chopped pumpkin, corn kernels, broccoli, apricots, thyme and orange juice. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and alow to simmer for an hour on medium heat.

Recipe 3: Wholesome Child Shepherd’s Pie

This veggie-packed shepherd’s pie is one of the most popular recipes from my book and it’s easy to see why. A crowd-pleasing, versatile family meal, it is loaded with vegetables and freezes well, so it’s a great one to keep on standby for busy days.

If you have a small baby, remove a portion of the meat and mash and puree separately before adding the tamari and finishing the pie for the rest of the family to enjoy.

The parsnip, sweet potato and cauliflower mash is a great way to pack in loads of veggies and if your children don’t mind texture, leave out the step where you blend the onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery and simply add them to the browned beef.

cheap healthy meals


For the mash:

3 cups (300g) cauliflower florets
1 cup (150g) potato or white sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (70g) parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 tbs coconut oil or butter, melted
1/2 tbs arrowroot
Pinch of sea salt

For the mince:

1-2 tbs coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 brown onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
500g beef or lamb mince
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs mixed herbs
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs tamari sauce
1 cup (250ml) homemade beef broth, or low-sodium beef stock


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil. Add cauliflower, sweet potato and parsnip and cook vegetables for about 10-15 mins or until they are soft.
  2. Drain, rinse and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place all vegetables and coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Add arrowroot powder and salt and process for another minute. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large pan and cook onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery for 3 mins or until they are soft. Transfer into a measurement jar or bowl and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
  4. Set aside. In the same pan, cook the mince for 5-10 mins, or until browned.
  5. Add vegetable mix, cumin, herbs, tomato paste, tamari sauce and beef stock and let simmer for another 10 mins.
  6. Place the mince mixture into a large deep baking dish, then top with the cauliflower mash and bake uncovered for 20 mins. To brown on top, drizzle with olive oil (it won’t brown on top as much as regular mash).

Serving and storing leftovers: Serve immediately, store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 months.

To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.


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