- 13 Low Calorie Meals on a Budget: Low Fat Dinners for Family
13 Low Calorie Meals on a Budget: Low Fat Dinners for Family
Eat unhealthy food for cheap? Easy. Make low-fat meals on a budget? Tougher, but possible.
We all want to provide our family with nutritious and delicious food. But with rising food costs, it's easy to just cook whatever is available, even if it's not the healthiest. What if I told you that you can eat low calorie dinners for family, but not break the budget? Here are 13 low fat family meals that all cost less than $10 to make (and will feed your whole family, plus leftovers!).
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How Do You Make a Low Fat Meal?
If you're asking the question, "How do you make a low fat meal?" This post is most definitely for you! Not only are there simple low fat meal options for families, most of these meal options are super cheap too! Check out the low fat family meals suggestions below - they're numbered from 1 to 13. Most of them are incredibly easy to make, they're cheap, and they'll likely make your family smile when they bite in! Want to make a low fat meal? This post has all the ingredients! :)
13 Low Fat Family Meals On A Budget
If your family is trying to eat lower fat, but still stay within a budget, these are some of the best and easiest recipes that I've made for my own family. They're even 6-year-old approved!
Incredibly Simple Low Calorie Meals
1) Easy Vegetarian Chili
Meatless Monday's have become popular amongst many families, especially due to the high cost of meat in recent years. However, that doesn't mean you have to slack on flavor. This easy vegetarian chili can be made in your crockpot, and requires just a few ingredients:
- TVP or crumbled extra firm tofu (whatever you can find in your store easily),
- canned beans of choice,
- fire roasted tomatoes,
- and spices of choice.
- All you have to do is throw everything into a crockpot for 3-4 hours on high, and that's it!
Want to take this chili a step further?
- Serve it over rice or some elbow noodles for a chili mac.
- Or, make it spicy with some peppers in adobo.
Got a box of cornbread? Serve it on the side (or bake it on top of the chili). Or, top it with your favorite toppings, like cheese, cilantro, sour cream, or even avocado! The possibilities are endless when it comes to chili. It's one of the best low calorie dinners for family!
2) Chicken Stir Fry
If you're wondering, "What can I eat for dinner with low calories?" Or... "What can I eat that's healthy in less than 30 minutes?" This is it. This recipe is so easy and only takes about 20 minutes to make. To make it super simple, you'll need:
- a rotisserie chicken,
- some frozen stir fry veggies,
- soy sauce,
- and rice or noodles of choice (we really like lo mein noodles, but you choose what works best for your family).
And that's it! Because the chicken is already cooked, you'll just need to cube or shred it. If you'd like to use a whole chicken and make a bunch of stir fry, you can. But generally, a family of 4 would only need about 1/3rd of the chicken for this recipe. Add the chicken, frozen veggies, and soy sauce in a pan and heat together until warmed completely through. Then, add your cooked rice or veggies, and season to taste before serving. That's all you have to do! Using precooked chicken and frozen veggies gets this dinner on the table fast.
3) 5-Ingredient Black Bean Burgers
One of my favorite "low fat family meals on a budget" is the 5-ingredient black bean burgers. Of course, these burgers aren't going to be "authentic" beef type burgers, but they're delicious and can be served over a salad or on a bun! The best part? Most of these ingredients are most likely already in your pantry, or cheap and easy to purchase. I also love that I can freeze these burgers for busy times. Once prepped and formed, I simply put parchment paper between each burger, throw them in a bag or container, and stick them in the freezer until I'm ready to cook them. Following this method, I've been able to get these bean burgers on the table in less than 15 minutes. Sounds like this qualifies as another low calorie meal in under 30 minutes!
4) Spinach & Egg Frittata
Sometimes, you just want to throw everything in a pan and let it cook. And this recipe makes it super easy to do just that.
- Scramble up a dozen eggs with a splash of milk (or more),
- throw in some spinach (frozen or fresh),
- and cheese.
From there, add it to a baking dish or 12 in cast iron skillet, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until set and the eggs are fully cooked. This frittata can easily make 8 full sized servings, and you can also add other fillings as well. Some filling ideas include other veggies, potatoes, bacon (or any type of meat), and different cheeses. You can also serve this frittata with items like pancakes, side salad, or anything else that goes well with eggs. It's one of the more simple low calorie dinners for family, but the possibilities are endless!
5) Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Don't feel like cooking a complex low fat family meals? (I mean...who does??) Try these buffalo chicken wraps.
- Mix a rotisserie chicken with buffalo sauce,
- and add it to a wrap or tortilla with spinach, lettuce, and mozzarella cheese.
- Serve with a side of blue cheese or ranch, and that's it.
You can also add other fillings as well, like broccoli slaw, cabbage slaw, pickles, or anything else you fancy. You can also serve these wraps with a side of corn on the cob, fries, or just by themselves. But using a pre-cooked chicken gets this family friendly meal on the table fast. Just remember, this low calorie family meal is for the spice lovers.
6) Chicken Sausage & Cabbage Skillet
Sausage is high in fat, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it every now and then. Instead, try to find chicken sausage.
- Then, you can just slice it,
- and cook it with some chopped cabbage in a skillet until cooked through.
- Add in your favorite seasonings, add the cabbage and sausage to some rice, and you've got an easy meal to serve your family.
Like I said, not the healthiest of low calorie dinners for family, but it's relatively healthy...and delicious!
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Low Calorie Meals on a Budget
Looking for low calorie meals on a budget? Here's your section. Read, prepare it, and enjoy!
7) Coconut Red Beans & Rice
This dish is a family favorite in my house, and I make it at least once a month (if not more often). Not only does it make a ton of servings, but it's also simple and delicious. I will usually serve it with broccoli or collard greens, and call it a day.
- Sauté the garlic, onion, scallion, and thyme for a few minutes.
- Add in the rice and beans followed by coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, and whole scotch bonnet pepper.
- Stir ingredients, bring to a boil, and then remove the pepper from the pot.
- Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes until almost the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
- Remove the pot from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. The steam will continue to cook the rice, so don’t take off the lid!
One of the top low calorie meals on a budget in my book, and delicious too!
8) Hummus & Veggies Wrap
Another no cook low fat family meal idea is a hummus and veggie wrap. All you'll need for this dish is:
- your favorite veggies of choice (cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and arugula work well with this wrap),
- some hummus,
- and a tortilla or wrap of choice.
Just spread some hummus on the wrap, top with as many veggies as you want, and wrap it all up. This is also a great picnic or road trip option! Could it be fewer calories without the tortilla? Sure! Maybe you want to wrap it in lettuce instead!
9) High Protein Burrito Bowls
If your family needs more protein, but on a budget, a high protein burrito bowl is a delicious option.
- Just mix black or pinto beans, rotisserie chicken, salsa, and taco seasoning together.
- Serve over a bed of rice or lettuce, and add your favorite toppings to complete the dish.
- Cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt, cheese, and even hot sauce are great additions.
10) Lemon Pepper Tilapia
Fish is a delicious option for low fat family meals. And while some kids don't like "fishy" fish (like salmon), tilapia is a budget-friendly and more subtle fish that they may love. To make this one pan sheet meal...
- lay out your tilapia, and top with a dab of butter and lemon pepper seasoning.
- Bake until the fish is flaky and serve.
- You can also throw in some broccoli or asparagus on the pan to make a complete meal.
Talk about a simple low calorie meal for your family! And budget friendly too! It can't get much simpler than this!
11) From The Fridge Fried Rice
If you cook rice often, you may have some old rice just lying in your fridge.
- Serve it up with some scrambled eggs, soy sauce, garlic, and mixed vegetables,
- and you've got a wallet friendly meal that will feed the whole family!
For this budget friendly family meal, feel free to use whatever you have on hand, and don't be afraid to get creative!
12) Spaghetti With Fresh Basil + Freshly Grated Parmesan
Spaghetti is a top-tier family meal, but it's easy to get bored with if you serve it all the time.
- Kick your regular spaghetti up a notch with fresh basil!
- You can still use your regular spaghetti noodles and sauce, but right before serving, slice up some basil and grate some fresh parmesan over the plate.
- It takes the spaghetti to a whole new level.
13) Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
If you have any family members with an egg allergy, but miss the classic egg salad sandwich, you can still enjoy the same flavors with chickpeas.
- The easiest way to prepare is to mash up a can of chickpeas,
- mix with mayo (or egg free mayo if allergic to eggs), a little bit of black salt (for eggy flavor, you can find this at most ethnic food stores), and pepper, and serve on bread.
You can also toast the bread, or add this mix to a wrap. And, if you want to serve it up with more nutrition, add in some spinach or arugula, and some sliced cucumbers. Yum.
What Is The Healthiest Thing You Can Eat For Dinner?
Of the above options, what is the healthiest thing you can eat for dinner? And on a budget too? If I had to choose, I'd pick the chicken stir fry! Chicken is a lean meat, and on top of that you're just adding a bunch of veggies that are good for you! No carbs and no milk make this low calorie family meal the healthiest one on the menu!
What Is The Healthiest Dinner For Weight Loss?
What is the healthiest dinner for weight loss? As I just stated earlier, cut out the carbs and limit the dairy if you're looking to lose weight. Beyond that, you've just got to eat in moderation.
- Want some steak? Go for it...but don't eat the entire cow. Seven ounces is probably plenty.
- (Chicken is also a great lean meat if you're in need of some sustenance.)
- Pare this with some healthy veggies (think peppers, tomato, green beans)
- And, salad is always a wonderful way to fill up your belly and take in very few calories!
Want to shed even more pounds! Get moving! Go for a walk, head to the lake for a swim, or, get on the bike for an intense ride. The more you move, the more likely it is that you'll shed those pounds and feel great doing it!
The Top 13 Low Fat Family Meals - Which Will You Try?
The 13 low fat family meals offered in this article are not only nutritious, but also budget friendly! Many can also be doubled, or even frozen for those days when you don't really have time to get food on the table. Who doesn't love an easy to prepare meal that the whole family will enjoy?
Lunsford, M. (n.d.). Behind rising food costs: Wages, inflation and even a trucker shortage. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://eu.citizen-times.com/story/news/2021/07/21/behind-rising-food-costs-wages-inflation-and-even-trucker-shortage/7892326002/
Editorial teamMeet the team
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.
Editor, copywriter, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands. When not editing articles for LifeAndMyFinances.com, he enjoys rummaging through paper dictionaries, walking in nature, and making travel plans.
Personal Finance Expert
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.
Content writing and marketing professional with 4+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.
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