Feeding children can be the ultimate challenge. Never mind James Bond or Batman taking on the world – if you’re a parent, keeping your children interested in food, as well as keeping them healthy, is tricky. That’s why we’ve come up with a weekly menu for you that is not only cheap, but provides fun activities for the kids to help you too!
- Monday: porridge and fruit, Veggie lunch kebabs, quiche
- Tuesday: boiled egg and soldiers, minestrone soup, make your own pizza
- Wednesday: grilled banana and yogurt, fun-shaped sandwiches, spaghetti Bolognese
- Thursday: porridge and golden syrup, sticks and dip, lamb burgers
- Friday: scrambled egg on toast, savoury muffins, sausage casserole
- Saturday: make your own muesli, baked potato boats, lasagne
- Sunday: porridge and jam, salad, risotto
- Sweet treats for under 10p
All the totals given are per portion – enough to feed one child. So if you’ve got two you’d have to double the price.
All the prices we’ve used are from Asda, but other supermarkets like Tesco will probably have some great deals too. We’ve used the price per unit to work out the exact costs of the ingredients – save money by only buying as much as you need. Buy loose fruit and veg and meat and fish from the deli rather than in packs.
This menu is suited to kids that are 8 years and younger. Want cheap recipes for older kids? Leave a comment at the bottom and we’ll get to work.
Breakfast: Porridge and Fruit
Mix 30g porridge oats (2p) with 275ml milk (17p) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes and then serve with fruit, like apples (6p).
Total cost – 25p
Lunch: Veggie lunch kebabs
It’s amazing how excited children will get by food served in a different way. These easy kebabs just involve putting 4 cubes of cheese (20p), 4 thick slices of cucumber (14p) and 4 cherry tomatoes (8p) on a stick and serving it with a bread roll (2p). You could even get the kids to put the items on the stick!
Total cost – 44p
Dinner: Quiche Lorraine
This is a great hands-on recipe that children can get involved with. Start by rubbing 225g wholemeal flour (8p) with 115g margarine (6p) until they look like breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water to form dough, roll the dough out and line a flan dish. Prick with a fork and bake blind for 10mins at 170˚C (Gas Mark 3). While that’s cooking, chop and fry 3 onions (30p) and 4 chopped rashers of bacon (49p) for 10mins. Take off the heat and beat 3 eggs (30p) with 225g grated cheese (84p) before adding them to the fried bacon and onions. Season with pepper and then add to the pastry case. Cook for 20 minutes at 200˚C (Gas Mark 6). Serve one slice of quiche (20p) with potatoes (13p) and salad (14p).
Total cost – 47p
Total for Monday – £1.16
Breakfast: Boiled egg and soldiers
Eggs are a fab source of protein to start the day off, as well as one of the cheapest source of protein. Plus, dipping toast into egg is a really fun way for kids to eat. Just boil an egg (10p) for 3 minutes and cut a slice of toast (1p) into 8 pieces for kids to dip. For more cheap egg recipes visit the British Egg website.
Total cost – 11p
Lunch: Minestrone Soup
Making your own soup is a really good way of knowing exactly what goes into your meal. It’s also very simple and kids can get involved by adding all the ingredients to the pot. Start by frying an onion (10p) and 55g chopped bacon (21p) in a little oil. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes (21p) and let it boil, before adding 850ml stock (23p). Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, before adding one chopped turnip (14p) and half a chopped cabbage (39p). Boil for 5 minutes before adding 55g of broken spaghetti (3p). Simmer for a further 10mins and season to taste. Serve with a slice of bread (1p).
Total cost – 44p per serving.
Dinner: Make you own pizza
Kids love to decorate their own pizzas. Start with a small pizza base (18p) and 2 tablespoons of passata (1p). Then let the kids add their own toppings. Things like peppers (17p), ham (12p), pineapple (8p) or sweetcorn (3p) are great for making smiley faces, monsters or alien spaceships. Once they’ve been decorated sprinkle 50g cheese (19p) over the top and cook for 15mins.
Total cost – 38p + toppings
Total for Tuesday – 93p
Breakfast: Grilled banana and yogurt
This is a really exciting way to get kids to eat fruit. Simply make a slit in the skin of a banana (8p) from end to end and grill under a medium heat for ten minutes. Serve in the peel with yogurt (10p) in the slit.
Total cost – 18p
Lunch: Fun-shaped sandwiches
If you’re having trouble making lunchboxes exciting, why not try cutting out the sandwiches into fun shapes? Whether with a shaped cutter or just with a knife, you can turn ordinary sandwiches into stars, hearts or smiley faces. Just take two slices of bread (2p) and fill with whatever your child prefers. Cheese (12p), ham (7p) and tuna (10p) are good sources of protein, while cucumber (10p) and tomatoes (9p) are a good way to get fruit and veg into their diet.
Total cost of a ham and tomato sandwich – 18p
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese
This is a really simple meal to cook, and while messy, spaghetti is fun to eat no matter what age you are. Start by frying an onion (10p). Once the onion is soft, add in 400g mince and fry until brown. Then add in two chopped carrots (18p) and three sticks of celery (25p). Once soft add in half a tin of sweetcorn (10p) and two tins of tomatoes (42p). Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve a portion with spaghetti (2p).
Total cost – 34p per portion
Total for Wednesday – 70p
Breakfast: Porridge and golden syrup
This is simple but delicious, and you can even make the golden syrup into swirls to make it more fun for kids. Use the recipe from above and add golden syrup (10p) once cooked.
Total cost – 29p
Lunch: Sticks and dip
Kids love to pick and choose food, and cutting vegetables like cucumber (14p), celery (5p), carrots (2p) and peppers (14p) into sticks for them to put in dip (11p) makes for a great mealtime. You could also cut up some warm pitta bread (4p) for them to try. Just stick it in the toaster and cut into slices.
Total cost – 50p
Dinner: Lamb burgers
These are great grilled, or if it’s warm outside you could put them on the barbecue, too. Use 100g mince lamb (30p) and any seasoning to form a patty (a fun job for children) and chill in the fridge for 25 minutes. Then grill for about 5 mins on each side until brown and the meat juices are clear. Serve in a burger bun (10p) with slices of tomato (9p), peppers (14p) and cheese (3p).
Total cost – 66p
Total for Thursday – £1.45
Breakfast: Scrambled egg on toast
This is a great dish served plain, or you could try adding cheese to the eggs. To make, simply beat an egg (10p) with a splash of milk (2p) and any seasoning, before frying. Keep stirring while it’s cooking and serve on a slice of toast (1p).
Total cost – 13p
Lunch: Savoury muffins
These are a great meal as kids think they’re eating cake! They’re also really easy to make, so the kids can help. Start by sifting 300g plain flour (7p) and 1 level tablespoon of baking powder (4p) into a mixing bowl. Then mix 250ml milk (16p), 2 eggs (20p) and 125g melted butter (42p) in a jug, before adding to the flour. Once mixed gently stir in the filling. This is a great opportunity to add your own filling, but we’d recommend a fried onion (10p) and 50g cheese (19p) mix to start with. Once all the mixture is ready pour it into a 12-hole standard muffin tin so that the mixture just reaches the top of the tin. Sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and bake at 200˚C (Gas Mark 6) for 25 minutes until they’re well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and eat as soon as possible as these are really tasty when they’re still slightly warm. Two muffins should be enough for a portion, so that’s 10 other muffins for you, or you can freeze them as soon as they’re cool to eat at a later date.
Total cost – 20p for two muffins
Dinner: Sausage casserole
This is a cheaper alternative to chicken casserole and you can also try cooking lentil casserole for vegetarians. Start by frying 8 sausages (91p) in a pan. Once they’re brown throw in a sliced onion (10p) and 2 cooked carrots (16p) and cook until the onion is soft. Then place in a casserole dish with chopped mushrooms (74p), 2 tins of tomatoes (42p) and a good pinch of mixed herbs. Cook in the oven for an hour and serve a portion with mashed potato (13p) to soak all the sauce up. This makes 5 portions, but it’s really easy to freeze if you don’t need them all at once.
Total cost – 59p
Total for Friday – 92p
Breakfast: Make your own muesli
This is a cheap alternative to buying supermarket cereals and means that you and your kids get to choose what goes in to it. If you start with about 30g porridge oats per person and then add whatever you fancy. Dried fruit, like sultanas (1p) and apricots (7p) are a healthy choice, but a sprinkling of chocolate drops (3p) may be more popular with children. Once you’ve made your mix just add milk (8p).
Total cost – 12p
Lunch: Baked potato boats
Whether your child wants to create a pirate ship or Robinson Crusoe’s canoe, there is plenty of scope here for kids to use their imagination. Cook a baked potato (18p) in the microwave for 5 minutes on either side. Then cut in half, spread a little margarine (1p) on top of each half and place in the oven on a baking tray at 200˚C (Gas Mark 6) for 15 minutes until golden. Then let your kids add their own toppings to make a boat. Cucumber sticks (14p) make great oars, while a slice of cheese (6p) or ham (10p) on a cocktail stick can act as a sail. Tuna (12p) is also great for putting around the base as stormy seas.
Total cost for a cheese, tuna and cucumber potato – 51p
If you’ve got any mince mix left from your spaghetti Bolognese this is a great way to use it up. Layer the mince with lasagne sheets (39p) and cheese sauce. To make cheese sauce, melt 50g margarine (7p) in a pan. Once melted, take off the heat and mix in 55g plain flour to form a paste. Then very gradually add in 750ml milk (47p) over the heat. Bring to the boil and add 100g cheese (34p). Keep stirring until the sauce thickens before pouring it over the lasagne. Make sure that the top layer of the lasagne is cheese sauce and sprinkle some grated cheese over the top before cooking in the oven at 200˚C (Gas Mark 6) for 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has turned golden. There will be enough for 8 portions, but lasagne freezes well if you don’t need it all.
Total cost – 39p
Lasagne is also a really good recipe for using up vegetables. Making a vegetarian meal once a week is great for saving money. If you made this with vegetables (carrots, pepper, onion, sweetcorn, celery) it would only cost 30p a portion and £2.37 for the entire lasagne for 8.
Total for Saturday – £1.02
Breakfast: Porridge and jam
Now is a great time of year to collect lots of fruit and make your own jam. When added to porridge this makes a really tasty way to start the morning. Use the basic porridge mix from Monday and add jam just before you serve.
Total cost – 19p
Lunch: Salad with extras
Salad’s are great, particularly in the summer, and allow loads of flexibility to suit different tastes. A basic combination of lettuce (14p), cucumber (14p) and tomato (17p) is a fab start. You could then add other vegetables, like grated carrot (4p), as well as sources of protein, like cheese (20p), ham (20p) or tuna (12p). Serve with a bread roll.
Total cost for tuna salad – 42p
Dinner: Bacon risotto
This is a really simple risotto recipe so is great for kids to help with, especially the stirring. Start by frying an onion (10p) in 40g margarine (5p). Once soft, add 6 chopped rashers of bacon (73p). Once cooked add a litre of vegetable stock (23p) and 300g risotto rice (44p). Keep stirring until nearly all the liquid is absorbed and then add 100g frozen peas (10p). Keep stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and serve. This will make 4 portions.
Total cost for one portion – 41p
Total for Sunday – £1.02
Total for week – £7.64
If you’re someone with a sweet tooth, we’ve got some great recipes for puddings for under 10p! This time of year is great for getting outside and picking the wild fruit that grows in the hedgerows. Blackberries are the most common berry, so why not try making blackberry crumble or blackberry yogurts? There are also great ways to use fruit like cooking apples that can grow in your garden.
Blackberry or apple crumble
After a fun afternoon of blackberry picking with your kids, making crumble is a great way to use some of the blackberries up. Simply rub 100g margarine (14p) into 200g plain flour (5p) until it looks like breadcrumbs. This is very messy and hands on, so is great for kids to get involved in. Then mix in 75g sugar (7p) and place the mixture on top of stewed blackberries and apples. Stewed blackberries and apples will also need sweetening, but instead of sugar, try honey for a slightly different flavour. The amount of fruit you have will change the amount of sweetener you need, so you and the kids are just going to have to try it. It’s tough, we know. Then place the crumble in a 190˚C (Gas Mark 5) oven for 25 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
This is really simple. Just buy some plain yogurt (10p/100g) and add in your blackberries. This can be a bit sour for children, so you can try adding honey or sugar if you like.
This is a delicious way to use up cooking apples. Firstly, core the apples, then place in a dish and fill the empty core with sultanas (1p). Sprinkle the top with sugar (3p) and put a few spoonfuls of water in the dish to make more sweet juice. Then bake in the oven at 150˚C (Gas Mark 2) for 40 minutes with foil over the top and a further 20 without foil so that the sugar goes crispy.
This is a great recipe for using up slightly stale bread. Line a 1 litre pudding dish with bread (10p), cutting a round for the base and then lining the outside around it. Then spoon in 750g of summer fruit (you can try adding raspberries, blueberries or anything else you can get to the blackberries) stewed with 185g sugar (19p). Cover the fruit with bread and then place a saucer on the top to keep the bread down and leave it in the fridge overnight. Turn out when you want to serve. This works out at about 4p per portion.
For other cheap cakes, you can try using oats and cereals to make treats like cornflake cakes, Rice Krispie cakes and flapjack.
Mix 150g cornflakes (15p) with 175g melted chocolate (40p) and then using a teaspoon put the mixture into small paper cake cases. Place the cakes into the fridge to set. This is also delicious if you add chopped marshmallows with the melted chocolate. Each cake works out at around 3p.
Rice Krispie cakes
Melt a bag of marshmallows (68p) in the microwave and once melted add in 200g rice snaps (33p). Like the cornflake cakes spoon the mixture into small paper cases and put in them in fridge to set. Each cake works out at about 5p.
Melt 75g margarine (11p), 75g sugar (7p) and 75g golden syrup (9p) in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Once melted pour in 175g porridge oats (6p) and mix until all the porridge oats are coated in the melted mixture. Press into a sandwich tin and cook in a 180˚C (Gas Mark 4) oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and then cut into 16 slices. Each slice will cost about 2p.