Being the frugal nerd of the family, I’ve wanted to try meatless meals in our home for years. Don’t get me wrong. I have no interest in going vegetarian, or even having most of our meals without meat. I simply wanted to cut back just a bit so we could find more wiggle room in our grocery budget.
Even going meatless just one night per week would help. But convincing the Hubby wasn’t easy. Supper is a chunk of meat with some sides dishes.
I knew that I could convince him to change his mind. And after years of compromises, we’ve found some meatless meals that save money without compromising on taste.
Let’s talk about some ways to convince your family to go meatless (even just a few times per month) so you can save on your grocery budget.
Why Have Meatless Meals?
Depending on your family size and the price of meat in your area, you can save some significant money by going meatless just one night per week. Multiply those savings by 52 and you’ll find that you’ve saved some real cash over the course of a year.
How to Convince the Family
I’ve heard many women say that they couldn’t go meatless in their home because their husband would not be on board. It was no different in our own home. Like I said, the hubby is a meat eater for sure, and it took some convincing to make him interested in trying meatless meals once per week.
Once I decided that we would try to go meatless once per week, I decided to ease the family into the idea. Even if you never go totally meatless, there are ways to cut down on the amount of meat you use. Some ways to do that include:
- making a gravy to top a bigger portion of noodles, potatoes, or breads
- use meat as a topping over a hearty salad
Expand your concept of “meatless”
If visions of endless vegetables is what comes to mind when you think of having a meatless meal, it’s time to learn more about this concept!
Serving meatless meals doesn’t mean skipping hearty, filling foods. Rice and beans can be delicious if you learn to cook them properly. Eggs, potatoes, pastas, and so many more options await you.
When you are ready to take the plunge, be sure that your first meatless meals are winners! What foods does your family enjoy?
- Pancakes are nearly always a hit with kids. Top them with whatever fruit is in season and on sale.
- Breakfast. If you are offering eggs (depending on prices in your area these days!), hash browns, muffins or biscuits, toast, milk, produce, or whatever you enjoy at a breakfast bar, everyone will have full plates.
- Mexican. Our family loves tacos, and with a variety of toppings available, they don’t mind using beans rather than meat at the bottom. Plus it’s easy to use your typical spices and seasonings in the beans to make it taste more like your usual meat.
- Soups. A hearty potato soup is great comfort food! Or use a 3 bean chili rather than your regular meaty chili.
Show him the evidence
Your hubby is no dummy. He might love a hearty meat and potatoes meal, but if you show him how much savings you’ll reap by going meatless just one night per week, you might be surprised to find that he’s on board with the idea. Especially if you outline what you can do with that savings! Do you dream of taking a family vacation or owning some new splurge? Perhaps this savings could help you budget for it.
Meatless Meal Ideas
Over time, we have tried a variety of meatless meal ideas. Here are some of our favorites (and a couple that we are definitely going to try very soon!).
Note: If you want to try dried beans for some extra savings, it’s not as tough as it seems! I described my method in my Ham & Beans post. And while those ham & beans aren’t exactly meatless, many times you can just use a ham bone that would otherwise have gone to waste for another super frugal meal!
Some recipes to try:
- Garlic Butter Pasta (Sooo good!)
- Loaded Potato Soup
- Healthy Black Bean Casserole
- One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Here’s an idea for doing a baked potato bar (Fun way to use up leftovers!)
- Make a pizza using my delicious recipe for the crust. Top it with whatever you have handy!
- Three Bean Chili Chowder (We omit the chicken to make it meatless, but still yummy!)
- Bean Burrito Casserole (We really love this one!)
Plus, I’m always pinning great recipes! So if you follow my Meatless Meals Pinterest board, you’ll be sure to find plenty of delicious, frugal recipes to keep the family interested.
These tips will have your family chowing down on meatless meals in no time!
These days, my family is just as excited about bean burritos as they are about taco night. Can we call that a success?
Do you already have meatless nights in your home? What are your favorite recipes?