10 Budget-Friendly Meals to Make When You’re Low on Food

10 Budget-Friendly Meals to Make When You’re Low on Food

10 Meals to Make When You’re Low on Food


We’ve all been there – you open your pantry and refrigerator only to find a few odds and ends that don’t seem to add up to a satisfying meal. When you’re low on food and facing a limited budget, it’s important to get creative and make the most out of what you have.

In this article, we will discuss 10 meals you can make when you’re low on food. These meal ideas are not only budget-friendly but also utilize common ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. Let’s dive in!

1. Veggie Stir-Fry

One of the easiest meals to make when you’re low on food is a veggie stir-fry. Simply chop up any vegetables you have on hand, such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and onions. Stir-fry them in a bit of oil with soy sauce and spices for added flavor. Serve it over rice or noodles if you have some, or enjoy it on its own as a healthy and filling meal.


If you find yourself without fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables are a great alternative. They retain their nutritional value and can be a cost-effective option.

2. Bean and Rice Burritos

Beans and rice are both affordable and nutritious pantry staples. Combine them in a flavorful burrito by sautéing some onions and garlic together. Add cooked beans and rice, along with any spices or herbs you have on hand. Wrap it all in a tortilla and top with some salsa or hot sauce for an easy and satisfying meal.


If you don’t have tortillas, you can still enjoy this meal by serving the bean and rice mixture on top of a bed of lettuce or as a filling for stuffed bell peppers.

3. Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs are a versatile ingredient that can be turned into a delicious and budget-friendly meal. Eggs in Purgatory is a simple dish that combines eggs, canned diced tomatoes, onions, and spices. Simmer the ingredients together until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal.


Feel free to add some canned beans or cooked pasta to make this dish more substantial and filling. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and herbs to suit your taste.

4. Tuna Salad Sandwich

Canned tuna is often an inexpensive and long-lasting protein option. Combine it with mayonnaise, diced onions, celery, and pickles for a classic tuna salad. Spread it on bread or enjoy it wrapped in lettuce for a refreshing and budget-friendly meal.


If you don’t have canned tuna, you can substitute it with canned chicken or any other canned meat you have on hand. Don’t forget to stock up on canned goods when they’re on sale for emergencies like these!

5. Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

Pasta is a pantry staple that can be transformed into a satisfying meal with just a few ingredients. Cook your favorite pasta shape according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, sauté some minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Toss the cooked pasta in the garlic-infused oil, and season with salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese if you have it. Serve it with a side of steamed vegetables if available.


If you have any canned tomatoes or tomato paste, you can use them to make a simple marinara sauce to toss with your pasta. Just sauté some onions and garlic, add the tomatoes or tomato paste, and season with herbs and spices of your choice.

6. Potato Soup

Potatoes are affordable and versatile, making them a perfect ingredient for a low-food meal. Make a hearty and filling potato soup by sautéing onions and garlic in a pot. Add diced potatoes, vegetable or chicken broth, and any additional vegetables you have on hand, such as carrots or celery. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, and mash some of them to thicken the soup. Season with herbs and spices, and serve hot.


To make this soup even more satisfying, add some cooked bacon or shredded cheese as a topping. It will add an extra layer of flavor and richness to the dish.

7. Quesadilla

Quesadillas are a quick and easy meal that can be customized based on what you have in your pantry. Grab some tortillas and fill them with shredded cheese and any other ingredients you desire, such as leftover cooked chicken, sautéed vegetables, or canned beans. Cook them on a skillet until the cheese is melted and the tortillas crisp. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream if available.


If you don’t have tortillas, you can substitute them with bread to make a grilled cheese sandwich. The idea is to utilize what you have on hand to create a meal that satisfies your hunger.

8. Peanut Butter Banana Wrap

When you’re low on food, it’s important to still get a balanced meal. A peanut butter banana wrap can provide protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats all in one. Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, and place a peeled banana in the center. Roll it up and enjoy as a satisfying and nutritious snack or light meal.


If you have any other fruits or spreads like honey or jelly, feel free to add them to the wrap for added flavor and texture. Get creative and make your own unique combination!

9. Chickpea Curry

Canned chickpeas are another affordable pantry staple that can be turned into a flavorful and nutritious meal. Make a chickpea curry by sautéing onions, garlic, and spices in a bit of oil. Add canned chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and coconut milk if you have it. Simmer until the flavors meld together and serve over rice or with naan bread if available.


If you’re missing some of the ingredients, feel free to experiment with different canned beans or vegetables to create your own version of curry. Don’t be afraid to adjust the spices to suit your taste.

10. Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potatoes are not only nutritious but also budget-friendly. Turn them into a delicious and filling sweet potato hash by peeling and dicing them, along with any other vegetables you have on hand, such as bell peppers or onions. Sauté them in a skillet with some oil and spices until tender and slightly crispy. Top it with a fried egg for a protein boost, and enjoy a hearty meal.


Feel free to add some cooked sausage or bacon to the hash for extra flavor and protein. This dish is highly customizable, so use whatever ingredients you have available to make it your own.


When you’re low on food, it’s important to get creative and make the most out of what you have. These 10 meal ideas utilize common pantry staples and can be easily customized based on your preferences and the ingredients you have available. Remember, even when times are tough, it’s possible to create delicious and satisfying meals without breaking the bank.

My 2 Cents

During tough times, it’s essential to be resourceful and make the most out of what you have. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and ingredients to create unique and flavorful meals. Consider stocking up on pantry staples when they’re on sale, so you always have something to fall back on during low-food situations. Remember, a little creativity can go a long way in nourishing yourself and your family. Stay positive and stay prepared!