15 Millennial “Depression Meals” for Navigating Rising Food Costs

The powers that be may not realize we’re facing a depression, but the people know. Millennials from around the country commiserate with the rising food costs, making it impossible to enjoy their favorite meals. 

Depression Meals

sad looking woman eating cheap noodles
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Instead, they rely on what they call “Depression meals,” which are cheap, easy ways to feed yourself when you don’t have a lot of money. 

Here are their favorite cheap meal creations. 

Quesadilla Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Top view of a grilled cheese sandwich next to a cup of tomato soup on a cutting board.
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 With bread rising in price, some millennials swap the classic grilled cheese with a cheese quesadilla and use the cheapest tomato soup available. 

Depression Pizza

Man enjoying a slice of pizza
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You know there’s a problem when pizza costs too much. Some folks are putting tomato sauce and cheese on toasted white bread.

Avocado Toast

slice of avocao toast
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The media claims avocado toast is keeping millennials poor when, in fact, it’s keeping them fed. You can get avocados for a buck at the store. Putting half an avocado on a slice of toast offers a filling breakfast for just a few bucks. 

Cheesy Potato

Three baked potatoes with sour cream, cheese, and chives.
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Microwave a potato for a few minutes, then add some cheese for a cheap, tasty way to fill your belly. 

Spiced Pasta

variety of pasta noodles
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If you can’t afford meat, add steak spice to your pasta to give it extra flavor. 

Rice and Eggs

Close up of woman's hands cracking open an egg into a bowl.
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Add one egg to your rice for flavor and extra protein. This cheap meal provides the carbs you need to get through the day. 

Salami and Cheese

An appetizer toast with salami, cream cheese, and microgreens.
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Pre-packaged salami is still reasonably cheap. If you buy a big jar of cream cheese, you can fill up on rolled meat and cheese snacks. 

Bean Soup

bowl of white beans spilling over on a mat
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Get a mix of dried beans and throw it in an Instapot with water for a filling meal that doesn’t cost much money. 


A spinach mushroom frittata in a frying pan surrounded by the ingredients.
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You can put almost anything in a frittata. Millennials are choosing cheap, seasonal vegetables like onions and zucchini. 

Veggie Sandwiches

egg sandwich with some veggies
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It’s too expensive to make sandwiches with meat, so Millennials are filling up on sandwiches with cheaper vegetables like carrots and lettuce. 

Canned Chicken and Rice

chicken and rice on a plate with sliced tomato and cucumber
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Canned meats, like chicken and tuna, are far cheaper than their fresh alternatives. Many millennials pour them over rice for a complete meal of carbs and protein. 

Chicken Broth and Crackers

chicken broth in a jar
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When the regular soup is too expensive, Millennials only eat the broth. It has enough flavor to make them feel better about eating a meal of crackers. 

Rice and Beans

A bowl filled with half white rice and half beans cooked to look like a chili.
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Millennials aren’t opposed to the staples previous generations survived on. A simple meal of rice and beans is hearty and delicious. 

Salted Lentils

Bowls with various colored lentils.
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Lentils are one of the cheapest proteins around. Boiled lentils with a pinch of spice keep many Millennials bellies full. 

Crock Pot Meals

crock pot meal
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Making bean soups, chilis, and stews in bulk reduces the price, making every meal just a tiny bit cheaper. Good thing it’s crock pot season!

Upgraded Ramen

woman enjoying cheap food - ramen noodles in a bowl
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People are masters at spicing up cheap ramen noodles. They’ll add veggies, eggs, spices, and all sorts of things to make the cheap meal more filling. 

Best Frugal Food Hacks to Spice Up the Cheapest Meals

bowl of mac and cheese with bacon on top
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Store-bought mac & cheese, top ramen, and canned foods are some of the cheapest meals you can get. However, they aren’t very tasty. 

Here are some hacks that can help these cheap staples become meals fit for kings!

Foods You Must Eat in One Sitting

woman taking leftovers out of the fridge
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Leftovers are essential for maximizing your grocery budget, but not all foods make worthy leftovers. Find out which foods you should never save for later!

More Cheap Meal Ideas

pasta dish
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Grocery lists and tips aren’t helpful if you don’t know what to cook. Here’s some kitchen inspiration, offering low-cost ideas for every meal. 

Read it here: 18 Cheap Meal Ideas to Help You Eat Well for Less

Become a Culinary Master!

man cooking in a professional kitchen.
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Cooking is far cheaper than eating out, but where do you start? These tips will help you become a master chef in no time!

How To Crack an Egg

Heart shaped fried eggs in a frying pan on a wooden table.
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Becoming a great chef starts with the basics. Can you crack an egg without breaking it?

Source: Reddit