What to Eat on a Budget in Kenya: 9 Meal Ideas

12 December 2023|General Discussion


Here are the best meal parings for budget eating in Kenya, they are all cheap and filling, whether on campus or freshly graduated with nothing major going on, there is no income just living off allowances. This means you need foods that cost cheap, you have not much here and your options are limited. 

Here are the best 9 meals that don’t cost much, they may not be the healthiest option, but we are trying not to starve here.


1. Avocado Toast

Cost : <KSh 50

Avocado Toast with Eggs
Avocado Toast with Eggs

Whether I have money or not, avocado toast is the one thing that must be on my breakfast. It is super cheap, easy to prepare, and comforting.

I can’t say the same for eating out since avocado toast is one of the most expensive breakfast options in restaurants.

All you need is 2 -3 slices of bread and one small avocado, or half a large one.

It is as simple as toasting your bread, slicing or mashing your avocado then spreading it on the toast sprinkling salt, pepper, or any preferred spices on top.

3 slices of bread cost approximately KSh 5 and a small avocado at around KSh 30. Serve this with black tea, coffee, or chocolate( with no milk ) and you won’t spend more than KSh 50 for this entire meal, plus it is filling.

Did I mention it is way healthier than expensive spreads like Nutella, fruit jams, and margarine? 

If you are concerned about the fats in avocados, don’t worry because they’re natural and healthy fats that do no harm to the body.

For bread choice go with brown bread, not for health concerns but because it is wholegrain and thus filling for longer than white bread. Remember we are on a budget and can’t afford to feel hungry all the time. 

You also don’t need a toaster, you can toast your bread on the pan!

2. Sturungi- Black Tea & Tubers

I don’t know why sturungi( black tea) is seen as a poverty beverage, to me I actually prefer it over milk tea since it tastes pure tea.

If you are on a budget, then milk is a luxury and if you want tea, it should be black. If you however dislike the taste of sturungi because you are used to milk tea, just spice up your sturungi by squeezing in a lemon wedge. It elevates and gives it more character.

Add ginger too, I love sturungi more because you can add whatever you want, for milk tea you can’t add lemon juice for instance as your milk will cuddle up

Sturungi goes well with boiled tubers like Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and arrow roots(nduma)

These tubers while boiled are good carbs with low glycemic index, making them healthy from a nutrition perspective

Overall sturungi deserves some love and has more perks than milk tea in my opinion, pairings are versatile and it is budget-friendly.

3. Ugali Leftovers & Milk Tea

I mean bread is 65 bob, so no shame. I actually eat this combo most of the time, you reduce wastage by utilizing the leftovers

This doesn’t pair well with black tea but with milk tea? Heavenly!

4. Porridge-Uji

Best alternative to oats and for cheap!

Uji can be boring, adding margarine specifically Blue Band just elevates it, also a squeeze of lemon juice makes it alive.

You can make uji richer by adding milk, but milk is out of budget here.


5. Smocha (Chapo-Smokie)

Cost <KSh 70

Smochas, Chapo Smokie
Smochas, Chapo Smokie

Smocha is ideal if you are outdoors and need to grab a quick bite. It is not a real meal by any means, but it packs all the nutrition you need. Smocha is basically a wrap filled with proteins and vitamins, and the chapati wrap is a source of carbs.

A roll of smocha is around KSh 65, and you can really feel full from it as it is dense. You can optionally wash it down with the fresh passion juices sold on the street for around KSh 50 and for less than 120 bob you will be good for lunch.

Read more on Smocha

6. Indomie &  Egg

Price: KSh 55 

Indomie & Egg
Indomie & Egg

This is not only cheap but also quick, so if you are broke and lazy, and you have to somehow cook, I don’t think it can get easier than this!

Indomie is a popular brand of instant noodles, instant noodles have been pre-cooked so just 3 minutes in boiling water and they are done.

Frying an egg takes less than two minutes, under a minute sometimes

Make the egg runny, so that it can mix in the noodles, have a piece of fruit on the side and you have a balanced diet for almost free.

Check Recipe: The Correct Way to Cook Indomie.

7. Chips & Kebab

Chips and Kebabs
Chips and Kebabs

Cost: KSh 170

Chips-sausage is not the best option, sausage is expensive for the size, so that is like a luxury when we are on a budget, smokies are also more on the pricier side so kebabs are the best option. 

Kebabs have a big volume for the packing and are dense, so be sure one medium-sized kebab is going to keep you full, the chips (fries) are just a side, and the kebab is the main character.

8. Chapati & Beans

Price: Approx. KSh 70

Rosecoco Bean Stew, Maharagwe
Rosecoco Bean Stew, Maharagwe
Chapati with Beans, Chapo Beans
Chapati with Beans, Chapo Beans

If chapati beans are an option, then it is likely you are buying this from kibandasky rather than making it yourself. while you can cook all these by yourself and for cheap, it is not viable in terms of quantity and time consumed.

Chapatis take over an hour and so do beans, the other thing is these foods are normally prepared in big batches to make sense of time consumed; and since we are on a budget, the best option is to buy from the food stand.

If you want to make a home version of this then you might wanna check out this recipe: Chapati With Beans Recipe: The Default Campus Cuisine

9. Spaghetti & Tomato Sauce

Cost: <KSh 70

Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce

A cheap pack of 400g spaghetti is around KSh 100, while expensive ones go for almost KSh for the same size, and for a serving like this, you need like 1/3 of that quantity, since it all expands on cooking. You however need alot of tomatoes, like 3 or 4 of them preferably medium to large sized.

Cook tomatoes till broken down and have a sauce at this point, you can only achieve this while covering the cooking tomatoes as the steam trapped will break them down.

Next simply boil your pasta( but not all the way through), till al dente, then you can add the tomato sauce back on the stove, and mix the drained spaghetti in.

Save some of the drained pasta water to cook this, and cook until you are happy with the doneness, preferably drier than mine here.


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