There's an inescapable mantra in the fitness industry: You gotta eat big to get big!
That's easy to say, but what is an aspiring Mr. or Ms. Olympia with a limited budget to do?
Luckily, your growing muscles aren't doomed—at least, not if I can help it! You can still eat healthy, high-protein foods that fuel your hard-working body without breaking the bank. In fact, you can make these three delicious recipes with less than $20 bucks.
In fact, the total cost for all three recipes runs you less than the price of two Chipotle burritos, my friend. They certainly feed you more than two burritos, as well. Let your muscles and your wallet rejoice!
Diesel On A Dime Episode 1
Watch The Video - 10:05
Sriracha Tuna Chili
Total ingredients cost: $9.50, Cost per serving (serves 6): $1.58
Tight budget, meet canned tuna. You two are about to be the best of friends. Gram per gram, this extremely affordable source of lean protein provides a huge muscle-promoting bang for your buck. Don't worry; you're not doomed to eat boring tuna salad sandwiches forever. Instead, get hooked on this tuna chili with Sriracha chili sauce (since it goes with everything). If you're not a fan of spicy food, this recipe is versatile enough that you can easily lower the heat.
The Protein Chef Sriracha Tuna Chili
Watch The Video - 5:09
The high note of this recipe is that each serving packs 32 whopping grams of protein. If you ask me, that's quite a catch! If you're feeling cheesy, I like to top a bowl with some reduced fat or fat-free cheese, too.
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (I use canola)
- 2 14.4-oz bags frozen pepper stir-fry vegetables (or chop some green, red, and yellow peppers with some white onion)
- 6 cans tuna
- 1 packet (1.25 oz/35 g) chili seasoning mix (lowest sodium you can find)
- 1 can (16 oz/454 g) reduced-sodium dark red kidney beans
- 1 can (15 oz/425 g) reduced-sodium black beans
- 10 tbsp (165 g) salsa
- 10 tsp (50 g) Sriracha
- 1 can (28 oz/794 g) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp minced garlic (or 4 cloves)
- Take out, drain, and rinse your dark red kidney and black beans. Drain your tuna.
- Prepare a large stove top pan, turn your burner on medium heat, and add in your cooking oil.
- After your pan heats up, add in your pepper stir-fry, then the rest of your ingredients while occasionally stirring everything around.
- Once all of your ingredients are in your pan and mixed together, let your chili cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring it every couple of minutes.
Sriracha Tuna Chili PDF (142 KB)
Serving Size (1 serving) Recipe yields 6
Canned Chicken Parmesan Balls
Total ingredients cost: $2.75, Cost per serving (serves 7): $0.39
When money is tight, the next best thing after the "chicken of the sea" is actual shredded chicken from a can. We're going to transform these into something like a sort of balled-up chicken parmesan. They're easy and scrumptious, and they're even better if you top them with some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese!
The Protein Chef Canned Chicken Parmesan Balls
Watch The Video - 3:49
- 2 cans chicken
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (56 g) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- 8 tbsp (40 g) grated parmesan cheese
- 8 tbsp (64 g) wheat germ
- 1/4 cup (61 g) tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Drain your canned chicken and then combine all your ingredients into a bowl.
- Mix ingredients together until everything is incorporated.
- Take out a baking sheet, coat it with some nonstick cooking spray, and shape your mix into about 7 balls.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Canned Chicken Parmesan Balls PDF (125 KB)
Serving Size (1 serving) Recipe yields 7
Lemon Pie Overnight Protein Oatmeal
Total Ingredients Cost: $1.25, Cost per serving (serves 1): $1.25
Overnight oatmeals are one of my favorite recipes because they're incredibly easy to make, and you can make huge batches of them. For the purposes of this article, I'll be making one serving (or two, if you'd like to split it) of this protein-infused oatmeal that I swear tastes just like lemon pie!
Make this the night before you want to eat it, and it'll be ready to hit you right in the taste buds in the morning.
The Protein Chef Lemon Pie Overnight Protein Oatmeal
Watch The Video - 3:22
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 tbsp (7 g) coconut flour
- 1/2 cup (40 g) rolled oats
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1-1/2 scoops (45 g) vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 banana
- 2.65 oz (75 g) fat-free lemon Greek yogurt
- 1 serving (8 g) lemon sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding
- Simply throw your ingredients into a bowl (or jar) and mix them together.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or with a lid, if available.
- Put your oatmeal into the fridge overnight (or 2-3 hours if you're really hungry).
Lemon Pie Overnight Protein Oatmeal PDF (112 KB)
Serving Size (1 serving) Recipe yields 1