Your $75 Healthy Grocery List And Recipe Guide!

Not sure you can feed your gains on a limited budget? Learn how to stick to your diet without breaking the bank. Recipes and grocery list included!

It's true: You can eat healthy, get fit, and gain quality muscle without spending your entire paycheck. I learned this lesson firsthand when I was living on a very limited income. I would scour the Internet for various healthy, muscle-building diets while wondering how in the world I was going to afford groceries.

But, after shopping around at different stores, I found that it was actually much easier than I anticipated. With a little creativity, I discovered that I could achieve my fitness goals on a limited budget.

After hearing feedback from many of you, especially college students and people with families, I decided to challenge myself. The task: Create a diet of five meals per day for an entire workweek—five full days—using as many fresh ingredients as possible while spending only $75.

I'm happy to report that I accomplished my mission and am proud to share the results with you!

With a little creativity, I discovered that I could achieve my fitness goals on a limited budget.

A few notes before getting started

  • This is not a custom meal plan. This outline should serve as inspiration for you to create a plan to meet your personal goals. Calorie ranges will vary, so instead of sticking to these macros exactly, use this guide as a way to jumpstart your meal planning and, more importantly, your creativity! Unlock your inner #FitMenCook and #FitWomenCook.

  • Seasonings, spices, oils, supplements, and vitamins are excluded in the weekly budget since those items generally last for a few weeks.

  • To preserve the freshness of your meals, freeze after preparing and defrost in the refrigerator the night before consuming.

  • This article will likely raise many questions. Post yours below so we can answer them as a community!

  • Remember $75 does not spend the same everywhere. Consider the cost of living and wages in your area to determine what the equivalent of $75 would be for you. In some places it may be less, others it may be more. In all, make it relevant to you!

My budget breakdown = $75

  • Bargaining at local farmer's market (paid in cash so there's no receipt): $16.50
  • Grocery store 1: $35.84
  • Grocery store 2: $22.24
  • Total spent: $74.58

Grocery List

Protein and Dairy

  • 6.5 lbs Chicken Breast
  • 2.32 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 carton Eggs (omega-3)
  • 1 carton Liquid Egg Whites
  • 16 oz Cottage Cheese
  • 1 small bag shredded Mozzarella

Carbs

  • 2.75 lb Sweet Potato
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Quinoa shell pasta
  • Honey Sticks*
  • Dried Papaya*

Fats, Sauces

  • Naturally more Peanut Butter
  • Two 6 oz cans Tomato Paste (low sodium)
  • 1 can Chicken Broth


Produce

  • 1 bundle Spinach
  • 4 colorful Bell Peppers
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 bundle Cilantro
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 bundle Asparagus
  • 1 small carton Strawberries
  • 1 small bag of Limes
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 bag steamed Corn (frozen)
  • 1 Red Onion

Supplies

  • BPA-free food storage containers. You can generally find these at Walmart stores for 5 for $3.
  • Mini, disposable foil pans
  • Sandwich bags
  • Airtight containers

Epic $75 Meal Prep!
Watch The Video - 6:45


Don't forget the caloric benefit of adding a protein shake to your diet!

1

Egg, Spinach And Mozzarella Scramble With Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal



Eggs are affordable, lean sources of quality protein. Add in a bit of spinach for iron and antioxidants, and mozzarella for a hearty dose of bone-building calcium. Oh, and don't forget that this meal tastes absolutely delicious!

To save time in the morning, I carefully measure out each portion of liquid egg whites and store them in airtight containers. I store single servings of spinach and oatmeal in separate plastic bags.

Ingredients

egg 1


egg whites 5


mozzarella 1/8 cup shredded


spinach 1 cup


oatmeal 2/3 cup


honey packet


granny smith apple 1/2


cinnamon to taste


papaya 2 tbsp


Directions
  1. Place a skillet on medium-high heat and spray with coconut oil.
  2. In a bowl, whip 1 egg and 5 egg whites; season with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. Toss spinach into the pan and allow it wilt. When it's nearly wilted, pour in the egg mixture.
  4. Stir and flip mixture with a spatula until the eggs are scrambled. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cook instant oatmeal with water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  6. When finished, add cinnamon, 1 honey stick (optional), and 1/2 Granny Smith apple (chopped).
  7. Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Recipe Yields: 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 505
Total Fat 11g
Total Carbs 57g
Protein 44g
2

Spicy Grilled Chicken With Stuffed Avocado



Chicken is among the cheapest and leanest proteins out there. Pair this muscle-making staple with cholesterol-lowering avocados filled with an inventive take on Southwest salsa.

Ingredients

chicken breast 30 oz


avocados 2 1/2 medium


black beans 1 can


steamed corn 1.5 cup


tomato 2


cilantro 1 cup


lime juice fresh


Directions
  1. Trim excess fat from chicken breasts. Wash and dry on a paper towel.
  2. Carefully measure out a 30-oz portion of chicken breast. Slice thicker pieces of chicken breast in half.
  3. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and lightly spray with coconut oil.
  4. Add seasonings to the chicken and cook in skillet until all sides are seared and the inner portion of the chicken is no longer pink.
    *Tip: Do not overcook the chicken. Even slight overcooking now will result in a very dry chicken once the meal is served.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, weigh the entire cooked dish and evenly divide into 5 servings.
  6. Cook the corn and allow it to cool. Drain the can of black beans.
  7. In a large bowl, mix black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime juice. You can also add freshly diced red onion.
  8. Stir; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. On the day you intend to eat the meal, slice a ripe avocado in half, remove the pit and fill with 1/5 of the bean and corn mixture. Place the uneaten half of the avocado in the refrigerator either submerged in ice water or with the exposed, green portion rubbed in lime/lemon juice. This will help preserve its color.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Recipe Yields: 5 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 430
Total Fat 13g
Total Carbs 32g
Protein 48g
3

Grilled Chicken, Spicy Southwest Sweet Potato, Asparagus, And Bell Pepper Stir-Fry



Skip the grease and sneak in the stir-fry with this guilt-free meal. With chicken as the main protein, and sweet potatoes and asparagus as sides, it's sure to meet your macros and leave you feeling satisfied.

Ingredients

chicken breast 30 oz


sweet potato 1500 gm


asparagus large bundle


bell pepper 2


Seasoning Coconut Aminos (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos), Mrs. Dash Fiesta lime


Directions
  1. Set oven to 405 degrees F.
  2. Wash the raw sweet potatoes with warm water. Slice into small wedges.
  3. Spray wedges with coconut oil and season. Bake at 405 degrees F for about 22 minutes.
  4. Trim excess fat from chicken breasts. Wash and dry on a paper towel.
  5. Carefully measure out a 30-oz portion of chicken breast.
  6. Set a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat; lightly coat skillet with coconut oil.
  7. Add seasonings to the chicken and cook in skillet.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, weigh the entire mixture and evenly divide into five servings.
  9. Trim the asparagus spears and slice bell pepper into long, thin pieces.
  10. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and lightly spray with coconut oil.
  11. Once the skillet is hot, toss in the asparagus and bell peppers. While they sear, season with coconut aminos, garlic, and pepper.
  12. Cook until the asparagus is soft, yet slightly firm. Speed things up by covering the asparagus while searing for about 2 minutes.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Recipe Yields: 5 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 475
Total Fat 2g
Total Carbs 65g
Protein 48g
4

Grilled Chicken Breast, Cottage Cheese, Peanut Butter, And Berries



Pair lean chicken with slow-digesting cottage cheese to feed your muscles over time. Coupled with peanut butter, this makes for a healthy snack that keeps you fuller longer!

Ingredients

chicken breast 30 oz


cottage cheese 1 2/3 cup


peanut butter 2 tbsp


strawberries 3 medium


Seasoning Coconut Aminos (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos), Gumbo file, Jamaican jerk


Directions
  1. Trim excess fat from chicken breasts. Wash and dry on a paper towel.
  2. Carefully measure a 30-oz portion of chicken breast.
  3. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and lightly spray with coconut oil.
  4. Add seasonings to the chicken and cook in skillet.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, weigh the entire mixture; evenly divide into 5 servings.
  6. In a separate container, add cottage cheese, peanut butter, and strawberries. Add cinnamon for a little extra flavor.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Recipe yields: 5 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 460
Total Fat 19g
Total Carbs 9g
Protein 58g
5

Turkey And Zucchini Quinoa Pasta Casserole With Mozzarella



Ingredients

lean ground turkey 32 oz


quinoa pasta 8 oz


mozzarella 1/8 cup


red onion 1/2


zucchini 2 cups


bell pepper 1


chicken broth 1 cup


tomato paste 2 6oz cans


Directions
  1. Set oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Boil quinoa pasta, rinse with warm water, and set aside.
  3. Set a skillet on medium-high heat and lightly spray with coconut oil. Toss in red onion and granulated or freshly minced garlic. Cook in the skillet until the onions are nearly translucent.
  4. Add in the ground turkey meat. Stir and cook with a wooden spoon or spatula. Chop the turkey and separate it as it cooks.
  5. Once the turkey is nearly finished cooking, add zucchini, tomato paste, tomatoes, bell peppers, and one cup chicken broth.
  6. Stir slowly and reduce heat slightly. Cover and cook until the mixture begins to simmer.
    *Tip: If your skillet is large enough, add in cooked pasta. If not, continue on to step 7.
  7. Evenly divide the pasta among the five mini pans. Pour the mixture on top of the pasta.
  8. Pour the remaining chicken broth over the individual pans to ensure moisture.
  9. Top each with 1/8 cup shredded mozzarella.
  10. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 375F. Once finished, allow to cool. Cover with foil and freeze until you're ready to eat.
  11. Reheat in the oven. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Recipe Yields: 5 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 475
Total Fat 14g
Total Carbs 49g
Protein 42g
Nutrition Facts
Total Meal Plan
Amount per serving
Calories 2,345
Total Fat 59g
Total Carbs 212g
Protein 240g

Shopper's Guide

To round out this list of epic meals, check out these quick grocery shopping tips. Put them to use next time you're on the hunt for fuel.

1

Prioritize Protein

The bulk of your money should be spent on purchasing the highest-quality protein possible for your budget. Look for labels with key words like these before purchasing: minimally processed, no added flavors, solution or coloring, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, and no added hormones.

2

Get Smart

Use phone applications like Fooducate (on iPhone or Android) to help determine which products to purchase while shopping. The app gives you recommendations based on a product's ingredients and rates it on a scale from A (highest) to F (lowest). You'll be surprised that many of the expensive "natural and organic" products have low ratings!

3

Find the Farm

Perform a Google search for a local famer's market in your area. Farmer's markets are great places to find quality produce at reasonable prices while simultaneously supporting local businesses. Win-win!

4

Double Up!

Live with fitness-minded roommates? Consider purchasing quality meats in bulk on a monthly basis and then freezing them. More often than not, bulk quantities mean significant cost savings.

If quality protein is on sale, and you have a few extra dollars, purchase and immediately freeze it. An extra stash of meat can come in handy at the end of the month when you're looking to stretch the dollar.

5

Collect Coupons

Before checking out at grocery stores, ask if there are any coupons or store discounts. Many times the cashier might know of store promotions that can be used.

For more meal prep ideas and to connect with others, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at FitMenCook!