T Nation

Cheap Eats / Recipes

If you are like me, all of this eating advice is great, but dammit if it isn’t hard to do on a tight budget. Anyway, figured it’s time for another post on the latest and greatest way to spread the food dollar.

Please toss in your ideas. Here are a few of my own…

First off, here’s the scoop on a place to find nutritional food facts:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

Okay, though sometimes I think I am the oatmeal king, here’s some cooked meal ideas that I’ve been trying just recently:

  1. Pollock and Beans

Pollock 400g $2.99 ($2.99/lb)

kcal 368.0
prot 77.8
fats 3.9
carb 0.0

Beans 14oz Can $0.69 ($0.69/can)

kcal 465.0
prot 21.3
fats 1.8
carb 91.3

Cook up the pollock in a pan. Throw on some cayenne pepper, some garlic salt, whatever you like. When the pollock is almost done, dump the can of beans into the pan. Let it all simmer up for a little bit. Use the spatula to mince and mix the fish into the beans.

There you go, two cheap ass protein and carb meals. Less than $2.00 per meal or serving (depends if you eat alone). You could of course sub in canned tuna or salmon or whatever instead of the frozen pollock. Don’t be afraid to cook up a big batch and use different types of beans at the same time.

On a different note, sometimes I just want some juicy dead animal meat. You know, a hamburger or something that slides down without a fuss. But is has to be cheap as well. Here’s an alternative to the old bulk ground beef:

Hot Italian Sausage .542g $3.57 ($2.99/lb)

kcal 1875.0
prot 77.2
fats 170.0
carb 3.5

If you are looking for more calories, as some of us are at times, just cook up the italian sausage. Chop it into two or three portions and you have some good (though small) protein plus fat snacks for a nice low price. Again, cook up a large batch and keep 'em around for when you want something without carbs. If you like veggies, chop up some onions, peppers, or whatever to go with it – maybe to help fill you up, but watch out for carbs.

For nutritional details, go look them up yourself, but for a cheap and handy
snack keep around a bag, jar or can of nuts. Perhaps peanuts or almonds for example. A $5.00 container will last you a week or two if you ration them out. They are also really easy to take to work.

Hey, I’m not telling you how to eat, I’m telling how to get in some reasonable foods cheaply. It’s up to you to find appropriate ways to fit these items into your nutritional needs, but I’ll be damned if doing things like this won’t help you save up for those all important supplements!

Just think, eating out once for $15 bucks will give you two or three days worth of basic good eatin.

Oh yeah, just remembered, buy your spices in bulk and reuse your old spice containers. You’ll save a bundle!

The sausage Idea is excellent. However, if you’re concerned about the fat, the alternative would be Turkey Sausages.

Note: 5 sausages are 4 bucks and a loaf of whole wheat bread as I’m sure everyone knows is about 2 bucks

I used to get them at work a couple times a week and they were cheap as hell.

Just buy some whole wheat bread or buns and you’ve got yourself a clean P+C meal.

Here is the breakdown:

1 sausage w/ whole wheat bread
Cals: 255
Pro: 24
Carb: 21.6
Fat: 7.4

I usually eat 2 or 4 for a meal, and ditch the buns if the carbs get out of control

Great idea, vroom. We just dropped over $300.00 on food for my wife and I, and I doubt it will last more than 2 weeks.

Got any recipes that will make chicken breast taste any better?

I just grilled a weeks worth, and just the sight of them coming off the grill made me nauseous.

Rainjack, try poaching them in a flavorful liquid. Get a thermometer, take a pot of flavorful liquid (your choice) up to boiling, drop in the chicken breasts, and back the heat down until it’s at about 160-170 degrees F, and let it sit there until the chicken is done. DO NOT BOIL.

Ive got an entry level idea for chicken-

refuse to eat any chicken that has not been coated in at least one herb or spice…

of course you could then be accused of opening a “turkish” restaurant as my boss put it when i cracked open the portable protein at my desk…

loser…

Well damn I have TOOOOO many to even start, yet I will. Just because I just mixed up a big ole batch for my 4th meal later today.

Tis the season for pumpkin pie and ppl are constantly bitching about “I hate cottage cheese, boo hoo” LOL. Any way.
Here goes.

I will leave out the macro breakdown due to it depending on how much you make.

Fat free cottage cheese
Canned pumpkin
Oat meal
wheat bran
cinnamon
slpenda
I throw in a dash of maple and vanilla extract as well.

GOOD stuff. If I wasnt running low on Low Carb Grow it is an Awesome addition.

Great P+C, loaded with fiber and protein, and festive even.

For an idea of the amount I used here you go.

In order same as above
200g Cottage Cheese
250g Pumpkin
40g Oats
30g Wheat Bran
couple healthy shakes cinnamon couple packs splenda or other sweetner, and a dash of maple and vanilla.

Allright I lied coudnt leave you hangin. The break down of the batch I mixed is.

K/cals 433
Pro 35g
Carbs 76g (fiber 24.33)
fat 4.46g

If that dont keep you regular nothing will lol.

enjoy,
Phill

Rainjack,

I hear ya buddy. Spices and such, as mentioned above, are a good idea. Some other quick and effortless ideas…

  1. If you don’t have salt issues, add some garlic salt when cooking. I find salt is like sugar, it makes food more “desirable” in some way.

  2. Get some low carb roasted red pepper and garlic, for example, salad dressing. There are a lot of low carb salad dressings these days and they take about zero time and effort to use. Just slice or dice the meat and slather some on – instant flavor camoflage.

  3. This one goes against the current thoughts on oils and heat, but get a stable oil like coconut and put some in while cooking the chicken. Even skinless you’ll eventually get a browned crispy layer. Maybe salted and peppered or even cayenned it can get you salivating for chicken again.

  4. Its probably unhealthy as all hell, but there is that mesquite flavored liquid smoke stuff out there. Maybe as a rare treat you can simulate the flavor of a BBQ? This one might be too synthetic, carcinogenic or whatever though. My ex introduced me to it, but I’ve never bought the stuff myself.

I just figured out the magic topping for grilled chicken…especially if you’re sick and tired of choking down chicken breast. It’s called Tapatio hot sauce.

Just put enough on, and you can’t taste the chicken anymore. You can’t feel your tongue either, and your eyes water uncontrollably, but I no longer care that I’m eating chicken - the heat is pretty much all I can taste.

Good Times…

Some other ideas:

  • SauerKraut - Healthy and low calorie. Try it with the sausage sandwich mentioned earlier. I also like to mix this with whatever protein I cook and eat with rice

  • I buy whatever meat is on sale at the local univeristy safeway. Usually I can get something like boneless pork ribs or beef roast for around $2 a lb or less. when I get home I cut it all up into chunks or slices and store in tupperware in the fridge for use.

  1. Use george foreman grill to cook meat
  2. throw in pan with some veggies and a little bit of water/stock. Cover and cook for 15-20mins. I flavor with various asian ingredients but use whatever you like.
  3. If in real hurry or real lazy microwave meat.
  • Omlets with frozen spinich/carrot mix. Add cheese for pf meal.