T Nation

Organic on a Budget for a Bulk/Recomp?


I'm eating 2500-3000 cals a day. 150g protein

I'm all about eating organic. Look at the size of a free range chicken breast vs a typical one. The typical tyson chicken breast is like 2x the size lol.

I eat 3 big meals and snack on fruit throughout the day. A typical meal look like:

1/2 lb bison/deer/fish/chicken
1-2 whole potatoes
A plate of veggies (literally)

The only thing is now that I'm moving I REALLY have to be on a tight budget.

My budget is $50-$60 a week for all 3 meals a day. How would you guys go about doing this??


$50-60 a week for 3 meals a day, so $50-60 for 21 meals with 50g protein and 600 calories each?

Realistically, eggs and protein powder and rice are going to be your cheapest foodstuffs, all of which are available in higher or lower levels of quality.


Cheaper cuts of meat, for one. Wings, drumsticks, etc tend to be much cheaper than breasts.

LoRez is dead on that eggs, even pastured organic ones, might be somewhat cheaper than meat as far as a protein source.

Potatoes are dirt cheap. So are sweet potatoes.

But, seriously, on $60/week it’s going to be very, very difficult to sustain your desired intake while also remaining all-organic-everything. Something will have to give. Either you’ll have to spend a bit more money or compromise a little on food quality/quantity.


$60 is a tall order man. quick math is 21 meals at 50g (7oz cooked) of protein each is 11.5 lbs of raw meat a week. if you spent money on meat alone that’s around $5 a lb. I don’t know any organic meat at that price.

I suggest invest in a huge bag of rice, they last forever. Canned tuna and protein powder get you in your $ per serving of protein range you are looking. Add olive oil or butter or something for fat. frozen veggies are cheap.

or, buy a coffin freezer and buy a half cow. big up front cost, long term savings.


If I were faced with a $60 per week budget, I would probably let go of buying organic. Unless you’re convinced that non-organic is making you vulnerable to Monsanto’s scheme to GMO your brain with their glutens, you could probably eat a whole lot healthier overall without the significant organic mark-up in most stores.

This all depends on what you have access to, I suppose. When I lived in Michigan I could buy really cheap, really great produce and eggs from the local Amish. $5 goes a long way with guys like my man Ezekiel. People who aren’t Amish also farm in some places. YMMV.

I buy mostly organic produce and eggs, much of it in bulk, and it is not an cheap way to eat. All-organic, including meat, gets VERY expensive.

Good luck to you!


Also, if you have access to appropriate weaponry, land and the funds to stay in compliance with the local regulations, you could personally kill much of your protein. This is something I aspire to do, and the thrill of the hunt is known to elicit a significant growth hormone response. I’m talking about hunter gains, brah.

Again thinking back to my time in Michigan, during rifle season I believe the limit was one doe, per person, per day. That’s a lot of venison.

Of course, YMMV. Not everyone has an abundance of deer and Amish farmers in their backyard.


Thanks for the feedback everyone. Yeah you guys are right. A pack of 6 organic chicken breasts from Costco is ~$25 bucks, so to eat ALL organic 21 meals a week, I’m looking at probably ~$100 a week.

I don’t eat beef or pork really, so for protein sources I’m probably going to have to go chicken, fish, goat, lamb and bison. It’s not deer season yet over here in WA, so I can’t get any deals on that currently.

The ONLY thing about eggs that I don’t like is the fact I have to throw away yolks. But a pack of 24 organic large eggs at Costco is $7.

I’m going to have to compromise something that’s for sure!


[quote]isdatnutty wrote:

The ONLY thing about eggs that I don’t like is the fact I have to throw away yolks. [/quote]

Says who?


4-6 eggs every morning for me, INCLUDING the yolk… Unless you have some doctor’s orders, eat away man.

  1. there is no reason to throw away the yolks. You’re throwing away calories and protein! For someone on a budget who’s trying to eat a decent number of calories, why on God’s green earth would you do this?

I think you’re pretty young, so I’ll go easy on you, but quickly: the prevailing belief that egg yolks were bad because CHOLESTEROL! and FAT! is dead. Egg yolks are perfectly healthy (in fact, they’re the most nutritious part of the egg!) and conventional wisdom is FINALLY catching up.


  1. why not beef and pork? If the answer has something to do with fat or how unhealthy “red meat” is, just stop

Also: see my comment above about breasts vs wings. I can get chicken drumsticks at Whole Foods (a notoriously expensive place to buy meat) for $2.29 a pound, and sometimes they’ll be on sale as little as $1.99 a pound.

Let go of the idea that “chicken breast” is the only meat because some article says you should be eating “lean meats.” For one, that’s dumb, and for two, if you’re trying to eat cheap you just don’t have that luxury anyway.

Wings, drumsticks, etc are MUCH cheaper by volume than breasts. Plus, you can save your bones and make delicious broth (every week I make a crock full of broth from all the lovely bones I have leftover).

  1. also, if you can find an ethnic grocer or some other small shops near you, they might surprise you. I can buy a kilo bag of goat meat from this Greek guy across the street for $10. Still not cheap-eating but it’s worth checking into similar options.


I don’t know how on earth any one could justifying paying $25 for 6 measly chicken breast at maybe 6oz a piece maybe lol. I mean your money and life and more power to you and but I would have a $300 a week bill eating that way.


Could you swing ordering a full side of grass feed beef? It’s a hefty investment up front, but over time is usually cheaper. I just ordered a side of beef @ 3.80/lbs.


If the dude is throwing away organic egg yolks, he is a lost cause. I have been eating a minimum of 3 eggs a day for years, usually paired with either bacon or sausage, and 3 weeks ago, my total cholesterol was 149.


[quote]Ecchastang wrote:
If the dude is throwing away organic egg yolks, he is a lost cause.[/quote]

The best food on his list of things he eats is the yolk, and he’s tossing them down the drain. I was going to chime in with a helpful comment, but just don’t see the point now.


Lol, thanks guys for chiming in. A few things:

  1. I NEVER throw away egg yolks, I think you guys misinterpreted what I said. What I meant was when I’ve looked at “food plans” and all that shit everything says 2 whole eggs with 4 egg whites or some crap like that. I’ve always wondered why people would throw away the yolk! I’m not a big fan of eggs, so I just choose to eat meat in the morning as well. But if I don’t have to worry about the yolks, then boom breakfast is solved eating 3-5 hard boiled eggs every morning.

  2. Red meats - I don’t eat beef because I’m Hindu. I grew up eating lots of chicken, seafood, goat, lamb and bison so those are just my preferences. Pork I don’t mind, but I only actually like ribs, which are just a pain to make to eat every week.

  3. Chicken breasts I ABSOLUTELY hate. I’m all about the thighs and drumsticks. Everyone seems to recommend breasts at my Golds Gym, guys that are much bigger and stronger than me, so I figured there was a reason.

  4. You are right about the ethnic stores. I wasn’t even thinking about that. I’m about to try the Asian Market by my house and the Indian store to see what my costs would be for fruits/veggies/meat. I think this might be a better option than Costco without a doubt!

Thanks guys for giving me your honest opinion!

I think how I need to start eating is how guys in other countries eat. By that meaning not worrying about if its lean or fatty or whatever. Just to make sure I have a protein source, veggies, potato/rice/oats, fruit with every meal and I’ll be good.

T-Nation forums members are way more informative than the guys at the forums on bodybuilding dot com. Thank you guys!


Thought perhaps the read meat was a personal belief. No worries on that score, man.

Start buying thighs and drumsticks and wings for sure.

I suspect the ethnic market may be significantly cheaper for some things (could be more expensive for some as well), so that’s on you to decide how to prioritize. But you may be able to get some stuff very cheap there.


So just for advice, what would I need to add/change to this current template I have to stay at my desired intake?

4 Hard boiled eggs
1 Whole large potato
1 Banana w/ Table spoon of Peanut Butter
2 cups of raspberries

4 chicken drumsticks
1 Whole Sweet potato
1 plate of Spinach/kale (raw)
1 Mango

4 chicken drumsticks
1 whole large potato
1 plate of broccoli
2 tangerines


Just called the Indian store by my house. They got the DEALS on goat and drumsticks. Guess I know where I’m shopping lol.


[quote]isdatnutty wrote:
Just called the Indian store by my house. They got the DEALS on goat and drumsticks. Guess I know where I’m shopping lol.[/quote]
Goat is delicious, and I know ActivitiesGuy will agree with that. Didn’t mean to bash you so hard about the yolks, BTW.


[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]isdatnutty wrote:
Just called the Indian store by my house. They got the DEALS on goat and drumsticks. Guess I know where I’m shopping lol.[/quote]
Goat is delicious, and I know ActivitiesGuy will agree with that. [/quote]

Yeah, if you can get goat meat cheap, that might be a good get for you.

The ethnic grocer across the street sells a one-kilogram (2.2 pounds) bag of bone-in goat cubes for $10. I’ll just dump the whole bag into my slow cooker with a couple of chopped potatoes, carrots, parsnips (any cheap root vegetable works) and have a nice goat stew that can last a couple of meals.

I can’t say that I’ve really cooked much creative stuff with goat, specifically. I have never had anything other than the cubed goat meat. I can speak to more creative stuff with lamb and duck, but that may be out of the price range for OP at the moment.

Anyways, OP, if they’ll sell you some goat meat cheap, buy as much as you can afford at once and freeze it. Simply defrost what you need, simmer in a pot with as many chopped root vegetables as you like, some salt, and a shake or two of your favorite seasonings.