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A Cheap Meal Plan

Discussion in 'Nutrition & Supplements' started by etavoa, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. etavoa

    etavoa Active Member

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    I've been working out and eating healthy for some time now, and am starting to see some good results. However, I recently noticed that I'm spending boatloads on food every month. Does anyone have some suggestions for a great meal plan that's also a cheap meal plan?

    I'm thinking a 40/40/20 guide with 2,000 cals / day, as I'm 175lbs.

    The best things I could think of were more canned chicken, canned tuna, oats, bread, some big bags of frozen chicken breast, etc.. Anyone else have any idea or can post their meal plan that is good, but not too expensive?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Here's a post from the past which might help...

    Prices may have increased since this list, and some things might be more expensive in your area, but it's a start. The only thing I might change is to substitute some of the tuna for the salmon which comes in the pouches that is more widely available now (Walmart has it).
     
  3. djfiraga89

    djfiraga89 Active Member

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    As you know, food isn't expensive, otherwise you wouldn't be able to go to Burger king and get a calorific meal for under 5 bucks. What is expensive is GOOD foods, but you can reduce that a little bit:
    Break down your list and see what you are spending most of the money on, and look for alternatives or cheaper brands. If you are not already, shop in BULK (Costco, sam's club), and don't be afraid of store brands.
    Also, does your food include your supplements? B/c i've found it to be expensive as well, if you include those in the total.
     
  4. droopy172

    droopy172 Active Member

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    I thought of it that way to but no matter what its cheaper then eating out. Average meal eating out is 6-10 bucks a day (for a decent healthy meal) factor that in comes out about 200 bucks a month and that would be only for lunch. 200 bucks will cover a month of all my meals.

    Too save on cost I buy a lot of frozen stuff, like instead of fresh broccoli I get frozen broccoli which is like half the price and you get more. Eggs are good, grapefruits or apples as they don't spoil as fast as bananas do. I get generic instant brown rice. Get original flavored oatmeal in the tubs rather then packages. Olive oil lasts for a few months, sweet potatos are cheap, salmon in a can is cheap (2 8oz serving per can), cod is cheap as well. Don't forget you can create meal replacements with your protein shakes.
     
  5. tensdanny

    tensdanny Well-Known Member

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    and sales. I stock up and freeze freezable items whenever I see a sale. Right now I have 15+ pounds of chicken in my freezer, but they were 99 cents a pound for boneless, skinless breasts!
     
  6. AnonIMust

    AnonIMust Well-Known Member

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    Yep, hit the sales. And think about it. 15 pounds of chicken actually will not last that long.

    It would not be unusual to eat a pound a day!
     
  7. mustbesix

    mustbesix Active Member

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    Dried beans. I eat lentils almost every day, and 7 servings are .50 cents.
     
  8. canoscan

    canoscan Well-Known Member

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    Frozen fruit can be good for shakes and stuff, though the tend to be stuff and gross defrosted. I bought a big bag of Loblaw's brand mixed berries today for like 10 bucks. And a slightly smaller bag of frozen strawberries for 5. (canadian prices) Also, frozen vegetables too.
     
  9. Edub05

    Edub05 Active Member

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    How do you prepare them?

    Thanks,

    -Edub
     
  10. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    If you eat healthy, home-cooked meals more often than fast-food or other restaurants, you will save money. I promise.

    The trick is to learn how to shop properly.

    When you buy beef, never look at the total price but instead look at the price per pound. That thick fillet might look good because the total price is only $5, but then compare it's "price per pound" to the top round sitting next to it. You could probably get 3-5 times more top round for the price. No, it doesn't taste as good, but get creative with your spices and it'll be fine.

    Eggs, Egg Beaters, tuna, brown rice, oats, and frozen vegetables are all cheap.

    Ask the butcher at your grocery store if the meats go on sale certain days of the week (some stores do this, some don't). If so, shop on that day.

    Buy your beef when it's on sale. That usually just means it's closer to the "sell by date;" it is still completely fine to eat and you can put it in the freezer when you get home. This might mean you'll be shopping more often, but (unless the store is far away and you're paying a lot for gas) you should save money in the long run. Just hit the grocery store twice a week on the way home from work.

    Get a membership at Costco or Sam's. If your boss is willing to do it, see if he/she will get a business account for the employees.

    If there is a real butcher shop in your area, give it a visit and check out the prices. One near my house has some decent prices and you can pick up all kinds of things that are sometimes hard to find at typical grocery stores.

    Stop drinking soda. Drink more water. It's just about free. If you have trouble with plain old water with meals (I used to) try squeezing some lemon juice in it. Or pick up some Crystal Lite or Sugar Free Kool Aid, though I don't know if they are cheaper than soda or not.

    Buy store-brands. Costco's brand of foods is sometime cheaper than the more well known brands, and everything I have tried of theirs has tasted just as good.

    For your birthday and Christmas, tell your parents to give you a gift card for the grocery store. :) My mom always puts a Publix gift card in my stocking, and I think it's a really awesome present.

    Don't buy bottled water, but instead buy a water filter for your faucet. Buy one or two gallons of water, as the containers will last you several months. When you're done drinking one gallon, simply refill the container from the faucet before you go to bed and put it in the fridge.
     
  11. sumisan

    sumisan Active Member

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    I picked up groceries for my family of 4 for about 400 bucks total for the month... No bells an whistles though.

    I was thinking of tuna the other day and its actually more expensive than chicken! I pay 98 cents for 5 ounces, which works out to $3.14 a lb!! I can get ground turkey (honesuckle white 93% lean) for $1.53 lb and frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts for $2.33 a lb. These are regular wal-mart prices, not sales even!

    Also if you prefer beef on www.hillbillyhousewife.com, they have an article about how to drain and rinse high fat beef. The result is cheaper and had less fat than the lean stuff you pay premium for.

    I agree beans are cheap and buying in bulk! Never buy spices at the grocery store, go to a good health food store with an herb selection, you get fresher tastier herbs and spices for a fraction of the cost. Other things you can get in bulk that save money are grains like rice and oats and also beans and lentils.

    The cheapest place I get nuts and nut butters is by far trader joes. I no longer live near one :( Which is heartbreaking and almost worth the 300 mile drive. In fact check Trader Joes prices on alot of the things you normally buy, generally they have excellent prices.

    :)
     
  12. sumisan

    sumisan Active Member

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    Here is a simple lentil stew but I make sure to get red lentils in bulk as they taste SO much better than the nasty brown things at the grocery store.

    1 cup lentils
    1 cup brown rice
    1 onion, chopped
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 Tb Olive Oil
    1 Bay Leaf

    Heat Oil on medium and saute onion and garlic. Add lentils and brown rice and cook for another minute or so and then add 4 cups water and bay leaf. reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an 45 minutes.

    This came from a Marilu Henner Cookbook and was one of my favorite recipes.
     
  13. mustbesix

    mustbesix Active Member

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    Sorry this is way late but here goes: I take 1 cup chopped carrots, 1 cup chopped celery, and 2 cups chopped onions. I sautee these in 1 TBSP of olive oil. Once everything is soft and browned I rough chop them in a blender with enough water to get the job done(probably 1/2 cup). Then I add 21 oz of grilled chicken breasts(3 oz per serving) with 1 bag of lentil beans. Cook this mixture for about an hour on simmer. Then I have lunch for a week.
     
  14. Nowhereman

    Nowhereman Well-Known Member

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    I also think that eating the same thing with a slight variety makes things cheaper, since you don't have to buy as many items for different recipes.
     
  15. Robert2006

    Robert2006 Active Member

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    Variety can be cheap.

    Buy in season.

    Buy stuff on sale.

    Both will force variety on you. Both will be cheaper.

    For things like tinned tuna that keep stock up when it's on sale.

    I cook my lentils with my rice.

    Add soaked lentils and rice to a pot. Little less water then the total rice and lentils. Spice to taste. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat all the way. Put the lid on. After a bit stir and check how they are going. When the water is all gone it's done. Remember to leave the lid on tight when not checking. Simple. If I've got lefts overs like a roast,chicken etc I'll chop it up and place on the cooking rice.

    I don't like red lentils. They cook too fast and just disappear. Green tastes better to me to.
     

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