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Epic $75 Meal Prep 2016

About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.

Another year, another epic $75 Meal Prep video challenge!  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my journey is the importance of being prepared. We’ve heard it time and time again, if we “fail to plan, we plan to fail.” But the good news is there’s #mealprep whereby we prepare several meals or snacks (or food) in advance so that we always have a healthier alternative readily available to us!

This grocery challenge is all about showing how easy it is meal prep AND how we can do so on a limited/set budget.  While $75 may seem like a lot of money to many people, think about how much money you spend weekly just for lunch.  The average lunch spend is about $9; multiply that by 5 days (work week) and you’re already spending over half of the $75 and we haven’t even addressed breakfast, dinner or those frequent $2 and $3 snacks. By the end of a week, you’ve likely spent close to $100. Ask yourself – how much of that food is nourishing your body to push you closer to your goals?

But no worries! Got you covered. Let’s “ball on a budget!” Here are 5 meals for 5 days for $75!

Couple of things before we get started:

  • This challenge is about buying as many FRESH ingredients as possible.
  • Condiments, seasonings, sauces and oils are not included in the budget since they tend to last beyond a week so you’ll need to purchase those separately.
  • I recommend storing 3 days worth of meals in your refrigerator and storing the rest in the freezer. The day before you are going to eat your meals, defrost them in the fridge – do not use the microwave to defrost and heat up your meal.
  • Watch my How-To Meal Prep video to answer more of your questions on meal prepping.
  • DO NOT freeze fresh vegetables or fruit (unless you’re making a smoothie).
  • Remember the caloric benefit of adding an isolate whey protein shake to your diet to boost calories, protein and supplement the real food in your diet.

 

kroger logoHUGE THANKS to my friends at Kroger! They made it extremely easy to make this video so I had a very enjoyable (and affordable) shopping experience.  If there’s not a Kroger close to where you live, check for one of its affiliate stores here (at the bottom of the page).  Remember I live in Texas, so prices may vary depending on where you live around the nation (or globe).


 SHOPPING LIST:

75 meal prep kroger

 

PROTEIN / DAIRY

  • 24oz 85% lean ground bison
    • Substitute: lean ground beef
  • 2lb wild-caught cod
  • 1 3/4lb chicken breast
  • 16oz 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 cartons 2% cottage cheese carton
  • 1 bag shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 carton of dozen eggs

 

FRESH PRODUCE

  • 1 bundle fresh spinach
  •  1.8lb (816g) broccoli crowns
  • medium purple cabbage (~1.7lb)
  • 3 Haas avocados
  • 6 Poblano peppers (~1.3lb)
    • Substitute: bell peppers
  • 1.7lb (771g) red potatoes
  • 3 red apples
  • 2 green Granny Smith apples
  • celery
  • green onion

 

OTHER

  • Long grain brown rice
  • 1 package medium-sized whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 can (15oz) no salt added black beans
  • 1 can (15oz) golden corn
  • 1 jar crunchy (or creamy) organic peanut butter
  • 1 small can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo

TOTAL SPEND: 74.36

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1 Breakfast: Egg, Turkey & Cheese Tortilla with Avocado

Ingredients

For 5 servings:

  • 10 eggs
  • 1lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • 2 1/2 avocados (optional)
  • 5 whole wheat tortillas
Steps
  1. Spray a skillet with olive oil and set the skillet on medium high heat. Toss in all of the ground meat. Chop up the meat with a spatula and cook until there are no longer pink pieces and all of the meat is cooked. Once it is cooked, store it in an airtight container and measure out a portion of ground turkey each morning.
  2. Each morning you will make this meal fresh. Spray a skillet with olive oil and set the skillet on medium high heat. Toss in a portion/serving of cooked ground turkey and allow it to heat up.
  3. Add 2 eggs (or egg whites) to the turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your desired readiness (note: I recommend fully cooking the egg white portion). You can also toss in about 1/4 cup mozzarella as well.
  4. Add Dijon mustard to a tortilla, then toss in raw spinach, and then the eggs and turkey mixture. Roll it up!
  5. Enjoy the breakfast with half an avocado. Remember you can also add the avocado to the tortilla to make it heartier!

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings WITHOUT avocado

Available in the FitMenCook app

Open this recipe in the FitMenCook app to add the ingredients to your shopping list, scale the recipe and track your calories. Enjoy!

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Calories
500
Protein
43g
Fat
23g
Carbs
24g
Sodium
-
Fiber
3g
Sugar
2g
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Meal 2: Honey Mustard Chicken with Long Grain Brown Rice

Ingredients

For 5 servings:

  • 3 3/4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 3/4 lb (794g) chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard (you can add more according to your preferences)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (or Bragg Liquid Aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (paste or minced)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Steps
  1. Spray the inside of a slow cooker with olive oil and then toss in the chicken breasts.
  2. Then, toss in low sodium soy sauce, honey, Dijon, garlic and a little cayenne for some heat.
  3. Stir it up and then add the chicken breasts.
  4. Add the top to the slow cooker, then cook on high for 3 or 4 hours.
  5. Add brown rice & water to a rice cooker (or a small pot) and let it cook for about 25 minutes.
  6. When the chicken breasts have nearly finished cooking (about 1 hour left of cooking), remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker, place them in a bowl, and pull them apart using forks. Once you have shredded the chicken, place the chicken back into the slow cooker, mix it in with the sauce and continue cooking for the remainder of the time.
  7. Once the chicken has finished cooking, build your meal. Add 3/4-cup brown rice to a meal prep container and top with shredded chicken.
Calories
286
Protein
37g
Fat
2g
Carbs
24g
Sodium
-
Fiber
1g
Sugar
17g
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Meal 3: Bison-stuffed Poblano Peppers with Sautéed Purple Cabbage

Ingredients

For 5 servings:

  • 24oz (680g) lean ground bison
  • 5 to 6 poblano peppers
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup no salt added black beans
  • 3/4 cup golden corn
  • 1/2 cup no salt tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • Cabbage
    • ~8 cups shredded purple cabbage
    • 1 tablespoon garlic (paste or minced)
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
    • spray olive oil
Steps
  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Skim the top off a poblano pepper, carve out the inside using a knife or “grapefruit spoon,” and remove the stem and seeds. Repeat for the remaining peppers.
  3. Chop the canned chipotle peppers into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together bison, black beans, corn, chipotle peppers, tomato sauce, cumin and green onion.
  5. Evenly divide and stuff the meat mixture into the poblano peppers.
  6. Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for the peppers for 30 minutes in the oven. Once the peppers have finished baking, remove the foil, and if desired, top each pepper with about 1/4 cup mozzarella, then place the foil back on top and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes to melt the cheese.
  8. While the peppers are baking in the oven, prepare the cabbage by chopping it up so it becomes shredded.
  9. Set a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat and spray it with olive oil. Once the skillet is hot, toss in the garlic and cabbage. Cook the cabbage until it begins to soften, about 6 minutes. Continually stir and flip the cabbage using a spatula so it does not burn in the skillet. You still want a little bit of crunch in the cabbage so don’t over cook them.
  10. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  11. Build the meal by adding sautéed cabbage to a meal prep container and then placing a stuffed poblano pepper on top.
Calories
472
Protein
37g
Fat
26g
Carbs
27g
Sodium
-
Fiber
6g
Sugar
6g
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Snack/Meal 4: Cottage Cheese, Peanut Butter, Apple, Celery

Ingredients

For 5 servings:

  • 2 1/2 cups 2% cottage cheese
  • 10 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 small apples
  • 5 celery stalks
  • cinnamon to taste (on peanut butter)

Note: remember to only cut the apple at mealtime or the day you plan to eat it.

Steps
Calories
340
Protein
18g
Fat
18g
Carbs
25g
Sodium
-
Fiber
4g
Sugar
17g
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Meal 5: Spicy Cod, Roasted Potatoes & Broccoli

Ingredients

For 5 servings:

  • 2lb (907g) wild-caught cod
  •  1.8lb (816g) broccoli crowns
  •  1.7lb (771g) red potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • pinches of sea salt & pepper
  • spray olive oil
Steps
  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Prep the vegetables by chopping the potatoes and broccoli into chunks.
  3. Place the vegetables on a nonstick baking sheet (or parchment paper or aluminum foil) and spray with olive oil. Add a few pinches of sea salt and pepper and mix the veggies together using your hands to ensure each piece is coated.
  4. Roast the veggies in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes have softened and the edges of the broccoli have turned brown.
  5. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the cod. Rub the cod with olive oil, smoked paprika, sea salt & pepper (and a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want a little heat).
  6. Place the cod on a nonstick baking sheet and bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes; ensuring the cod flesh has turned white.
  7. Prepare the meal by adding a portion of roasted vegetables to a container and then a few pieces of cod fillet.
Calories
300
Protein
32g
Fat
4g
Carbs
32g
Sodium
-
Fiber
4g
Sugar
3g
About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.