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10 Muscle-Building Meals for $50

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Your body needs sufficient protein to build muscle and burn fat, but we know what you're thinking—meats and fish are too expensive, right? With the help of the Athletes' Performance chefs, we've assembled 10 protein-packed meals for under $50. Train hard, recover efficiently, and whip up all your meals for the week on the weekend using the recipes and grocery list that follows. You'll eat great, build muscle, and perform like a champ.

The Recipes

  Lunch Dinner
Sun   Seasoned Sirloin Steak
Mon Seasoned Steak Salad Asian Salmon
Tues Chilled Flaked Salmon Turkey Chili
Wed Chili Burrito Honey-Mustard Chicken
Thurs Sliced Chicken Sandwich Leftovers 
Fri BBQ Chicken Sandwich  

Sunday Preparation

Chili: Combine four sliced carrots, 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and one diced onion into a large pot. Set over medium-high heat and stir for two minutes. Add two packages of ground turkey. Break up and cook through until meat is done. Add three seasoning packages, one can of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato puree. Stir in ingredients and turn heat to medium-low. Stir regularly for five to seven minutes, then mix in one can of black beans. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Cool chili in a flat pan and then place it in the refrigerator.

Roasted Vegetables: Wash and cut five carrots and one small red potato. In a bowl, combine vegetables. Toss them with salt, pepper and a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Place on a pan lined with tinfoil and nonstick cooking spray. Place in 450-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool before placing vegetables in the refrigerator.

Grilled Chicken: Preheat grill to medium before prepping chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper or Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on the grill at a 45-degree angle for about two minutes. Turn over and repeat. At this point, chicken is not fully cooked. Finishing touches will be done on the day it's served.

The Grocery List

Make sure you have the staples, and then pick up the items below to complete your recipes. 

  • 1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin steak
  • 1 1/2 lbs. salmon
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1-2 packages of 93% fat-free ground turkey
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 packages frozen vegetables
  • 1 lb. red potatoes
  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 yams
  • Fruit of your choice
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 1 package romaine hearts
  • Wasa/RyKrisp/AkMak crackers
  • High-fiber sandwich bread
  • High-fiber multi-grain tortillas
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • 3 chili seasoning packets
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can black beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container hummus
  • Baked chips
  • Baked Doritos

*Grocery list was priced out at Safeway.com; doesn't include staple items. Special thanks to chefs Karen Bedell and Debbie Martell.

About The Author

Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.

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Tags: Build Muscle, Cooking, Food