5 High Protein Recipes Under $5 (Part 2)

Today’s blog is part 2 of a previous blog that was a HUGE hit, high protein recipes under $5! I’m going to be helping you craft budget-friendly high protein recipes… for UNDER $5! Our last budget-friendly high protein recipe blog is a favorite so I had to give you more! Ready for budget-friendly sources of protein? Let’s get right into it. (When you make these, make sure to let me know how it goes! Tag your recipes #inthekitchenwithNat and @nathaliamelofit on social media.)

I hear time and time again how crazy expensive eating healthy and high protein meals can be! Although we’re in the middle of 2021 already, 2020 gave everyone plenty of financial challenges that many of us are still recovering from. If you are wanting to start or have just started your fitness journey, I don’t want a small budget to be the reason why you don’t eat well and are unable to accomplish your fitness goals.

There are plenty of budget friendly high protein recipes. You just have to know what they are!

Budget-Friendly High Protein Facts

We all know that typically the cost of protein sources vs. the amount of protein needed to maintain optimal daily intake can make you (and your wallet…) cry a bit! 😂

Protein is probably the most important macronutrient and it should be the foundation of all your meals! Whether your fitness goal is to shed a few pounds or to gain lean muscle (tone up). Protein is known as the ‘building blocks’ of the human body. These building blocks are made up of smaller units called amino acids. These amino acids are used to build and repair muscles and bones in your body as well as to make enzymes and hormones. Another important factor is that protein can also be used as an energy source through a process called gluconeogenesis, although it is not it’s primary function nor the most optimal way to generate energy for the body.

We hear over and over from famous IG Fitness models to nutritionists, dietitians, bodybuilders, athletes, blogs, websites that eating protein is SO important but then also throw out that protein is the most expensive while on a fitness journey! It can become very discouraging to worry about the cost of protein while working on your goals. Not only are you adapting to this new lifestyle, but now you have to spend HOW MUCH?! Just for lean protein meals…. 

The GOOD NEWS is that that is only partially correct! Yes, if you go out and buy a 16oz Sirloin… you will most definitely feel that ding in your wallet.

5 High Protein Recipes Under $5

To successfully eat a high-protein meal on a budget, you need to become strategic. You can buy plenty of good quality high protein that won’t hurt your budget. All you need is the right ingredients for a delicious, budget-friendly meal/snack & you’ve come to the right place! 

It is a protein-rich world and you’ve only scratched the surface with your typical proteins (steaks, eggs, chickens, etc.) So let’s dive into part two of these high protein recipes, all under $5!

High Protein Recipes under $5: Breakfast

Peanut Butter & Berry Oatmeal

High protein recipes under $5 - peanut butter oatmeal with berries

Servings per recipe: 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dry oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup milk*
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raspberries

*can also use soy milk to maintain high protein content while avoiding dairy

Instructions:

  1. Bring milk to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add oats. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and place in bowl.
  4. Stir in peanut butter and fold in raspberries.

Nutrition info for recipe: 348 calories, 14 grams protein, 7 grams fiber 

Nutrition info for dairy-free version: 315 calories, 14 grams protein, 7 grams fiber 

Estimated cost/serving: 

  • $0.09/ 2 tablespoons peanut butter / 2 = $0.045
  • $1.49/ 2 ounces fresh raspberries
  • $0.14 for ½ cup dry oatmeal (1.49 ounces)
  • $0.03/ fluid ounce X 2/3 cup milk = $0.16

$1.88 

High Protein Recipes under $5: Lunch

Taco Bowl with Brown Rice & Ground Turkey

A taco bowl with ground turkey and brown rice

Servings per recipe: 1

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup steamed brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup tomato salsa

Optional: 2 tablespoons mashed avocado (does not add a significant source of protein)

Optional: shredded lettuce of your preference

Instructions:

    1. Depending on your preferred cooking method, either start cooking dry brown rice in rice steamer about 30 minutes before you plan on eating, or make ahead of time (1 cup dry rice for every 10 fluid ounces of water; makes about 3 cups of rice). Or, if you’re looking for convenience, purchase steam-friendly in the bag rice; cook in the microwave for about 5 minutes while turkey is cooking.
    2. Preheat nonstick pan over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray if desired. 
    3. Cook ground turkey, stirring often, for about 7 to 10 minutes, until turkey is browned. Remove from heat.
    4. Measure out rice and place in bowl first. Then add in measured portions of ground turkey and top with salsa and shredded cheese.
    5. Top with avocado or other veggies as preferred.

Nutrition info for recipe: 380 calories, 32 grams protein, 3 grams fiber 

Nutrition info for vegan recipe (dairy-free cheese + ground soy protein): 252 calories, 19 g protein, 3 g fiber

  • Estimated cost/serving: 
  • $0.31/ ounce 93% lean ground turkey X 4 = $1.24
  • $0.25/ounce (2 tablespoons) shredded cheddar cheese
  • $0.20/ fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) tomato salsa
  • $0.15/ounce Steam-in-bag brown rice X 4.4 ounces rice in ½ cup = $0.66 (*$0.07 for dry rice equivalent)

$2.35 ($1.76 if dry rice used to prepare dish)

High Protein Recipes under $5: Dinner

Lemon Pepper Baked Cod with Sautéed Spinach

An image of cod and lemon on a white plate

Servings per recipe: 1

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cod
  • 10 ounces raw baby spinach (1 cup cooked) (*or frozen spinach if preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Nonstick cooking spray

*Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Prepare cooking sheet with aluminum foil and spray pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place cod on pan. 
  3. Bake cod for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork.
  4. While cod is cooking, bring a medium-sized pan over medium heat and coat with olive oil.
  5. Add raw spinach to pan and toss for about a minute before adding cover to pan and cooking for an additional 2 minutes or so until wilted.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Place cooked spinach on plate with butter, then top with baked cod. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon wedge over fish, if preferred.

Nutrition info for recipe: 473 calories, 47 grams protein, 7 grams fiber 

Estimated cost/serving: 

  • $0.50/ounce cod X 6 ounces = $3.00
  • $0.56/ounce fresh raw baby spinach leaves X 4 = $2.24
  • $0.35/ fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) olive oil /2 = $0.17
  • $0.14/ tablespoon unsalted butter

$5.55 (save $1.68 if using frozen whole leaf spinach instead)

Dinner:

Baked Skinless Chicken Thighs with Roasted Carrots

Boneless Chicken and Carrots for high protein recipes under $5

Servings per recipe: 1

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces skinless, boneless fresh or thawed chicken thighs
  • 6 ounces fresh carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Prepare cooking sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken rubbed with seasoning on the pan.
    3. Wash and peel carrots. Slice each carrot lengthwise in half. Coat carrots in olive oil along with salt and pepper to taste. Place carrots on same pan as chicken. 
    4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until chicken is at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and until carrots are tender.
    5. Remove from heat and enjoy

Nutrition info for recipe: 384 calories, 29 grams protein, 4.2 grams fiber

Estimated cost/serving: 

  • $0.22/ounce skinless boneless chicken thighs X 6 = $1.32
  • $0.15/teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning
  • $0.35/ fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) olive oil /2 = $0.17
  • ~$0.06/ounce fresh carrots X 6 = $0.36

$2.00 (not counting nonstick cooking spray)

High Protein Recipes under $5: Meatless Meal

Pan-Fried Tofu with Steamed Broccoli

High protein recipes under $5 - Tofu & Broccoli

Servings per recipe: 1

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces chopped raw broccoli florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

    1. Pat tofu dry with a paper towel. Dice tofu into cubes of preferred size.
    2. Coat medium-sized pan with olive oil. Place tofu in pan. Turn stovetop to medium-high heat.
    3. Cook tofu for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
    4. Flip tofu over with chopsticks or tongs. Cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
    5. While tofu is cooking, boil 2 cups of water in medium-sized pot with a steamer basket on top. 
    6. Place washed and chopped broccoli in steamer basket. Place cover on steamer basket and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until broccoli is tender. 
    7. Top broccoli with vegan butter and season tofu and broccoli as desired with your favorite herbs and spices. 

Nutrition info for 1 serving of recipe: 490 calories, 26 grams protein, ~6 grams fiber

Estimated cost/serving: 

  • $0.19/ounce extra firm tofu X 8 ounces = $1.52
  • $0.21/ounce raw broccoli X 6 ounces
  • $0.35/ fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) olive oil /2 = $0.17
  • $0.27/ ounce vegan butter / 2 = $0.135

$2.03


An extra tip that I have been doing for a few years now is that to save money grocery shopping, I pick a few days during the week to consume just budget-friendly high protein recipes. I experiment with new recipes, try my own concoction by trying different seasonings, and preparing my proteins in different ways. 

If you missed Part 1, Delicious and Budget-Friendly High Protein Recipes (All for Under $5!), CLICK HERE!

Let me know if you find inspiration for your own recipe by tagging me on IG @nathaliamelofit!

P.S. Are you ready to get Super Shredded this Summer?? Then come join the 5 Week Super Shred Challenge For a limited time only you can join at the Early Bird pricing!! Hurry and reserve your spot so you can start transforming your body so you can feel more confident and sexy AF this Summer! JOIN NOW.

Let’s spread the word about these amazing recipes! Share this post to Pinterest. It’s the easiest way to save it for later (you know, when you’re scrolling while wandering through the grocery store… wondering what on EARTH you’re going to make for dinner…). Plus it’s the perfect way to help other mamas high protein recipes, all under $5! (Follow me @nathaliamelofit) for more!