Eating extra calories doesn't have to mean spending extra money. Check out these cheap muscle building recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!

Perhaps the only excuse used for not getting in shape as much as the classic “I don’t have time to work out” is the cost of food and supplements and living on a tight budget. The 10 meals below will put an end to that excuse.

Each healthy meal details protein, carbs, and fats, plus the cost per serving. Keep in mind that the information for cost and macros is based on averages. Where you shop and what brands you buy may change the numbers slightly.

Cheap Muscle Building Breakfasts

1. Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt, Oats, Bananas

This makes for a great breakfast when you need to get out the door quick while getting that all-important breakfast in. Just toss in 1 cup of plain greek yogurt, ½ cup of steel cut oats, a banana, 8 oz. of water and blend.

Brawn On A Budget: 10 Cheap Muscle Building Meals - Smoothie


  • Calories: 325
  • Protein: 28g
  • Carbs: 53.5g
  • Fat: 1.5g

Cost per Serving: $1.87

2. Protein Pancakes

To be able to have a great breakfast like this and keep the nutrition on point is truly having your pancake and eating it too. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Blend ¼ cup raw oats, ¼ cup of greek yogurt, ½ scoop of your favorite protein powder (try it with Total Protein), and ½ cup of egg whites into a batter and pour on a griddle. Flip when the edges start turning brown. After the other side is done, add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and get after it.


  • Calories: 423
  • Protein: 41g
  • Carbs: 41g
  • Fat: 14g

Cost per Serving: $1.95

Cheap Muscle Building Lunches

3. Fresh Berry Salad with Chicken Breast

Grill 8 oz. of chicken breast and cut it up into bite size pieces. Place it on a bed of 2 cups of salad greens with 1 cup of mixed berries. Add three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and enjoy.

Brawn On A Budget: 10 Cheap Muscle Building Meals - Chicken & Berry Salad


  • Calories: 342
  • Protein: 41g
  • Carbs: 33g
  • Fat: 2g

Cost per Serving: $2.90

4. Turkey Wraps

One of these will make a great snack and 2 would be a great high protein lunch. Take 4 oz. of cooked turkey and place it on a whole wheat wrap. Add ½ cup of baby spinach and a slice of swiss cheese along with it and you’re good to go. If you want to add a condiment of your choosing, make sure you add those calories to the totals provided.


  • Calories: 252
  • Protein: 30.5g
  • Carbs: 18g
  • Fat: 5.5g

Cost per Serving: $2.31

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Cheap Muscle Building Snacks

5. Tuna Cake Sandwich

Mix a can of tuna (stored in water), one tablespoon of ground flax seed, three tablespoons of egg whites, one tablespoon chopped onion, one tablespoon of chopped parsley, ½ clove garlic, and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a bowl. Form into two patties and place into a frying pan for 6-7 minutes per side. Serve on a whole wheat English Muffin. Add salt, pepper, or more garlic for personal taste.

Macros (for 2 sandwiches):

  • Calories: 335
  • Protein: 40g
  • Carbs: 31g
  • Fat: 5.5g

Cost per Serving (2 sandwiches): $2.60

6. Home Made Protein Bars

With only three ingredients (skim milk, oats, protein powder), this one should be a snap. Take a deep baking dish and cover it with a baking paper. Take ½ cup of oats and blend into a flour. Combine this with three scoops of protein powder in a large bowl. Slowly add ½ cup of skim milk and mix into a thick batter. Transfer this to your baking dish and press into pan firmly. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm. Cut and eat. If you cut it into twelve pieces, four bars will make a serving.

Brawn On A Budget: 10 Cheap Muscle Building Meals - easy protein bars

Macros (for 4 bars):

  • Calories: 325
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: 34.5
  • Fat: 9g

Cost per Serving (4 bars): $4.00

Cheap Muscle Building Dinners

7. Sweet Tater Turkey Burger

Get a large sweet potato and a roll of 97% fat free ground turkey. Combine this with 1 cup of finely cut spinach and your own desired amount of salt and pepper. Divide it into five servings and cook on a skillet with medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Use whatever cooking oil you choose. Serve on a whole wheat burger bun.

Brawn On A Budget: 10 Cheap Muscle Building Meals - Turkey Burger


  • Calories: 305
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: 40g
  • Fat: 3g

Cost per Serving: $2.85

8. Spaghetti & Cottage Cheese Cream Sauce

The ingredients for this will include whole grain spaghetti (6 oz.), 1 cup cottage cheese (curd size is your choice), 1 egg yolk, and ¼ cup lightly packed parmesan cheese. You can add salt or pepper if you like.

Cook spaghetti as described on the label and set it aside. Save some of the pasta water as you’ll need it later. Combine cottage cheese, egg yolk, and cheese in a bowl. Place ¼ cup of the pasta water in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. When it starts boiling, cut the heat in half. Whisk in the cottage cheese combo. Adjust your heat to medium-low and stir until the mixture is smooth and the cheese has melted. Now add the pasta back into the pan. Stir and toss the pasta so it’s coated evenly. Serve with a little extra grated cheese if desired.


  • Calories: 453
  • Protein: 44g
  • Carbs: 41g
  • Fat: 14.25g

Cost per Serving: $2.25

Cheap Muscle Building Desserts

9. Protein Ice Cream

Yep, ice cream. I bet you’re paying attention now, huh?  Coconut milk, protein powder, and fruit are all you need here. For this one, try using Creamy Vanilla Total Protein by Cutler Nutrition and 1 cup of frozen strawberries. The recipe will be for a four serving batch.

Cut up the strawberries to the desired size and throw them into a blender. Add in one quart of coconut milk and one scoop of protein powder per serving. Since this is for four servings, we add four scoops. Blend the ingredients, pour the contents into a bowl or container, and let sit in the freezer to desired consistency.

Brawn On A Budget: 10 Cheap Muscle Building Meals - protein ice cream


  • Calories: 305
  • Protein: 27g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fat: 10.5g

Cost per Serving: $1.96

10. High Protein Gummies

Ready to feel like a kid again? Go get a ½ cup water, a few drops of your choice of flavored candy oil, two heaping tablespoons of stevia powder, and 3 tbsp of unflavored gelatin powder. Add the ingredients to a cold pot. Make sure the gelatin goes in last and is sprinkled over the other ingredients. Let the gelatin soften. Next, turn your heat to medium-low and continuously whisk until the ingredients are dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into your mold of choice. Place the molds into the freezer for 20 minutes. This is one serving.


  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 17.5g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 0g

Cost per Serving: $2.02

Share your Cheap Muscle Meals!

Do you have your own awesome affordable recipes? Share them in the comments section and let us feast on cost efficient gains!

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Roger Lockridge
Posted on: Thu, 07/16/2015 - 09:57

Thanks for sharing my article, M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 23:08

Are the macros for the ice cream for the total 4 servings or are the macros just for 1 serving?

Roger Lockridge
Posted on: Thu, 07/16/2015 - 09:57

Per serving, Kyle.