Here is how to make a cheap 225 calorie individual balanced meal packet (like your own Lean Cuisine or Budget Gourmet or Weight Watchers) but far more customizable..
Buy chicken breasts in bulk. [the frozen skinless, boneless breasts go for about $7 for 2 lbs at Publix – Sam’s Club/Costco is probably cheaper]
Buy Broccolli in bulk [get the florets – they are tastier, unless you don’t mind the stems] – about 4 lbs
Buy 2 lbs of Basmati Rice (about $2-3)
Buy a package of 1 pint Freezer bags (you can use sandwhich bags too but they don’t take the heat– make sure they “zip” like ziploc otherwise you may get freezer burn]
When you get home:
Cook the chicken in the most basic way possible. You can steam it, you can roast it in the oven (use as little fat as possible), you can microwave it, you can use a pressure cooker (that’s what I do).
You can marinate it to give it a jolt with some kind of acid like lemon juice or vinegar or soy sauce – just watch your marinade’s contents for too much salt, sugar, fat, etc — you can add those later – just read on)
The broccolli you can leave as is for the moment.
The rice can be cooked on the stove or microwave. For more flavor you can use a liquid other than water – like chicken broth — but Basmati Rice has such a wonderful aroma that it doesn’t need anything extra – trust me on this.
Let the rice and chicken cool. [I’m impatient and don’t let the rice cool all of the way and it works out fine too – but if you do that, make sure you have good ziploc bags so they don’t melt!]
1/4 cup Chicken (1 1/2 oz if using a food scale)
1/2 cup Basmati Rice
1 cup Broccolli.
Put all three ingredients into the baggie. zip it almost all of the way shut then SQUEEZE out the excess air, and finish closing it.
Store in freezer – you can store in fridge just make sure you don’t leave them in the fridge for months and months – freezing just keeps things fresher longer.
When you’re ready to eat one, dump it in a bowl — it’s a lot of food so watch out you don’t use a tiny bowl — and now the fun begins!
Put Salsa on top for a low calorie, cheap flavor. Any salsa will do.
Salad Dressing – just watch the hidden calories there.
Balsamic vinegar (my favorite)
Garlic/garlic powder. Onions, peppers, mustard – soy sauce, ginger, hot sauce — whatever appeals to your tastebuds. Salt/Pepper/Low-cal butter substitute is an all time favorite too.
Put in microwave for about 3-5 minutes. You’ll know its done if you can smell it cooking. Since no cooking is involved (just “heating up”), it’s safe.
You can also throw it in a wok / pan / pot – wherever you enjoy cooking.
The nutrution information:
17 G Protein (from the chicken / broccolli / rice )
33 G Carbohydrates (from the rice + broccolli)
1 G Fat (from the chicken breast)
Lots of vitamin C too. Basmati Rice also has a low Glycemic Index (GI) if you’re into that.
Total Cost: Less than 50 cents ($0.50) per meal.