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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 25, 2009

Contest: The $5.99 Primal Value Meal

By Mark Sisson
49 Comments

The Prize:

A yoga mat! Yoga is more than just exercise, it’s also a great way to relieve stress. And in the case of today’s prize, a great way to save the environment. Jade Yoga, today’s prize donor, is partnered with Trees for the Future to plant a tree for every mat they sell. Jade Yoga recently provided mats to the White House for children’s yoga on Easter Monday, and today they’re providing a professional natural rubber yoga mat in any choice of color to the contest winner.

The Contest:

Fast food value meals are such a farce. They certainly aren’t talking about nutritional value. And as for economical value, you pay $5.99 for a burger, fries, and soda that you would have paid $6.09 for if you’d bought them individually. If saving a dime on 2500 calories of sugar and trans fat is your idea of value, then you’re probably not the type of person who wants to win a yoga mat.

So, what does a Primal value meal look like? You tell me. For today’s contest I want you to create a Primal “fast food” meal in which all the ingredients can be purchased for $5.99 or less. That is, the recipe needs to be inexpensive and easy to eat on-the-go. Leave your recipe as a comment on this post.

Examples:

I’m looking for cheap recipes that satisfy this reader’s question. I offered up a few options. Now see what you can come up with!

Eligibility:

This prize is only available to residents of the 48 contiguous states. [If you don’t live in the U.S. and you win I’ll ship you a bottle of my Master Formula instead, and the mat will go to an alternate winner.]

The Contest End Time:

Midnight, tonight (August 25th)!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

Executive decision. I’ll pick a favorite. That’s the winner.

To track all the contests visit The Primal Blueprint Health Challenge Contest Page for daily updates.

Visit The Primal Blueprint Health Challenge for challenge details.

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49 Comments on "Contest: The $5.99 Primal Value Meal"

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PrimalJewishAmericanPrincess
PrimalJewishAmericanPrincess
7 years 1 month ago
$5.99 for one meal. I will do you one better. $5.99 for breakfast all week. Ingredients: A dozen eggs ($2.00) A bag of frozen broccoli or other veg ($1.00) A stick of butter or 1 cup of heavy cream (.75) Meat, your choice, chicken, ham, bacon ( A pound of bacon is $2.25) Whip up those eggs and stir in everything else (you gotta melt that butter first if you use it). Pour into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for about an hour (keep an eye on it, sometimes it takes longer). Let it cool, cut into individual… Read more »
crunchysue
crunchysue
7 years 1 month ago

Are you actually getting organic free-range eggs, meat and butter at those prices? Where I live (Portland, OR) you could only get factory farmed animal products so cheaply.

Danorsong
Danorsong
5 years 10 months ago

I’m in Lancaster County PA and we have a farmers market where a dozen cage free eggs is $2 but we are a large farming county so it makes sense. The cream is a $1.5 but it’s for a quart, and yes organic grass-fed no hormone dairy. The meat is more that I’ll grant you. Chicken out here is the cheapest and it’s $3.5 for the good stuff.

Jeff Witt
5 years 2 months ago

This sounds great! Going to make this Sunday for my breakfast’s next week! Thanks for the great idea.

Julian
4 years 6 months ago

I tried this recipe and I was blown away!!! This loaf rocks! I made it and Mark’s Primal Meatloaf, and my family is set for breakfast and lunch all week>

Ryan
Ryan
7 years 1 month ago

An actual fast food value meal: Go to subway and make any of their subs a salad! They cost 5.50 where I am from and will fill you up if you chose all the veggies on the menu in addition to a meat. Perfect for someone who doesn’t have time to make their day’s meal

Angelo
Angelo
6 years 5 months ago

Thanks for the tip, hope the Dutch Subways do that too!

Grok
7 years 1 month ago
My Fred Meyer store (maybe Safeway) sells whole rotisserie chickens for $5.98. Ready to eat. Not free range, but will make a couple meals for most people. Just find a plain one, I’m sure some of the flavors are just coated in HFCS. If you live in the country this time of year, enjoy natures happy meal! 1.) Buy a box of .22lr ammo for $1.40 and go rabbit & grouse hunting. 2.) Pick lots of berries along the way There’s a good chance you’ll find apple and hazelnut trees too. 3.) This kills two birds with one stone, as… Read more »
Ryan Robitaille
7 years 1 month ago

Or better yet just go literally “kill two birds with one stone” – stones are like natures ammunition, and completely free! 😉

(har har, I couldn’t help it)

Grok
7 years 1 month ago

Start practicing, I’ve tried! 😉 Done some clubbing too.

Primal Grok was a hardcore dude! It takes a mean whack usually followed by a tackle to get the job done.

Byung
Byung
7 years 1 month ago
My recipe is only for those that like broccoli, which I adore. Ingredients 1. Frozen Bag of Broccoli (1.50) – Broccoli is a very well rounded food. It is very high in vitamins C, A and K, antioxidants and it is high in fiber! Eating fresh broccoli from the farmers market will be great but let’s be honest now, if you are replacing a fast food meal chances are you never made it to the farmers market. The benefit of the frozen broccoli is that it won’t go bad for a very long time so if your freezer is stocked… Read more »
Katie V
Katie V
7 years 1 month ago

(I am defining fast food as grab-and-go when you’re away from a kitchen food)

Chickfila: $5.39 for a chargrilled chicken salad (there are a few variations)

Smoothie King: $5.28 for a 32oz Gladiator Smoothie (45g protein, 1.5g carbs + whatever carbs are in the two fruits you choose – I suggest berries)

Grocery Store: ~$4 for a pack of tuna (the rip open and eat kind) & a veggie or piece of fruit

Jason’s Deli: $5.99 Chicken Ceaser Salad (and for another $1 you have a few more salad choices)

PEKK
PEKK
5 years 11 months ago

That chargrilled chicken salad from Chickfila – along with the rest of their food is filled with sodium and preservatives. I would seriously think about skipping fast food – it isn’t food. What they pack and fill that food with isn’t primal.

Christian Chun
Christian Chun
7 years 1 month ago
Spicy Tuna Nori Hand Rolls 1 Sheet of Nori (50 cents) Can of Tuna Fish ($3) 1/4 Cucumber (50 cents) 1/4 Avocado (50 cents) 1 Tbsp Mayo splash of tabasco 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper This will yield you two pieces of hand rolls. Cut 1 sheet of nori sushi seaweed into halves. Mix Tuna fish, mayo, tabasco, salt, pepper. cut up cucumber into strips cut up avacado into slices For the assembly: Lay the nori flat place tuna fish onto the first quarter of the Nori along with slices of avacado and cucumber. Then take the bottom corner… Read more »
Aaron Blaisdell
7 years 1 month ago

Buy a double-double hamburger from Inn-n-Out protein style (bunless and wrapped in lettuce) with raw onions and no sauce.

Eat with some organic berries and roasted nuts on the side and a glass of water to quench your thirst.

Alternatively, lately I’ve taken to having ham and cheese roll-ups wrapped in lettuce with a little mustard slathered on it.

Madame P
Madame P
7 years 1 month ago
Turkey Roll-ups Portable, cheap, and easy to customize! Makes 4 Roll-ups Ingredients: 3/4 pound cooked Turkey, shredded or sliced ($3) 1 Avocado ($2) 1/2 Lemon (.25) 4 Leaves of Raw Green Cabbage (.49) 1. Mash the avocado with the lemon juice. 2. Divide the turkey into four portions and spread 1-2 inches from the leafy edge of each piece of cabbage 3. Spoon the avocado spread on or near the turkey 4. Wrap the leafy edge of cabbage around the turkey and avocado and roll up the leaf, firmly but not too tightly. 5. To maintain the roll-up, fold over… Read more »
DebFM
7 years 1 month ago
Here’s what I recently took with me for a breakfast & lunch at a conference. The jerky and nuts can both be dried in the oven. Breakfast: 6 – 7 pieces of homemade jerky made from flank steak 1/4 cup crispy nuts (made according to Nourishing Traditions) 1 apple Cost: $3 for the amount of flank steak I actually ate; $1 for nuts; $1 for farmstand apple: $5 total Lunch: 3/4 cup curried chicken salad with grape halves & cilantro on apple slices I ate the salad on the apple slices (mostly because I forgot a fork!). Use left over… Read more »
Elana
Elana
7 years 1 month ago
I like just about everything wrapped up in a huge leaf of romaine lettuce. I like to pre-cook a bunch of meatballs (ground chicken, beef, or whatever kind of meat you like). All you need is meat and whatever kind of seasoning you like. I also like to add some minced veggies like sweet bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, onion, etc. to the mix…even fruit on occasion (ground pork and minced granny smith apple is nice). Just throw a bunch of meatballs inside the lettuce and you’ve got a satisfying meal that doesn’t even get your hands messy. I like them… Read more »
joe s
joe s
7 years 1 month ago
Some Ive enjoyed in the past. An apple (the original fast food) with almond butter Celery with almond butter and raisins Hard boiled eggs and beef or venison jerky (Can’t get bacon without Nitrates where i live) Local Chinese restaurant has a sushi bar with $4.99 Sushi plate (I like the eel) with green tea $0.99 $5.98 whew.. I dont think Grok had to tip a waitress…if so it may have been with animal skins or arrow points :>) Venison or calf’s liver sauteed in olive oil and butter with onions. And the most Grok like…take a lunch time or… Read more »
Geoff
Geoff
7 years 1 month ago

Can of sardines in tomato sauce (make sure it’s just tomato paste, water, and seasonings w/o soybean oil) – should run you about $3 give or take.

snack size bag of carrots – about $1

reasonable piece of fresh fruit – about $1

All told you’re under $6 for this meal and full when you’re finished. Just don’t cut your hand on the sardine can.

BestSelf
BestSelf
7 years 1 month ago

Here are various options:

– can of sardines; fresh veggie sticks (zuke,cuke,celery,jicama, etc)

– thin sliced roast beef (you can buy at grocery store deli counter or make your own ahead of time) rolled around avocado sections and optional cuke sticks

– hardboiled eggs, fresh veggies and/or fruit in a baggie or tupperware

– leftover cold chicken drumsticks

– canned salmon mixed w/avocado

Bon Appetit!

Girlwithnoname (Jackie)
7 years 1 month ago

Healthy Pancakes

equal parts of (ie. 1 cup/1 cup/1 cup – I use 1/2 cup of each)

uncooked oatmeal (a few cents)
eggs (2 eggs = 1/2 cup) $1.00 max
non fat cottage cheese $1.00 max

blend to a paste.

fry like regular pancakes in a non-stick pan

top with a dollop of allfruit spread or jam ($0.25)

jazz it up by adding in 1/2 banana chunks (.25 max) & some raw walnut bits before frying (1.00 max)

well under 5.99 and well under 500 calories (assuming you’re doing the 1/2 cup measurements), tasty and filling! 🙂

cheers
GWNN

Cara
Cara
7 years 1 month ago

My $5.99 fairly fast food lunch:

Red curry shrimp and veg:

$1.50 – bag of mixed vegetables
$.89 – coconut milk
$.50 – 2 tbsp of a pouch of red curry
$2.00 – handful of shrimp from a frozen pack

Heat the coconut milk on the stove for a few minutes, then add in the red curry and stir. Toss in the vegetables and cook on high 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 2 more. DONE! All in under 10 mins.

Laurel
Laurel
7 years 1 month ago

My favorite work snack to eat at my desk:

1 C Fage 2% Greek Yogurt ($4 for 2 cups at Trader Joe’s)
A piece of seasonal organic fruit (right now peaches are in season, 1 peach is about $1)
a sprinkling of pecan pieces (organic pecans are expensive, about $1 an ounce)

Adds up to about $4 per service

hannahc
hannahc
7 years 1 month ago

My “no time to pack my lunch” lunch:

3 hard boiled eggs ~ $1.80
2 stalks celery with Almond butter ~ $0.50

Not as good as some delicious rib-eye steak leftovers, but it’ll do in a pinch!

BarbeyGirl
7 years 1 month ago

Primal Lunch in a Box

Mix in a 1-quart container:

5 cups raw baby spinach / mixed greens ($1)
1 cup chopped raw veggies of choice ($.50)
1/2 avocado ($.50)
2 hardboiled eggs ($.50)
1 can wild salmon ($1.50)

Add a little container of homemade dressing ($.50)

Remember a fork.

Voila! Quick, easy, filling and healthful lunch for $4.50. (Actually, this is my standard take-it-to-the-office breakfast.) 🙂

crunchysue
crunchysue
7 years 1 month ago

Here’s my idea for a completely primal fast food lunch. And by “completely primal” I mean made of organic, free range, grass fed meat & veggies.

[b]Kohlrabi Sandwich[/b]

[i]1/3 lb. organic free range meat sliced thin
2 kohlrabis[/i]

Slice the meat very thin.
Slice the kohlrabis into quarter-inch rounds.
Make sandwiches.

[b]Cost[/b]
Free range organic meat @ $11/lb: $3.30
Kohlrabi @ $1 each: $2.00
[i]Total: [/i] $5.50

crunchysue
crunchysue
7 years 1 month ago

Well, shoot, I see that the BBCode doesn’t work here, and I can’t edit my comment. Sorry!

Also, here’s a link to a picture of a Kohlrabi Sandwich: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtrasue/3856111941

Debs
7 years 1 month ago

Make a stew of your favorite inexpensive, fatty white fish (sustainable/wild/low contaminants) with coconut milk, lime juice, coconut oil, tomato, cilantro, and cauliflower. The price varies depending on how expensive the fish you use is, but the fish is usually about $5-$10/pound. I made a version here: http://www.gofrolic.org/gofrolic/food_blog/Entries/2008/4/9_simply_delicious%3A_stew_of_halibut%2C_coconut_and_tomato.html with more expensive halibut. The recipe used 3/4 lb of fish to feed two people. With the minimally-priced vegetables and buying coconut milk at an Asian market where it’s cheaper, you could easily do it for under six dollars.

Girlwithnoname (Jackie)
7 years 1 month ago

OH! I gotta add to my pancake recipe: try blending in some natural peanut butter (not too much it gets stuck in the blades, like about a tablespoon) to make your pancakes taste just like peanut butter cookies!! LOL. mm mm!!!!

(so what’s that? add another dollar max? still under $5.99!! haha)

🙂

Raphael
Raphael
7 years 1 month ago

Not really a recipe, but a nice little meal:

1 can of tuna (1.50$)
1 bag of baby spinach(1.99$)
1 bag of baby carrots (1.00$)
1 half pint of milk (1.00$)
1 bag of sunflower seeds (0.50$)

Very similar to what I had today!

Iceskater
Iceskater
7 years 1 month ago

My grab and go’s:

-1 Avocado (1.00)
-Raw almonds (can be conveniently storebought or from home) ($1.00)
head over to grocery store and grab
-chicken/egg salad ($3.99)
or, if low-carbin it,
-preroasted chicken (3.99)

Doable in one trip to the grocery 🙂

Wendy1
Wendy1
7 years 1 month ago
Spinach “crepes” Mix to combine for a thin omelette/crepe: Two organic eggs – about $.45 Pureed spinach (I keep some in the freezer in cubes) – $.30 or so? Dash of cream (optional. $.15?) Salt and pepper to taste Spices if desired (oregano and/or cumin would be good for a few extra cents.) Pour the egg mixture into a greased pan (can thin it out with a bit of water or cream if needed), in batches, to make a thin omelette/crepe. Can be rolled up and eaten just like this for maximum portability. Or, if you’re at home, before you… Read more »
Autumn
Autumn
7 years 1 month ago
I’ve got two — one for a fast food chain (Chipotle) and one you can bring from home or buy in the grocery store. both are easy and quick and $5.99 or less. For the fast food one I must give credit to my sister’s boyfriend, as he is the one that introduced me to this cost saving, primal way of eating at Chipotle: Order a side of barbacoa and chicken (double meat), and a side of guacamole. Three sides in a bowl, nothing else — no rice, no salsa, no lettuce, etc. If it has any of those other… Read more »
Dizzy
Dizzy
5 years 2 months ago

Good one on the chipotle! A budget saving way to eat while traveling.

orbeachic
7 years 1 month ago

Fruit and Yogurt
Fresh fruit sliced or half a bag of frozen berries
Serving of Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Handful of nuts
Small handful of raisins
And perhaps a sprinking of coconut.

Christopher Williams
7 years 1 month ago

Personally I like to drain a can of tuna (<$1), flake it, and mix in a tsp of mustard, (again <$1), I also add raisins for a little more texture and either eat it out of a bowl or put it in a lettuce leaf. I add almonds on the side to make sure I stay full for a while. All of this with a glass of water or tea is less than $5.99 and tastes great. Thanks for all the other ideas as well!

Steven
Steven
7 years 1 month ago
Steak, Eggs, Toast w/Fruit – Primal Style Boil 3 free range organic eggs – $1 2oz Grassfed Beef Jerky – $2.50 1-2 slices almond bread – $1.50 Handful of grapes or other fruit- $.50 Total: $5.50 This is a wonderful meal on the go and transports well. Easy to eat on the run and can be made in advance as well as stored for days (or longer). You can even buy pre-boiled eggs. No utensils needed! Eggs assume cost of $4 per dozen, beef jerky is $10 for 8oz at US Wellness Meats, Almond Bread (you can make yourself –… Read more »
mcoz-09
mcoz-09
7 years 1 month ago
MC’s $5.99 Lunch-To Go I believe in preparing foods that I will use for a week’s lunch ahead of time. I love the idea of a Danish open style sandwich or a closed sandwich made with a vegetable sandwich crust. I make a large crust and store it in the fridge. It’s most convenient to cut the crust into sandwich-size pieces while still warm and then cool completely at room temp on a rack. I prepare sandwich toppings and keep them in closed containers in the fridge eg, washed and spun lettuce, left-over cooked proteins (meat, fish fowl, shrimp), home-made… Read more »
mcoz-09
mcoz-09
7 years 1 month ago
Variations on MC’s $5.99 Lunch-To-Go Alternative use for the Veggie Sandwich Crust 7. Use the crust as a basis for a cold open pizza sandwich by topping while still warm with for example, shrimp (preferably raw, thawed, shelled and sliced), diced bacon, pre-cooked chicken or other meat, chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, drizzle of heavy cream, a sprinkling of fresh mozzarella or other cheese, chopped basil or other herbs (best added under other ingredients) etc.; heat at 410oF for 5 – 10 minutes, being careful not to burn uncovered edges. Again the choices are endless and it keeps well in a cool… Read more »
Tiffany
7 years 1 month ago

My favorite easy meal is cottage cheese (from Trader Joe’s – no rBGH) with some great vine ripe tomatoes and basil. It’s awesome with some salt and pepper, super easy to throw together, and makes a great breakfast or lunch.

Good luck to finding your favorite easy and cheap meal!

Christine
Christine
7 years 1 month ago
So I’m probably late for the contest (I just got up), but I still want to share a few of my “readymade” lunches, none of which have to be expensive. My favorite is called Scotch Eggs, which is basically a hard-boiled egg inside a meat ball. You just boil a bunch of eggs, peel them and cover them in sausage meat (don’t forget those spices and herbs!). Then just fry them, and when they are done, let them cool – voilà, two or three days worth of lunches. I like that they are good when eaten cold. You could always… Read more »
Christine
Christine
7 years 1 month ago

Found it! Michelle posted pictures of her riceless sushi here. You can also eat these things uncut, like a ehou maki, and then it’s like a sandwich.

Freeze Dried and Frozen Fruit

Thanks for sharing such a nice post.
Freeze Dried and Frozen Fruit

Jennie Yundt
7 years 30 days ago
I feed myself for $5.71 a DAY! 3 hard boiled eggs $0.24 10 oz of meatloaf $1.48 8 oz of Ribeye $3.99 I purchase a dozen eggs for $0.99 and hard boil them. Meat loaf is 2lbs of ground beef at $1.99 a pound from Trader Joe’s. I combine this with 2 eggs, 5T of almond meal, salt, pepper and garlic powder and bake at 350 for 1.5 hours. My dinner is 8oz of Ribeye, also from Trader Joe’s which costs $7.99 a pound. I could go HOG WILD CRAZY and eat the entire ribeye if I’m feeling really hungry,… Read more »
Dizzy
Dizzy
5 years 2 months ago

That meat isn’t anything special though, TJ’s ground grass fed beef is $6.50 a lb (still an awesome deal). They don’t have any other beef that’s grassfed (I have to check on the roast organic beef- I can’t eat it due to the marinade ingredients). Lamb there is grassfed though and a decent value.

Even their free range eggs are apparently not ethical, they are debeaked. You can find a doz real pasture eggs for $5-8 around my town.

Treatment for Hemorrhoid
5 years 9 months ago

Very helpful site. Great post, finally a decent website with good information in it.

Dizzy
Dizzy
5 years 2 months ago

A cheap meal I’ve been loading up on lately:

1/4 lb grassfed ground beef ($1.50 from TJ)
plateful of arugula (figure 1/4 bag- arugula is $2 a bag so 50 cents)
tbsp of ghee, butter, or animal fat to fry the burger in (10 cents?)
spices, olive oil, vinegar

Fry up your burger in the fats, mix in some spices, and pour it over your arugula for a warm tasty salad. Easy to double if you’re hungry and you still probably aren’t at $5

Dizzy
Dizzy
5 years 2 months ago

Another awesome breakfast one:

3 chicken sausage links (12 for $3 so 75 cents a serving)
Almond pancakes, based off of Elana’s pantry website (I calculate this at around 1.40 to 1.50 a serving. I am easy on the sweetener, using either a SMALL amt of raw honey or xylitol, and adding extra water or liquid fat)

I eat this for breakfast often, it is so good. Probably around 2.50 including a nice cup of tea or joe, maybe with some coconut oil thrown in.

Again easy to double if you are still hungry!

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