When I first looked at the P90X diet plan, I thought “What the “bleep“?! – the diet was going to cost a fortune and was going to take numerous hours to prepare my meals – something you don’t want to do when you’re exercising for an hour a day and working full-time.
However, I had already made the decision to do the P90X program, and not having $300 dollars a week to spend on groceries, I decided to make do with what I had and do the P90X diet on a budget.
By the end of my first round of P90X, I was actually spending less money on food than when my diet was comprised of mostly over-processed and packaged foods.
Before I go into detail about how you can save money on the P90X diet, I have to tell you that I spent a little over $9 per day on food during the first phase of P90X, a little over $10 a day on the second phase of P90X, and a tad over $11 on the third phase of the P90X diet. But remember, at 240 pounds, I was eating from level 3 of the P90X diet, which is 2,900 calories/day. Respectively, level 1 which is only 1,800 calories/day would be even less expensive than my diet was.
First Step to Saving Money on the P90X Diet
First, throw out the P90X Meal Plan Approach – the Meal Plan Approach is not budget friendly. The Meal Plan Approach is not feasible to save a lot a money as the variety of foods and spices that you will need is, in my eyes, simply unrealistic when trying to save money.
On the contrary, you will want to follow the P90X Portion Approach Plan to be able to follow the P90X diet on a budget. This way, you can buy items in bulk and not be tied down to any recipe when your grocery store has pork tenderloin on sale for $1.99/lb, and you are supposed to have $10.99/lb pound Halibut for dinner with the P90X Meal Plan Approach. You can save money with the P90X Portion Approach and be able to save some time by preparing meals in bulk.
Save Time and Money: Buy in Bulk
At my local grocery store, chicken breast (which should be a P90X diet staple) is normally $4.59/lb, but it is always on sale every 3 to 6 weeks for a mere $1.99/lb. If you were to buy 20 pounds of chicken when it was on sale, you would save $52.00 – just be sure you have room in your freezer to keep the meat frozen until you are ready to eat it. The same goes for canned tuna. The normal price is anywhere from $1.25 a can to $1.59 per can, but every 3 to 6 weeks, it is on sale for a $1.00. Buy 20 cans of tuna when it is on sale, and you save $11.80.
Before the P90X diet, I thought sales at the grocery stores were random, but if you watch really closely, most grocery stores like to cycle their sales. For example, every six weeks they may have a sale on chicken, then the week after is top round steak, and then the week after that, pork tenderloin could be on sale.
Buying in bulk also helps reduce the time you will spend in the kitchen. Instead of cooking a chicken breast for one meal, you can cook five at a time, refrigerate what’s leftover, and enjoy chicken breast for the next day’s lunch and dinner. If you’re afraid of it getting boring, try using different spices on some chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, or barbecue sauce.
Frozen Vegetables vs. Fresh to Save Money
As this article is about how to save money on the P90X diet, I will not get into a debate if fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen and vice versa. I am going to say for a fact that buying frozen vegetables, in almost all cases, is better for your wallet than buying fresh. However, deals on fresh vegetables can be found when produce is in season at local farmers’ markets.
As with buying your meat in bulk, frozen vegetables can also be bought in bulk when they are on sale. Mark up on frozen vegetables appears to be less than on meat, so do not expect to get a large savings as you would when buying meat, but thirty to fifty cents a bag can add up by the end of the 90 days.
Do not even think about buying canned vegetables! Yes, they maybe be cheaper than frozen vegetables, but they lose most of their nutrients during the preservation process except for tomatoes and pumpkin. Plus, canned vegetables are loaded with sodium.
Whey Protein Mixed with Low-Fat Milk
One of the biggest problems I first had with the P90X diet is the amount of calories I had to consume. 2,900 does not sound like a lot of calories, but I found myself struggling to eat that many calories on the recommended food. A simple way I found to fix this was to drink 8 oz. of milk with a scoop of protein powder once or twice a day. In hindsight, this also helped me save lots of money and cross off a dairy block and protein block off my list.
Here’s another case where buying in bulk is the way to go – to save a substantial amount of money, buying whey protein in bulk is necessary. My favorite whey protein is Optimum Nutrition, and a ten pound bag (149 servings) can be purchased online from Vitacost.com for $105.97. It’s a large upfront cost, but ten pounds of whey will last a very long time and only costs $0.71 per serving.
My Top Ten Budget Friendly P90X Diet Approved Foods
Below, are my top ten foods for the P90X diet when you are on a tight budget. The prices that I used are from a couple local grocery stores. Prices in your area may vary, but for the most part, should be similar to what is below:
- Chicken – Low in fat and high in protein, skinless chicken breast should be a staple in everyone’s P90X diet. Sale cost $1.99 per pound, and a 3 oz. per protein block equals about $0.15-$0.20 per protein block.
- Egg Whites – Low in fat, low in cholesterol and high in protein, egg whites are economical and nutritious. Sale cost is $1.39 per dozen, and 6 egg whites per protein block equals about $0.70 per protein block.
- Whey Protein Powder – The price of whey protein powder can vary greatly; however, if you are paying over $1.00 per serving, look for another option. I have found it as low as $0.71 per protein block with a pleasant taste and consistency.
- Low-Fat Milk – Low-fat milk is a very low cost dairy option. One gallon costs $2.50, which contains 16 servings, equaling about $0.16 a block.
- Oatmeal – Choose only whole grain rolled oats or steel-cut oats, not the instant oatmeal that comes in the packets and is full of sugar. Old fashioned oatmeal costs $2.10 per container with 25 servings, which makes it less than $0.10 per carbohydrate block.
- Brown Rice – Low in fat and high in fiber, brown rice is the perfect complex carbohydrate to give you energy for your P90X workouts, and did I mention, it’s easily affordable too? One pound of brown rice costs $1.75, which equals out to about $0.18 per carbohydrate block.
- Potatoes – High in vitamins and nutrients, potatoes are a cheap and nutritious food source. For example, a five pound bag of potatoes cost me $2.99 and contained 15 potatoes. This makes the cost per carbohydrate block about a $.20 cents. Of course, the price will vary per bag due to the varying sizes of potatoes.
- Frozen Broccoli – We all know broccoli is good for us, but did you also know it’s cheap? A 10oz. bag costs $0.88 at my local Walmart, which means a 1 cup serving or vegetable block costs $0.30 cents.
- Black Beans – High in protein, low in fat and low in calories, black beans are one of my low cost P90X diet favorites. A 16 oz. bag costs $2.97, which is about 7 cups of beans. This makes each carbohydrate block cost $0.42.
- Frozen Blueberries – Blueberries can be very expensive if bought fresh and often not that tasty. Frozen blueberries are a healthy alternative – at a much lower cost. A ten pound bag of frozen wild blueberries costs about $10.00/bag with 10 servings. This means you’re only paying $1.00 per fruit block for one of an antioxidant super fruit.
As you can see from above, being on a tight grocery budget is no real reason not to commit to the P90X diet plan. Yes, following the diet on a budget can get a little boring as you will often be eating the same foods, but that is no excuse if you want really fantastic results.
If you made it through my above ramblings and still feel lost, please feel send me a message about your current diet, the budget you have, your P90X level and phase, and I will try my best to help you get your p90x diet on a budget that you can easily afford. Also, please consider making me your Team Beachbody coach by clicking here. By doing so, I can provide you with answers to any questions you may have about the program or any other health and fitness related questions you encounter.