Fit for Fifty: Shopping on a Budget with Jamie Collins

Fit for Fifty: Shopping on a Budget with Jamie Collins
Team Universal athlete Jamie Collins shows us how to shop for gains on a lean budget in her episode of the popular series "Fit for Fifty". Check it out!

For this series "Fit for Fifty,” I had $50 to buy enough food to last a week.

Although I typically incorporate more food variety than what you see in this video, I had to work within a very strict budget.

One tip that I’ve followed over the years is that you should shop the perimeter of the store if you want to eat healthy and stay budget-friendly.

The perimeter is where you’ll find the fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, and meat.

The only reason to shop the inside aisles would be to find your carb sources and seasonings.

Jamie Collins' "Fit for Fifty" Grocery List

First in my cart were seven bananas—one per day, usually for breakfast. Bananas are a bodybuilding staple and very cheap. When you’re on a tight budget, you really need to focus on just the basic macros (protein, carbs, and fats). If you can afford vegetables, great! If not, don't stress too much about it for now. Fruit is another great, cheaper way to get some beneficial vitamins.

Personally, I am not the biggest fan of vegetables. Veggies act like a filler for me and, because I can’t eat that much food during the day, I’d rather use the stomach space for carbs and proteins.

Related: Size For Seventy - Antoine Vaillant's $10/Day Diet

For meat, I bought seven 16oz packs of raw ground chicken for around $21. Each pack of raw chicken will cook down to approximately 10-12oz. Seven of these packs provides me with two 5-6oz meat meals a day. You could buy chicken breasts if you’re shopping more frequently, but I find that ground meat stays fresh a bit longer if I’m only shopping once for the week.

In my offseason, I’ll usually eat chicken breasts that I’ve cooked up in a crockpot. I cook them on low for at least 9 hours, shred the meat, then store it in a container with the juices from the crockpot to prevent the chicken from drying out.

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Sometimes I’ll add simple but neutral seasonings to my chicken so that I can add different spices when portioning it out later. You don’t have to be a spice-aholic to make your meals palatable—my go-to seasonings are lime salt and garlic salt. I am not too concerned with the sodium content in sauces, salsas, and seasonings unless I am prepping for a show.

I picked up two dozen eggs for the very good price of $1.99 per dozen. This gives me enough for three egg whites every day. Although I bought traditional eggs in a shell for this challenge, I prefer the taste and consistency of egg whites in a carton. Both egg sources are great ways to get your protein so whichever one you choose boils down to personal preference.

Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of rolled oats so I chose cream of rice for variety’s sake. Cream of rice provides many servings, is easy to prepare, and lasts a long time. Plus it’s a great source of carbs—one 1/4 cup serving gives you 36g of carbs.

Plain rice is also a great carb source. I bought a bag of Carolina jasmine rice because jasmine rice cooks easier, tastes better, and isn’t as sticky as other forms of white rice.

My favorite trick for keeping chicken or turkey from drying out is to add beef broth to the cooking process. Broth is very cheap and provides good flavor, a major benefit when you’ve been eating chicken for days.

I also grabbed a jar of peanut butter as a source of fat to add to my cream of rice. A jar of Jif will last me at least two weeks. I know some people swear by natural peanut butter and won’t eat the more processed versions. This is absolutely fine.

Fit For Fifty Jamie Collins Grocery Shopping

Personally, I don’t enjoy the flavor of natural peanut butter or having to mix the oil at the top before I can eat it. Since I don't eat a lot of peanut butter in my off season, I indulge my taste buds and go for taste.

I had a little money left in my budget, so I decided to splurge on gummy candy. Haribo cola-flavored gummies are my favorite, but I was happy to find the Haribo Gold-Bears. My total for the week came to $44.62, way under budget. Even with a last minute addition of a Snickers bar, I still came in $5 under budget.

Jamie Collins' Supplementation Strategy

People will probably say that I should eat more whole foods over protein shakes and I agree 100%. My biggest problem is that I lack appetite, so I end up not eating enough calories throughout the day if my only food sources are whole food sources.

Having two Universal Real Gains shakes every day adds an additional 1,200 calories to my diet that I otherwise likely couldn't eat. Calorically dense foods such as pizza and cheeseburgers aren’t clean foods, which is why I’d rather use mass gainer shakes.

As I said in the video, this food list works for my ectomorph body type. Ectomorphs require a lot of calories to not only sustain their size, but to be able to grow at all.

Editor's Note: Find your Daily Calorie Intake Needs with Our BMR Calculator

Many women would never use mass gainers, supplements, or foods that are as high in carbs and fat like I do. My diet isn't for everyone—this is just what works for me.

Before my current diet, I had difficulty putting on any size and had trouble sculpting what I already had. It wasn't until I started eating the way I do in the off-season that I was finally able to put on muscle and be able to shape my body the way I had always wanted.

It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but I now know what benefits my physique the most. Remember, eating within a budget can work for any diet. If you find one that works for you, just stick with it.

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Jamie Collins' "Fit for Fifty" Macros

Pre-workout morning mass gainer shake
Breakfast
  • 1/4 cup cream of rice
    • 170 calories
    • 36g carb / 3g protein
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
    • 190 calories
    • 16g fat / 7g carb / 8g protein
  • 3 egg whites
    • 51 calories
    • 10g protein
  • banana
    • 105 calories
    • 27g carb / 1g protein
Lunch
  • 6oz cooked ground chicken
    • 340 calories
    • 22g fat / 30g protein
  • 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
    • 105 calories
    • 25g carb / 2g protein
Afternoon mass gainer shake
Dinner
  • 6oz cooked ground chicken:
    • 340 calories
    • 22g fat / 30g protein
  • 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
    • 105 calories
    • 25g carb / 2g protein
Casein shake