Need help making better meal plan for fat loss : ideal for low activity person & cheap/simple?

This is my current meal plan and it’s not working out for me anymore. I’ve been stuck at 155lbs for a while and I’m sick of the meal plan. I was 185lbs 9 months ago. I have not lost any strength or size. Just flatter stomach. Leaner legs/arms/neck. So progress was made but still not quite lean enough to see abs. Stubborn belly fat. I’m about 15% body fat at 5’8.

I got a new job and it’s been a lot harder to follow meal plans and just to add my notes, I’m only able to take one break per day. So I can only walk for up to 45 mins once per day. Then I go to the gym after work. I’ve been skipping cardio due to low energy and my workouts have been crappy. I need my meal plan to be cheap and easy to prep for the week. I work 12 hours a day even on weekends. I have limited time and budget. I pay an average of $45 a week at ALDI for my food and I like to keep it around that.

This is my current meal plan:

Fyi, I’m also incorporating electrolytes to help with energy (you may see my other post about energy issues and getting blurry vision after a quick walk).

$45 A week? Not sure how much cheaper you can go.

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I don’t mind keeping it at $45-55 average. I live paycheck to paycheck right now. So I have to do what I can do for now.


I feel like you are spending a lot of money buying fat free products and then re-adding fat via nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. Chicken breasts, light tuna, fat free yogurt, etc. And same thing with adding sweeteners onto things that are already sweet.

A whole roaster chicken is going to be cheaper than buying pre-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts.

But beyond all that, you’re working 12 hour days 7 days a week and living paycheck to paycheck. You’re most likely in way too stressed of an environment to play the calorie restriction game and come away with anything other than shot out adrenals. This is much more a time to focus on survival and health.


Sounds like you may benefit from a bit of carbs added in. It doesn’t have to be a ton but 1-2 cups of jasmine rice at lunch or a sweet potato might have you feeling a lot better for your workouts. If you are feeling run down after work and unmotivated to train that is a sign of how much pressure you are putting yourself under (I have ignored this a lot in the past as well).

Big bags of rice are pretty cheap and you can make them in advance for the week. It will help round out any meal and you can mix it in with just about anything. It’s easy to partition in 1/2 cup increments and see how your body responds: do I feel better, did I gain or lose weight, etc…

One of my favorite things to keep on hand in the house is siracha, 2x cans of tuna/salmon, and 1-2 cups of rice. Mix it all together while rice is hot and you can eat that in a couple mins (easy to sneak in on a break at work) and it gets a lot of what your body needs. You can even keep a bag of uncle Ben’s ready rice, cans of tuna, and hot sauce in your locker at work to avoid a) starving yourself or b) eating at the vending machine if you forget to pack a lunch one day.

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This doesn’t look bad to me, but I see some areas that could be altered while keeping your budget in mind. You are buying lots of specialized fat free/reduced calorie foods (fat free yogurt, Whole food fat free marinara, light tuna, sugar-free maple syrup). Instead, focus on whole foods, which are both cheaper/easier to buy in bulk and will be better for your physique and ultimate health goals. I am a similar height as you, but a bit heavier at 170 lbs and still lean.

Examples to consider: bulk raw almonds, bulk raw pumpkin seeds, large containers of full fat, plain greek yogurt, a big container of raw honey to use a sweetener, eggs, big bag of oats, and of course meats, veggies, and fruits. I think you’re on the right track with whey supplementation (meaning: use it, but don’t go too overboard with), and your snack choices are good (fruit, greek yogurt, protein).


Yeah, I do need to change my life around. It’s been a rough 8 years of BS. But lately it’s been worse with my new job. I’m reducing my workout to 4-5 days a week and fewer meals, simplifying my fitness routine. Less pressure on me.

Yeah, Rice is great. I was eating jasmine rice instead of whole grain pasta because I was starting to get severe and painful digestive issues with low fat/fiber. I should eat brown rice which has fiber. I just find brown rice to be harder to eat since it’s so thick and filling. I lose my hunger very quickly.

Thanks for the tip! I used to eat like this. Mostly almonds, pumpkin seeds, eggs/egg whites, chicken, brown rice or whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, etc. Dark chocolate too. Felt amazing daily and I was very strong and about 165lbs with 16% body fat.
The only question is do I need to eat less fat to get leaner? or less carbs? I feel like it’s both. Too low of fat can cause energy issues and digestive issues. Same with carbs. Do you have an example meal like you described?
Would something like this work?

Personally, I think what you list there looks really good. That would be somewhat similar to what I eat except I for the oats (not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just tend get carbs from fruit, rice, honey, and sourdough).

Full disclosure if taking my advice: I don’t count calories and have never intentionally tried to get ultra lean. I eat and train to feel good all the time, with overall health, performance, and sustainability as priorities. I am 170 lbs and about 14% BF (measured with a DEXA scan), but I’m also 50 years old and still pretty capable and fit. There are others on this board that would know a lot more about diet manipulation to get more pronounced visual changes within a given time period, if that is your goal.

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I feel as though you only listened to the part of my message you wanted to hear based on this list…

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Meaning the meal plan idea or needing to focus on survival/career change? Idk what else to do, I don’t want to stop my fitness goals. I feel already switching from PPL workout routine to 4 days Upper/Lower and simplifying my meal plan helps. I can’t quit my job unless I get portfolio ready and find a better job that is less stressful and pays more.

I also thought of something like this for meal plan:
Meal 1: 3 eggs, spinach, and apple
Meal 2: whey protein, almond milk, yogurt, berries, chia seeds protein smoothie
Meal 3: chicken breast, avocado, veggies
Meal 4: chicken breast, brown rice, olive oil, veggies.
It’s just another rough idea but it’s Whole Foods. ALDIs have all these food for very affordable price range.


@T3hPwnisher What would you change about my diet? I could get rid of almonds for full-fat greek yogurt but I won’t have as much fiber in my diet. I still meet my macros and nutrition. It got plenty of fiber from brown rice, healthy fats, and protein from chicken, yogurt, whey, and eggs.

I spelled out exactly what I would change if my concern was keeping costs low

Didn’t you say you wanted to lose weight? This should be a benefit.

I don’t want to just weigh in on part of the story, because I think there’s a lot going on, but I think lots of ground beef and brown rice would fit your budget and be a super easy meal plan. Then you wouldn’t have to do the fat trade offs it seems like you’re making. You’d likely need to go for 80% lean beef to fit the budget, but you can wash and strain the fat to fit your caloric allotment if need be.

I’m not real qualified on the stress/ hormonal side, but you may be in a better spot to actually eat a little more so you can get more out of your whole day.

What time of day do you train? You have room to drop some calories and carbs at 155, although you may end up still not with the look you want. Even at 5’8”, that’s starting to get thin. An easy button would be to cut those carbs in half on non-training days.

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I’m not going to buy a live rooster. Then what? Kill in my tiny apartment? I probably couldn’t do that considering I love animals (even though I eat them). I don’t even have time to cut up and skin a dead chicken. I thought you were joking about that.

I never suggested that you buy a rooster…

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@TrainForPain That’s true. Curbing hunger would help. Wouldn’t getting bulk chicken breast be cheaper? It’s like $10 for 5lbs of chicken breast vs $10 for 2lbs of 80% beef at ALDIs in my area.

I train at 8:15pm after work. Start work at 8am to 8pm (mandatory overtime). If I’m lucky I can get off at 7pm and go to gym earlier but I’ve haven’t been able to leave early. It’s a horrible job that I’m trying to get out of. Then I go home, eat, and go to bed. On weekends with my other job, I work 9 hours, 8am to 5pm, then I can go workout right after, then go home, work on my project portfolio (for new job), and grocery shop, chords, etc. I don’t really have a life other than work.

Good idea on cutting carbs on non-training days.

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Wow, I misread that. I seriously read that as “rooster” not roaster chicken. lmao. As if you were implying I should buy a live rooster. Total misunderstanding and misreading, lol.

Yeah it’s about $10 for a whole roaster chicken at Walmart near my area. Would that contain a lot of fat in the thighs though or would I just strip that part?


I wouldn’t do that if I was just going to add fat back in, for the sake of cost.


Out of curiosity, what kind of work do you do for 12 hours a day? A labor vs. desk job will get different answers

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