3 Minutes Of Effort, Calories and Protein Per Dollar


Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

This is Intern Josh’s study. When offered to write the article, he chose to study more restaurants Calories Per Dollar. His thirst for grinding excel data is unmatched.

Process- Low Effort Meals

Our cutoff was ~3 minutes or less of effort. This was Credit to Sam K. for the specific recommendation “ready” or “heat and eat”.

Metrics for qualifications:

  1. Under 3 minutes of preparation- Boiling Water or Heating an Oven met this criteria
  2. Real life college student meal test- This determines what is a ‘meal’ vs a ‘snack’

The goal was to disqualify empty carbs like poptarts and drinking oil.

The Data

Click Column Names to Sort

Item Calories Per Dollar Protein Per Dollar Cost If Eaten All Year Calories Per Protein Before Tax Price
Nissin Souper Meal Chicken Flavor 2240 48.0 $326 47 0.25
Maruchan Ramen Chicken Flavor 2111 44.4 $346 48 0.18
Maruchan Spicy Chicken 944 22.2 $773 43 0.54
Tina’s Red Hot Beef Burrito 895 23.7 $816 38 0.38
Patio Beef & Bean Burrito 840 20.0 $869 42 0.5
Classic Corndogs 699 14.0 $1,045 50 4.58
Great Value Pepperoni Pizza 629 25.2 $1,160 25 2.78
Pow Mac & Cheese 614 33.9 $1,188 18 1.18
Toaster Strudel Strawberry 558 6.2 $1,308 90 3.87
Campbell’s Cream Of Mushroom Soup 550 10.0 $1,327 55 0.5
Drive Thru Jumbo Cheeseburger (Pierre) 539 20.8 $1,354 26 1.54
Chef Boyardee 523 20.5 $1,397 26 0.88
Tina’s Red Hot Beef Burrito With Salsa Con Queso 492 16.4 $1,483 30 1.28
Tinas Beef And Bean Burrito With Salsa Con Queso 492 16.4 $1,483 30 1.28
Great Value Sausage Egg &Cheese Buscuit 487 15.4 $1,498 32 3.12
Pizza Rolls Pepperoni Pizza 469 13.4 $1,557 35 8.96
Shells & Cheese Gluten Free 451 10.7 $1,619 42 2.24
Wild Mike’s Ultimate Pizza 446 26.5 $1,637 17 5.74
Eggo Cinnamon Toast 439 7.6 $1,661 58 1.98
Tina’s Smothered Burrito 438 13.3 $1,669 33 1.28
Banquet Sweet And Sour Chicken 438 11.5 $1,669 38 0.96
Great Value Spaghetti Rings 435 12.9 $1,676 34 0.62
Lipton Extra Noodle Soup 407 15.3 $1,795 27 1.18
Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza 397 12.0 $1,840 33 9.98
SpaghettiOs 388 9.2 $1,883 42 0.98
Banquet Swedish Meatballs 385 16.7 $1,894 23 0.96
Great Value Mac& Cheese 324 14.4 $2,250 23 1.88
Hot Pockets Bacon Egg Chese 320 12.0 $2,281 27 5
Kid Cuisine Mini Corn Dog 282 6.9 $2,592 41 1.74
Michelina’s Lasagna 276 13.3 $2,650 21 0.98
Mambo Italian Pepperoni Meatball Pizza 268 10.9 $2,728 25 5.98
El Charrito Chicken Taquitos 258 11.6 $2,832 22 3.88
Great Value Meatlovers Lasagna 255 13.3 $2,859 19 1.88
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites 252 4.2 $2,897 60 5
Microwave Rice Pasta & Cheddar 246 6.4 $2,971 38 4.68
Bagel Bites Cheese And Pepperoni 238 7.9 $3,067 30 3.97
Cole’S Salty Pretzel Middles 237 8.4 $3,080 28 3.27
505 Cheese Chicken Chalona 231 9.9 $3,158 23 2.12
Tina’s Loaded Burrito 227 9.6 $3,212 24 1.98
Tai Pei Sweet And Sour 226 9.1 $3,231 25 2.08
Kellogs Egg Breakfast Sandwich 217 8.9 $3,359 25 9.94
Zatarains Chicken Alfredo 209 9.0 $3,493 23 2.44
White Castle Hamburgers 209 9.3 $3,497 23 3.88
Digiorno Cheese Stuffed Pepperoni 208 10.1 $3,504 21 7.44
Prego 3 Cheese Alfredo 191 6.7 $3,828 28 1.94
Kahiki 188 6.7 $3,884 28 2.82
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl Meatlovers 187 9.8 $3,904 19 2.46
Great Value Orange Chicken 186 6.4 $3,921 29 1.88
Idahon Cheddar Broccoli Potato Soup 177 3.8 $4,119 47 1.58
Compleats Chicken Alfredo 177 8.1 $4,130 22 1.98
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl Sausage 169 8.1 $4,310 21 2.48
Weight Watchers Traditional Lasagna With Meat Sauce 165 8.0 $4,424 21 2
Barilla Sausage And Tomato Rotini 165 7.0 $4,424 24 2
Campbell’s Creamy Broccoli 160 2.0 $4,563 80 1
Compleats Chicken Alfredo 158 7.6 $4,612 21 2.78
Smart Ones 155 7.0 $4,710 22 2
Compleats Salisbury Steak 152 7.1 $4,818 21 1.98
Velveeta Cheese Bowl Bacon Mac And Cheese 149 7.0 $4,895 21 2.28
Great Value Chicken Noodle Soup 145 10.1 $5,037 14 1.38
Campbell’s Beef And Barley Soup 135 5.1 $5,402 27 1.48
Lean Cuisine, Sesame Chicken 132 4.8 $5,530 28 2.5
Kraft Mac And Cheese With Chicken And Beef Meatballs 129 5.4 $5,637 24 2.78
Evol Truffle Parmesan 129 4.3 $5,645 30 3.48
Campbell’s Santa Fe Chicken 128 6.4 $5,725 20 2.98
Atkins, Orange Chicken 125 8.2 $5,840 15 3.28
Amy Kale Bake 124 4.7 $5,886 27 3.87
Lean Cuisine, Orange Chicken 124 5.6 $5,887 22 2.5
Sonoma Flat Bread Pepperoni Pizza 123 4.9 $5,913 25 6.48
Atkins, Chicken Margherita 122 8.5 $5,986 14 3.28
Amy’s Chinese Noodles & Veggies 122 3.6 $5,992 34 3.94
Sam’s Burrito Bowl Beef Barbacoa 121 5.0 $6,038 24 3.97
Classic Meat Loaf 120 6.0 $6,083 20 2.5
Sam’s Ramen With Chicken 108 5.7 $6,785 19 9.48
Sweet Eart Breakfast Burrito 104 6.1 $6,998 17 2.78
Atkin Sausage Scramble 104 6.1 $7,042 17 3.28
Powerbowl, Pork Bowl 98 5.7 $7,472 17 3.48
Powerbowl, Chicken Sausage & Barley 98 4.6 $7,472 21 3.48
Beef & Broccoli 94 7.4 $7,743 13 2.97
Coconut Shrimp Tempura 92 2.7 $7,930 34 5.54
Atkin Beet Merlot 91 6.1 $7,981 15 3.28
Kung Pao Chicken 91 7.1 $8,030 13 2.97
Atkins Chicken & Broccoli 88 7.6 $8,257 12 3.28
Spicy Crab Roll 87 3.2 $8,425 27 5.54
Chana Masala 84 3.0 $8,672 28 2.97
Beetnik Shepherds Pie 70 3.6 $10,429 19 5
Shrimp Alfredo 48 2.0 $15,148 24 4.98

Conclusions

Ramen really does crush the competition. And yes, Lots of Sodium. This is data, use it to benefit you. This could mean supplementing life with an occasional Ramen snack when you are exhausted. This also could mean not using the entire packet. Or, you don’t believe that sodium is terrible and this is the most dangerous article we’ve released since Caffeine Per Dollar.

Frozen burritos, Frozen Corndogs, and Frozen Pizza topped the list. Keep an eye on the price, as some brands are expensive. Lowest cost items are easily 2x better Calories Per Dollar than most brands.

We aim to eat meals around 700 Calories Per Dollar, ~40g Protein Per Dollar, and include many top nutrient per dollar items.

Since this discovery, Ramen has been consumed fairly often. Bonus that we add 1 egg into the boiling Ramen water while the noodles are being added. Eggs are fantastic Protein Per Dollar.