We all know that eating like a bodybuilding can become very expensive. In fact, this is one of the largest complaints I hear from most of my readers and clients. But that fact is, eating to build muscle doesn’t have to break the bank. You see, when I first started training, like most, I was young and broke and I certainly couldn’t afford to put extra food in the fridge over paying my rent. Naturally, I had to learn to economize while still getting in the proper nutrients. With that said, today I want to share my top 10 cheap mass-building foods for bulking on a budget.
The foods on this list are all essential, nutrient dense, and best of all they are inexpensive. These food items are in no particular order and are all beneficial in their own way. If you are a college student, jobless teen, or just as broke as I was at one point, then these inexpensive mass building foods should become a staple in your diet.
Whole Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of natural protein. Not only are they healthy, calorie dense, and cheap, but they are extremely versatile. You can use them for omelets, sandwiches, scramble them, fry them, and the list goes on. It’s also important to note that eggs are high in BCAAs, which aids in muscular growth and development.
Peanut Butter: Besides being packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Peanut butter is also known to help support the repair of muscles after injury. It makes an ideal addition to your meal replacement or bedtime shakes. And the best part of all, it makes this list because it is dirt cheap!
Beans: One cup of black beans contains about 230 calories with less than 1 gram of fat and a whopping 15 grams of protein. With over 40 grams of carbohydrates, black beans are ideal for any hardgainer who finds it hard to meet their daily caloric requirements. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to bring this mass building food into your diet, 1 can of beans can be purchased for as little as 0.99!
Tuna: Tuna is one of the best foods you can eat if you want to build lean muscle. Not only has it got more than 20% protein but it’s cheap and rich in natural essential oils. If you don’t like the taste or smell of tuna (like me), then mix it with some mustard.
Body Fortress Whey: This is the fastest absorbing protein and can become easily consumable for those of us who don’t have time for full meals. One serving of whey protein can contain over 50 grams of protein. But I am sure that in most cases Whey Protein Powder does not fit in a low-budget bodybuilding diet plan. However, while doing some shopping at a local Wal-Mart some months ago, I discovered a 2 lb tub of whey protein powder for about $15. Now that’s cheap!
Ground Meat: Ground meat has the same amount of protein in it as steak but it’s much cheaper. Like eggs, ground meat is very versatile and can be made into beef patties for burgers, chili to feed you for a week or even tacos and burritos. Those are my personal favorites. One thing to remember though, always get the premium mince. The normal stuff has way to mach fat in it. (>20%)
Chocolate Milk: Muscle is built outside of the gym and ample recovery is critical. Most brands of chocolate milk supply around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates and between 8 and 11 grams of protein (per 8 oz.), which makes for an optimal post-workout replenishment choice. This source contains two types of protein: Casein and whey. Casein is a slow digesting protein that does wonders for preventing muscle breakdown and whey is a fast digesting protein that makes for speedy absorption.
Cottage Cheese: 12g protein/100g. This power-packed snack is a great source of both casein and whey protein. For newcomers to the world of fitness, whey protein is not only a staple protein source for bodybuilders, but it’s also a key food in building muscle and burning fat. Casein on the other hand is a slower digesting protein, which makes cottage cheese the optimal bedtime choice to help keep your body in an anabolic stage overnight.
Chicken: Chicken has a good protein to fat ratio. The average 6 oz. chicken breast is approximately 200 calories, 40 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat. It’s one of the most versatile foods for salads, wraps, sandwiches or even on its own. Although chicken breast is typically not cheap, buying frozen chicken in bags is easily affordable for even the most broke college students.
Whole Wheat Pasta: Foods such as multi-grain and whole wheat pastas may not sound like a muscle builder’s top food choice, but they are great sources of energy. Whole wheat products are usually low in sugar and calories, making them a good choice for those trying to burn fat and build muscle. But get this, the multi-grain pasta that I purchase is also packed with over 15 grams of protein…and it costs me $2.00 for an entire box.
Bulking on a Budget
Another thing I would recommend for anyone who is “bulking on a budget’ is buying in bulk. This is the most effective technique to economizing your diet. You may say “I can’t afford to buy in bulk”, but the reality is, you can’t afford NOT to!
There you have it, 10 cheap mass building foods. Don’t let a tight budget be the reason you don’t achieve your fitness goals. If you have any cheap mass building foods that you would like to share, please leave a comment in the section below!