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View Full Version : How do I gain weight if I'm broke?



BASEDGOD
07-21-2011, 01:40 PM
I came here seeking some nutritional advice to help me gain weight. I've always been skinny (I was a chubby bastard up until about 5). I stand a shade under 6 ft. at about 145 lbs. I know that I have to load up on calories and carbs while finding a workout regimen in order to get bigger.

My dilemma: Every weight gain diet/program seems wild expensive. I'd love to be able to blow $400/week at the grocery store but I just don't have it. I can't afford to eat salmon and lean cuts of red meat every night. Tuna fish and PB&J sandwiches are easier on my pockets so I'm looking for foods like that.

So basically my question is: What are some inexpensive foods that I can build a diet around that will help me gain weight while training (Gym is free where I live)?

PhxdB
07-21-2011, 01:57 PM
Chicken, rice, beans, eggs, whole milk, potatoes, pasta, fruits, veggies, etc...

Get creative, buy whole foods and learn to cook. And make sure to catch whats on sale.

You can eat healthy filling meals everyday and it'd be like ordering off the dollar menu. I buy value packs of chicken breasts from the store and I individually wrap them and store them in my freezer. Just pull and defrost one whenever you need it. Buying in bulk is always cheaper! Ground beef isn't too expensive either.

Hell, I can even treat myself to a grilled steak dinner every now and then on a budget. A 3-pack of a good cut of steak on sale can come out to $5 per meal. A lot of people spend more than that at a fast food joint.

I'm making grilled chicken burritos right now with rice, beans, and cheese. Cheap!!

Alex.V
07-21-2011, 02:20 PM
Pasta in bulk is cheap, as is ground beef. (Ground beef can be cooked, then washed and drained in a strainer, then re-added to tomato sauce to make a very lean partner to pasta). Those two things were the centerpiece of my diet for about a year when I was struggling financially.

ThomasG
07-21-2011, 02:36 PM
Work more to support your goals. This is not a cheap hobby.

Eggs
Whole milk
75/25 ground beef.

K-R-M
07-21-2011, 03:44 PM
What's your weekly food budget?

tom183
07-21-2011, 05:20 PM
Milk
Cheaper cuts of beef (especially if bought in bulk)
Whey

thecityalive
07-21-2011, 06:15 PM
Tuna

Off Road
07-21-2011, 07:08 PM
Pasta in bulk is cheap, as is ground beef.
Those were the two things that first came to my mind.

IronRanger
07-21-2011, 09:59 PM
Those were the two things that first came to my mind.

Yup.

If you're really hard up, make your own bread, tortilla and pizza crust with a bag of flour. If you're feelin motivated, homemade pasta too.


Flour Tortillas Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm milk, or water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the lard and mix until it is well combined and the mixture looks grainy.

Add the warm milk and mix until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll the pieces into balls.

Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll the balls of dough into 6" to 7" tortillas.

Cook on a griddle, or in a heavy pan, over medium heat until golden brown and puffy.

Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel while the rest cook.

Enjoy! Or, allow them to cool and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge. They last for five days ... if you can keep from eating them hot off the griddle.



Don't remember where I got this recipe, or I'd give credit to the OP.

Ramen noodles, potatoes, ground beef, eggs, milk, peanut butter. Ask your local butcher when they usually mark down their meat for quick sale. Buy what you can afford, cook what you intend to eat that day and freeze the rest. I used to buy meat that was a day past "sell by" date out of a refrigerated (actually a freezer) semi trailer. Ridiculously cheap and still safe to eat. Ground turkey. In my local butcher shop, I find frozen pork tenderloins at $3 for 1.5 lbs. I've also found 10 pounds of chicken thighs for $10. After holidays, turkey and hams are ridiculously cheap. Beans and grains form a complete protein, so bean burritos are cheap to make. Buy generic brands whenever your taste buds allow (mac and cheese, peanut butter, etc.) Buy frozen veggies and fruit - much cheaper (usually...you've gotta keep your eye on prices). As far as spaghetti sauce, Ragu is spendy, I like the Del Monte brand...1/3 of the price of Ragu.

Alex.V
07-22-2011, 06:45 AM
Yup.

If you're really hard up, make your own bread, tortilla and pizza crust with a bag of flour. If you're feelin motivated, homemade pasta too.



Well look at this Betty Crocker guy.

IronRanger
07-22-2011, 08:02 AM
Well look at this Betty Crocker guy.

Yea, you should see the view from behind when I'm doing squats wearing only my apron.

J.C.
07-22-2011, 08:08 AM
If you're really broke, then it basically can't be done. I know, I've tried it. When I was finishing my masters and working in a bar I had no money and lost all the hard-earned muscle of the previous year. I'm only now, with the help of a proper job, getting back to where I was over 12 months ago.

That said, beef and pasta was my main meal too. Buy both in bulk and it should be fairly affordable. Cheese offers a lot of cheap calories. Milk is fairly cheap. Fruit and vegetables get surprisingly expensive if you eat the amount you're supposed to. Frozen peas and beans are about the cheapest.

BASEDGOD
07-22-2011, 08:34 AM
What's your weekly food budget?

I have no more than $150-200 to dedicate MONTHLY towards groceries.

Szust
07-22-2011, 01:24 PM
I have no more than $150-200 to dedicate MONTHLY towards groceries.

I spend just about that or less and I'm at about 2500 kcals a day. Things I generally find on the cheap are veggies at farmer's markets, beef and chicken at wholesale food places, and I make my own bread and pasta with whole wheat bread flour or semolina (low glycemic index), depending on what mood I'm in. If you're interested some bread recipes hit me up, most of mine are adapted from epicurious.

IronRanger
07-22-2011, 01:46 PM
Just came across this too:

http://wiki.stealthiswiki.org/wiki/Cheap_Chow

TKisner
07-24-2011, 10:12 AM
Eat a jar of natural peanut butter a day. Its not hard, unless your just like whining more than progress.

dynamo
07-24-2011, 03:12 PM
I buy chicken in bulk, its skinless/boneless for $1.99/lb that plus a jar of prego and I have lunch/dinner for a week. I am not as hard up as you, but i cook 7-10 pounds of chicken or ground beef in a crock pot per week and spend less than $30 on it. I don't eat grains, I buy green veggies, generally, but not always frozen. I will add them into my crock pot of food. I get creative so I don't get bored but I do that every week. Breakfast is generally a novus bar. Sometimes I'll get excited and make my food for the week with fancier food, and it will cost closer to $60 to $80. One week I made lunch/dinner for under twenty.

Base recipe is: chicken breast & spaghetti sauce & green leafy veggies. Usually 1-2 cans of stewed tomatos, or a tasty pasta sauce, 7-10 pounds of chicken cooked in the crock pot then the fat poured off, and then at least a pound of broccoli or asparagus or brussel sprouts or carrots. Mix together eat for a week.

chevelle2291
07-24-2011, 03:31 PM
Eat a jar of natural peanut butter a day. Its not hard, unless your just like whining more than progress.

That would be a fuckton of fat per day. That's fine as OP is skinny, but natural pb isn't all that cheap compared to something like rice or potatoes and IMO carbs>fat for size. PB as a protein source is incomplete as well, which is why I never understand PB's good rep for bbbing/muscle gain. JMO.
******
OP, I'm in just about the same position as you are, with slightly more cash.

A few months ago I went out and purchased a Sam's Club Card. For students, it's like 25-30 bucks for students for a year, and pays for itself in like three visits. Well worth the cost if you can afford it.

Staples for me include rice (I bought 25lbs of parboiled rice for like 8 bucks at Sam's Club the other day), chicken, ground beef, and cottage cheese. Eggs as well. My biggest expense is protein powder, which I use simply for convenience.

I also tend to spend a good chunk on spices/sauces to flavor up my meats and rice. I love pouring A1 steak sauce on my rice and burgers, makes it so much easier to get down.

Also, Hormel makes this turkey chili that has no beans in it with a crapton of protein and calories per serving. IT's an awesome product and tastes really good as well. I'd look into that if I were you.

Just try to get in 1g/lb of bw in protein, get a decent amount of fat in your diet (8 eggs or so in the morning would take care of it), and fill the rest of your meals up with carbs (if you do well on higher carbs, I imagine you do as you are pretty damn thin), and you should be fine.

Behemoth
07-24-2011, 05:14 PM
I never understand PB's good rep for bbbing/muscle gain. JMO.


I hate that notion as well. To tout PB as a high protein food (which it often is) makes no sense to me. Sure a whole jar has good amount of protein in it but so does an quadruple stacker from BK.

It's a calorie dense food that has it's place but it shouldn't be considered a protein staple unless the individual has hundreds of grams of fat allotted into their diet.

TKisner
07-24-2011, 06:27 PM
He said he need cheap calories. It doesn't get much cheaper than $2.50 for 2900 calories. It might not be the best, but the best typically isnt cheap.

Behemoth
07-24-2011, 06:31 PM
He said he need cheap calories. It doesn't get much cheaper than $2.50 for 2900 calories. It might not be the best, but the best typically isnt cheap.

I wasn't disagreeing with the advice. Peanut butter is indeed very calorie dense and has it's place for those who need calories.

Cards
07-24-2011, 06:53 PM
I hate that notion as well. To tout PB as a high protein food (which it often is) makes no sense to me. Sure a whole jar has good amount of protein in it but so does an quadruple stacker from BK.

It's a calorie dense food that has it's place but it shouldn't be considered a protein staple unless the individual has hundreds of grams of fat allotted into their diet.

I thought people ate peanut butter for the fats and the protein was an added bonus.

chevelle2291
07-24-2011, 07:11 PM
I thought people ate peanut butter for the fats and the protein was an added bonus.

I've seen it recommended mostly for the protein in a number of threads. I mean, yea the fat is 'healthy,' but it's pretty easy to overdo it. If you're doing the standard .3-.5 x bw for fat intake, two servings of 2 tbsp of peanut butter pretty much eats your fat allotment for the day, while adding maybe 20-25g of an incomplete protein source to your daily intake. Meh, I just don't see the hype.

K-R-M
07-24-2011, 10:44 PM
I have no more than $150-200 to dedicate MONTHLY towards groceries.

That's enough if you're american. I can get by with 50$ a week (in Canada, prices are higher) for a shitload of calories and protein (when I need it), but very few veggies unfortunately. I'm a skinny guy like you though with unimpressive numbers (imo), so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, potatoes, bulk pasta, bulk rice and bulk oatmeal are all very, very cheap. Bulk peanut butter is cheap too (though very fatty). Bulk chicken breasts (I buy them at about 2.50$-3$/lb you could probably get them cheaper) and bulk ground beef/most porc are all cheap.

But my secret is buying close to expiration or expired protein. You can get it at ridiculously low prices (like 10-15$ for 5lbs) and the protein is not bad, not even close.

BASEDGOD
07-25-2011, 09:53 AM
Great advice.

I'm currently putting down a grocery list (just got a BJ's card) that I can hopefully keep under $200.

So far I've got:

- Eggs
- Bagels
- Cereal
- Oatmeal

- Peanut Butter (PB&J is my favorite so I should run through Peanut Butter with ease)
- Whole Wheat Bread

- Chicken Breasts / Rotisserie Chicken
- Ground Beef
- Salmon
- Tuna (also another one of my favorites that I should run through easily)

- Mac & Cheese
- Rice
- Potatoes
- Pasta

My plan is to eat 6 meals a day consisting of the things on this list. Anything else I should add? I have the rotisserie chicken in there because it's already a staple in my cuisine. Should I scrap that or substitute it with something else?

Also, anyone know anything about Kazmaier Weight Gainer? My mom knows how much I want to add weight and ordered this stuff for me from a Sky mall Catalog so naturally I'm a bit skeptic.


Weight Gainer is the smallest, most balanced ready-to-drink weight gaining product on the market, from legendary three-time World's Strongest Man, Bill Kazmaier. Weight Gainer delivers a staggering 500 calories, plus two full servings of fruits and vegetables, and a complete spectrum of 27 vitamins and minerals -- all in just 3 fluid ounces.

500 calories per vial
50g protein per vial
30g low glycemic carbs per vial
20g essential fatty acids per vial
Bill Kazmaier Weight Gainer Shot
You get 24 vials.

Derekflint
08-13-2011, 03:27 PM
I believe Porter ate a lot of peanut butter early in his career.

mchicia1
08-15-2011, 10:01 PM
I just bought 12 chicken drumsticks at the super market for $3.50. Super cheap and good amount of calories/protein. Something like 180 cals and 22g of protein per leg.

dynamo
08-16-2011, 12:52 PM
9 pounds of chicken, 1 pound of carrots, a liter of apple cider vinegar, $20. This was chicken with skin and bone though, after done cooking approximate amount of food was about 6 pounds. $3.33 per pound or 0.73 cents per gram that is to say less than 1 cent per gram of food (granted this isn't all protein).

Behemoth
08-16-2011, 01:28 PM
9 pounds of chicken, 1 pound of carrots, a liter of apple cider vinegar, $20. This was chicken with skin and bone though, after done cooking approximate amount of food was about 6 pounds. $3.33 per pound or 0.73 cents per gram that is to say less than 1 cent per gram of food (granted this isn't all protein).

What's the recipe? Just throw all that in a crock? Anything else?

dynamo
08-16-2011, 01:54 PM
Essentially yeah, I cook every thing in the crockpot. I do have a stash of herbs and spices I throw in for flavor. Here's what I did this time:

Removed skin, but not fat from chicken, most of the fat melts off during cooking the first time.

Added water cooked the chicken until it fell off the bones

removed chicken and bones from each other, if you want save the stock, make some wicked chicken stew/soup. I removed the liquid because I was going for a chicken BBQ style meal

used a fork and mashed the chicken so it was sort of pulled pork type consistency, but didn't worry too much since I was going to add it back in the pot and cook it again anyway.

Cut up carrots add to pot

Added vinegar to taste plus some water

Added oregano, black pepper, paprika, and olive oil. I added the oil bc I need more fat in my diet plus its dry as shit otherwise

Cooked on low overnight, mainly to soften up the carrots.

What I have done before is add different tomato sauce, you can get the big cans for a $1 when they're on sale sometimes and you have chicken slop that tastes like your sauce of choice if I do this I don't add the vinegar, or herbs and spices I let the sauce do that. Other times I'll add crushed red pepper which is AMAZING with the apple cider vinegar, the zing and the zip are a match made in heaven but I also LOVE spicy food.
Other times I'll buy coconut milk and curry paste and add that to make curry chicken. Its a really low maintenance/effort way to cook a week's worth of lunches (at least). And of course I don't always add carrots, but always a low glycemic index carb with vitamin/mineral content.

I will mix and match flavors and meats too, pork, beef, whatever is cheapest the week I go to buy animal. Ground beef being my least favorite.

Behemoth
08-16-2011, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the recipe!

chevelle2291
08-16-2011, 02:09 PM
Thanks for the recipe!

I made some kickass teriyaki chicken stir fry the other day that you woulda loved. Virtually 0 fat in the whole meal.

dynamo
08-16-2011, 02:17 PM
I made some kickass teriyaki chicken stir fry the other day that you woulda loved. Virtually 0 fat in the whole meal.

post your recipe or GTFO

BallsWideDeep
08-18-2011, 12:34 PM
post your recipe or GTFO

:zipit:

My "terriyaki" is equal parts beer, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. Then you can mess around with different flavored vinegars, wine, sugars, hoisin or oyster sauce, tahini, whatever.

bamazav
08-18-2011, 03:23 PM
Great advice.

I'm currently putting down a grocery list (just got a BJ's card) that I can hopefully keep under $200.

So far I've got:

- Eggs
- Bagels
- Cereal
- Oatmeal

- Peanut Butter (PB&J is my favorite so I should run through Peanut Butter with ease)
- Whole Wheat Bread

- Chicken Breasts / Rotisserie Chicken
- Ground Beef
- Salmon
- Tuna (also another one of my favorites that I should run through easily)

- Mac & Cheese
- Rice
- Potatoes
- Pasta

My plan is to eat 6 meals a day consisting of the things on this list. Anything else I should add? I have the rotisserie chicken in there because it's already a staple in my cuisine. Should I scrap that or substitute it with something else?

Also, anyone know anything about Kazmaier Weight Gainer? My mom knows how much I want to add weight and ordered this stuff for me from a Sky mall Catalog so naturally I'm a bit skeptic.

BJ's is great if you make use of the coupons. when I got my card, we saved enough with the coupons on our first trip to pay for the card. Don't be picky about brands. Store brands are usually made by a leading maker and labeled for the store. Most taste just as good. The Crock pot can and should be come your best friend. It can take a crappy cut of meat and make it edible.

Rather than looking for steaks and cuts of meat, look to bigger pieces. I bought a few round roasts at BJ's last week for less than $10, I sliced them into steaks at home and got about 5 meals out of them. BJ's also has a package that includes a roast, steaks and either stew beef or burger for about $20. I can usually get 4-5 meals out of it.

The only thing you can't buy is patience. You will need a boat load of that.

alexspt
08-28-2011, 01:04 PM
You can get lots of muscle building foods for cheap! I was doing that for a few years and I focused on: tuna, peanut butter, pastas, rice, chicken breast (in bulk), and beef. You'll be surprised to find most of those items for pretty cheap prices. Also certain soups packed with carbs and proteins can be found such as progressive brand. Just be sure to get the low sodium ones...

brian12
09-03-2011, 07:22 PM
My advice:

Find a cheap suppier of whey protein online. It will work out to be the cheapest protein source when on budget.

Eggs - eat them whole, eat as many as you can each day

Tinned tuna - buy in bulk

Pasta and potato's (you want to gain weight, eat away)

Oatmeal! add half a cup dry to each protein shake..

It is not as difficult as you would think to get big on a budget.. Of course, add in as much chicken and lean beef as possible - but eggs, tuna, and bulk whey are cheaper... DOnt forget about the importance of loads of carbs (oats, pasta, potato) if you want to gain mass!

good luck! And order online in bulk!

brian12
09-03-2011, 07:24 PM
Oh yeah, buy chicken breasts in bulk I got 10kg's lean breasts for $50!! But I live in Korea. normal price here for 10kg is $220. So search around and get your food in bulk!