Note: This list needs your help! By contributing your personal experience with budget meals you will be aiding fellow lifters looking to gain and still keep money in the bank!
My Story: Why I Compiled This List
In an effort to save money as I continue my college degree, I have compiled a list of foods I've found to help me gain, stay healthy, are easily prepared, and be on budget.
Weighing in at 140 lbs at 5'8, my goal is to get to 165 by the end of the year. After seven months of pushing my body and reaching 150lbs, I took a little more than a month off. Needless to say, I am humbled at how fast I lost ten pounds. Not only did my bench decrease, but so did my appetite!
Although a collection of amatuer research, by sharing what I've found I'm hoping more experienced users will contribute to this list, thus providing a narrower menu of information. Suprisingly, the articles for cheap bodybuilding foods are limited. By no means am I trying to provide advice to others. This is more a list I'd like others to edit before I make my first store run.
From what I've gathered, trying to be big on a budget has limited options, therefore this list isn't exactly long. I haven't included Whey protein..
The Bodybuilders Budget Grocery List:
- Tuna - High in protein. Canned. Reading mixed reviews on the dangers of mercury levels, the amount of tuna is a personal call. Recommend ingredients like celery or sauces to add zest.
- Nuts - . Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Peanuts, suprisignly, aren't considered nuts. Regardless, peanuts "have a very high protein content and a significant amounts of iron, zinc and magnesium. In particular, their high protein and iron content makes them an excellent replacement for red meat in any diet, particularly for vegans and vegetarians" (Anne Collins).
- Pasta - Contains carbs and easily prepared.
- Potatoes - Contains carbs
- Rice - Easily mixed when fried with eggs, beans, chicken, and corn, which are all gain-contributing foods.
- Chicken - Lean and protein. Having experienced plain chicken over an extended period of time, I've learned the healthiest ways to zest up chicken is to marinade in oils while using lemon peels, peppers, or cilantro. Also, chicken legs are an alternative.
- Beans - Protein. Any beans. Suprisingly, baked beans, with it's sugar volume, has appeared on multiple users lists as choice for meals.
- Eggs - Protein packed. Fried eggs have more bioavailable protein than boiled or raw.
- Peanut Butter - Protein.
- Whole Milk - Protein. According to StrongLifts: "1 gallon of milk indeed contains a lot of saturated fat. This is one of the reasons why GOMAD works so well at increasing mass. Saturated fat is high in cholesterol which increases testosterone production, thus more strength & muscle. "
Here are items I've found cost a little more, but provide essential nutrients to those willing to indulge. Bagged vegetables and fruits are easy to prepare, store, and still retain close to their original nutrition value!
- Fruits - Essential vitamins and minerals needed for repair and chemical balance. I haven't seen fruits on many budget lists, but have concluded I will drop a few more bucks to keep something as healthy and sweet-tasting as fruits in my daily diet.
- Lettuce/Cabbage - [I]Vitamins and minerals. A natural kimchi eater by birth (half Korean), spicy fermented cabbage has a newfound place in my diet, and therefore my heart.[I]
- Flax Seed Oil - Healthier than Olive Oil. Contains necessary Omega fatty acids the body needs to repair itself.
- +Corn, Avacados, Cottage Cheese, Yams, and bacon.
I'm going to put this list to the test by shopping within the next week. I'll upload the end price so people can have an idea of general prices (or at least the charge in Southern Arizona).
Please provide suggestions. This list is based on results from forum scouring, article reading, and random Google results clicking, so please provide personal experiences!
Much gratitude amigos.
Last edited by Baloo72; 07-25-2009 at 04:21 PM.
Nice list. I've read that in my endeavors for cheap groceries. My goal for this thread, however, is a quick, essential guide to the low-priced foods that provide high values in nutrients. The entire second half of that list seemed more like luxuries on a budget like mine.
Why not peanuts? And milk is pretty damn cheap.
Great thread. Not only is it good to have a cheap item list but to have a list of protein rich foods so readily available is such a helpful tool.
Last edited by Jboy; 07-19-2009 at 02:12 AM.
Peanuts are actually considered legumes. When typing out the list I meant for it to translate as, "Peanuts aren't actually considered nuts," instead of my vague, "not peanuts."
And milk should have been on there.
One interesting point:
I found that two corndogs (a box of 18 is around $6) provide 14g of protein. Tuna provides 13g.
Does this mean that two corndogs are a secret cheap source of protein, or is there some "trans-fat" or other factor I'm not aware of that comes in play in the balance of breaking down the protein?
Last edited by Baloo72; 07-23-2009 at 09:02 PM.
Ground beef is cheaper than chicken and possibly more beneficial as it contains more fats and more vitamins and minerals. I also don't buy cheap chicken as I disagree with most factory farming. Just a personal thing.
Beef mince and pork make up most of my meat intake while I'm at university.
Good quality pork sausages are still very cheap and not overly processed. Good quality bacon is also quite cheap in terms of calories/cost.
For a quick shot of protein (and if you're bulking) after a hard workout I enjoy goin to McDonalds and ordering one McDouble and then one to two McChickens without mayo. Then I take the chicken from the two sandwichs and put them on the McDouble. This way you don't have to intake all that bread and get a decent little shot of protein and calories for 3 bucks.
Also, I went to the Culinary Institute of America for a semester before realizing it wasn't for me. In the fish and seafood class (pretty much cleaning a variety of fish) the chef believed whole heartedly that mercury in fish cannot hurt you at all unless you eat tuna/fish 3 times a day, every meal for a year. There has never been a single death in the history of the world attributed to mercury from fish consumption. Also no losses of unborn babies have been attributed to fish. Point in case, you have to consume an ungodly amount of fish and I can assure you Americans don't consume enough to worry about it. If you were to see any problems with mercury it would be from following the Mediterranian diet pyramid and even then nothing has been reported from it.
You definitely don't want to be eating corn dogs as a "protein" source lol.
Pretty good list OP.
I find that 16 8oz servings of milk for ~$2.50 is not a bad deal.
Where I am from tuna is $1 per can. Not bad for protein but 100 cals for 1 dollar isn't the best ratio out there.
I need to find cheap tuna and stockpile 500 cans.
It will vary depending on your location, but I get smoked mackerel very cheap.
You are recommended to eat oily fish 2-3 times a week for good health. They're already smoked so you can eat them cold, have them with salads, break into sauces. Very versatile, quick, tasty, healthy and a nice source of protein. I usually eat two fillets at a time about twice a week. good for a bulk too because of the high fat levels.
I switch between boneless skinless chicken breast and tuna. I get about 200g of protein/day from either source depending on the week. I also buy pecans and walnuts by the pound and mix them up in equal ratio and eat at least a half a cup a day of those. I'm thinking about switching to almonds from pecans because they are cheaper.
400(335) Bench Press
600(520x3 2xBW) Dead Lift
500(495x1) ATG Squat
365 Front Squat
consistency and intensity.