T Nation

Beefhard on a Budget


#1

Hello.

I'm beginning a several month long quest to gain more weight. I'd like to compete soon but I dont think I have the mass I'd like to in specific regions as of yet. (I welcome any advice in my RMP thread, btw)

I, however, am afflicted by an ailment: Broke-itis.

I've been struggling with this disease most of my life, which makes gaining weight fairly difficult when you need consume 4000+ calories on the daily.

So my question is this, does anyone have any recommendations for cheap, caloric dense foods?

I'm marginally concerned about macros, but how processed, what kind of preservatives, etc, not so much. I realize the benefit of certain choices over others, yet we must pick our battles. For example, despite having a much better fatty acid make-up, I think grass-fed beef is off the menu for me and most in my price range, (think <50 per week if Im lucky, not counting whey protein and some low-grade fish oil which I refuse to do without.)

Now this is not to say I'm unfamiliar with gaining weight, or losing it for that matter, I'm simply wondering if anyone has any suggestions. Bear in mind things like eggs, milk, peanut butter are healthy staples but even those get expensive when you are downing 1/2 gal of milk or 10+ eggs every day.

Honorable mention goes to Kroger's brand Mac&Cheese. Family pack for $6. 12 boxes of around 1000-1200 calories each! Over 2000 calories for a dollar! I dare someone to one up that.


#2

unless you are king kong you dont need 4000+ to gain muscle. Also binging on mac and cheese will make you gain weight, not muscle, weight.


#3

Sigh, there was a reason I did not initially post this in the nutrition topic.

Please don’t assume I’m unsure of my calorie requirements (very high volume)

And by itself of course it wont pile on muscle, but protein + carbs + bodily need of repair will.


#4

[quote]c.m.l. wrote:
So my question is this, does anyone have any recommendations for cheap, caloric dense foods?
[/quote]
Milk, peanut butter, and eggs as you mentioned…

Cheap Meat:
Whole Chickens (<$1 per pound)
Bone in chicken thighs and drums (my store has 10 thighs for $5.50 right now)
Chicken Gizzards
Ground beef (80/20)
Flap Meat
Ground Turkey
Turkey Legs
Most cuts of pork (Except ribs and bacon)

Other cheap sh*t
Potatoes
Rice
Noodles
Sauces made of oils
Produce (Anything under $1 per pound should fit the bill)

Basically buying in bulk is going to save you a ton of money. Bulk rice and potatoes are cheap as hell and the larger the package of meat the better the price/pound should be. Most stores also have a discount meat section where they mark down items that will expire in less than 48 hours.


#5

Sounds good.

Flap meat instantly made me think of testicles… but the other stuff looks good.

The thing with meat is that, ironically, I have a sensitive palate for it: when I buy it I cook it immediately. When I make it in bulk it has a short life in the 'fridge before I cant eat it, and freezing sometimes ruins texture, however I’m also not the best cook, and I imagine there are techniques to fix it.

I could see myself figuring out a palatable form of fried chicken with moderately healthy breading/oil.

Can you think of any non-starchy produce that still yields decent calories? Or more to the point something with color to it? The few instances I have money I’ll juice loads of vegetables but thats awfully expensive. For calories I might have better luck looking toward fruit. If I recall, canned fruit in heavy syrup has a big HFCS load to it, and still may provide some albeit not all of the benefits of fruits.


#6

[quote]c.m.l. wrote:
Flap meat instantly made me think of testicles… but the other stuff looks good.[/quote]
That’s telling… Flap meat always makes me think of women;)

[quote]
The thing with meat is that, ironically, I have a sensitive palate for it: when I buy it I cook it immediately. When I make it in bulk it has a short life in the 'fridge before I cant eat it, and freezing sometimes ruins texture, however I’m also not the best cook, and I imagine there are techniques to fix it.[/quote]

Get a slow cooker. Big cuts of pork melt like butter in the crock-pot and chicken never dries out as long as you use a sauce like cream of mushroom or dried soup mixes and a little water.

Better yet get a slow cooker recipe book off of Amazon for a couple bucks, well worth it.


#7

Beef hard on

Flap meat

…what the hell is going on in here??


#8

Macaroni will require other ingredients. I’ll use whole milk, butter and olive oil to add calories, and hot sauce to make it easier to eat.

Oatmeal is about 7% more calorie dense than macaroni, and less expensive, but can be very difficult to eat a lot of. It will also require other ingredients.

Adding olive oil will add a lot of calories, and it’s about as calorie dense as it gets, but it gets expensive. It makes some big meals easier for me to consume though.

Butter, sunflower seeds and peanut butter are way up there too, but are also somewhat expensive and not great to eat a lot of. Nutella is less calorie dense, but so much easier to eat a lot of.

There are other foods, but I’m going to go straight to recommending rice. Maybe it’s because I’m part asian, but I think it tastes great as filler in a meal, and it’s dirt cheap if you buy it in 25+ pound bags. When I was in the military several years ago, my monthly budget for food was only around $80 because it was mostly rice.

Beware of focusing too much on calorie dense foods. It’s not like you’re carrying it on your back with a bunch of other gear and walking 30+ miles every day in the mountains. All you have to do is eat it, and how palatable the food is is much more significant than how calorie dense it is.


#9

That was thought #2. Genitals of either sex certainly don’t sound appealing to eat. Whipped cream, honey, and chocolate sauce not withstanding.

Thanks for the advice fellas. Can’t do oatmeal, makes me feel like sun-baked garbage, at least in the quantities I’d be eating it. Rice sounds good, and any way I can prepare cheaper cuts of meat is always nice.

Buying in super-bulk like Sam’s Club would be kickass but my only transport is a motorcycle so every week I’m limited to whatever cache I can throw in my backpack and sling around my arms.

Oils are awesome indeed, I used to just take shots of olive oil periodically. But olive oil is way expensive, and I cant off the top of my head think of a cheap replacement that still provides the same recuperative benefits that good fats do.


#10

Shop produce at farmers markets for cheap fruits and veggies. If there’s a trader
Joes in your area they have 2.5 pound bags of frozen chicken breast for like five
Bucks.


#11

Oatmeal eating tip: put your cup or half cup whatever you use then your milk then microwave then just scoop more dry oatmeal into it…I can’t remember where I read this but it was somewhere on here