T Nation



I am a college student and as most students are, I am on a strict budget. I am on the T-Dawg 2.0 diet as of now and that is one of the more friendly diets in terms of cost. Since I weigh 160 lbs, my diet contains 240g or more of protein daily. With this much protein I would say 100g of this comes from supplements. Three protein shakes and one MRP a day. The other 140g or so comes from a majority of milk, eggs, meat, tuna, and jerky. I just got back from the store and bought cottage cheese and I will try my luck with the taste of that.

My questions are as follow:
1) Am I better off adding more MRP's or shakes in my diet to reach my goal?

2) What are some cheap foods or meals that contain a lot of protein that other T-men and vixens use in their diet?

Thanks for yall's help!


Tuna, canned salmon, frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts in the large bag, turkey is cheap too.

For meals one of my favorite easy ones is a chicken caeser salad. One (or two) chicken breasts cooked and cut into strips. Half a head (depending on size) of romaine or other darker green lettuce, and some caeser dressing. You can add some grated parmesean cheese or I also like the nonfat shredded cheddar cheese. If you're making it ahead of time keep the dressing separate until right before you eat it.

I like fish so this may not be for you if you don't. I mix a can of sardines in either olive oil or mustard dill sauce with a can of either tuna or salmon. You get plenty of protein and some good fats that way. That meal runs $1.09+$1.89 = $2.98 at my local supermarket. I use solid pack albacore because you get a lot more fish for the buck that way.


MRPs and Protein powders actually end up being more expensive than many of the high protein food meals. And since food protein has benefits like natural creatine, and good fats (depending on the source), there's added benefit. Plus, MRPs and Whey Protein can lead to allergies, and disstension (gas). Read JB's Ressurgence...it's touched on there. I'd say cut back on the powders and eat some food. (I too am in the same boat, but Cottage cheese, Tuna, chicken breast, lean ground beef, and other good sources are the same price or cheaper per serving as powders.)


one more thing is that most shakes just dont touch the sides. im still starving after a normal shake. most mrps are ok but the carbs have to come into account. so i prefer meat to shake when dieting and get in two shake a day (breakfast [cause im always late] and postworkout)
a good option is your new found friend, cottage cheese (lite ofcourse) with some whey, (maybe some metamucil or flaxoil) and splenda and blended (you cant shake that shit).
way more filling than standard shakes, cheaper and about 45-50grams protein with about 6g CHO.

If you are buying meat buy in bulk and when stuff is on special buy large (tuna, chicken, blade steak etc)


Some cheap protein sources:

eggs, canned tuna, chicken breast (bulk, on sale), and beef (bulk, on sale). Make sure to get lean beef.


I have to agree. If you rely on protein shakes/MRP's for more than a couple of meals a day you're going to be ravenous all day long. Unless of course you plan on eating every two hours. Most animal protein sources turn out to be better economic choices as well as filling you up much longer. I've cut back my protein shakes to post-workout and bedtime only. The rest of the day is all regular food. It can be a pain if you don't like to cook, but that problem is easily solved if you pick one day each week to prepare the majority of your meals that require baking, etc. The only protein source I've found that comes close to animal sources in terms of cost is the 5lb tubs of whey concentrate, but you obviously don't want to live off that stuff exclusively so save your money and put it where it'll count.


There's a great article by Eric Cressey at Berardi's website regarding this very topic. Go check it out.


I buy lots of chicken when it's on sale and freeze it. You can buy whole chikens for about $2 when they are on sale (i.e. when they've been sitting around :-)).

Beef is expensive, but you can buy hamburger meat on sale which will be the cheapest form.

Also.. organ meat is really healthy esp. liver, and super cheap because no one wants it, but you have to develop a taste for it and learn some recipes.

Also, for cottage cheese, I hate the taste but I eat tons of it. I mix it with fruits mainly for P+C meals, or with peanut butter for P+F (I use "Real" peanut butter , which is the lowest carb natural PB I could find (16g F, 5g C, 10g P, 3g fib), but that is $3.15 a jar).


You cheeseball, I already answered that one. But.. to the top anyway..



Nice, Merrow! You're in the fan club with Timbo and Brent now!


I wanted to post the link when I saw this, because it brings me joy. But then I thought "Brent, why not spread the joy around?" And, of course, we get a new inductee into the fan club. sniffle It brings a tear to my eye. Welcome Merrow.

Hey, Merrow. He called the shit poop.




Merrow, I'm sorry, but no milk will ever be our milk.


A note about cottage cheese: I notice a big difference among the various brands out there. For example, I hate the taste of Breakstone's, but I really enjoy Clover Stornetta (may be a regional brand). Bottom line: try a few different brands--you may find one you like.




I agree 100%. Local brands vary with taste - Friendship is very salty tasting, whereas some other brands like Axelrod and Food Club are great. (North Jersey)



HEY NOW....I thought I was part of the EC fan club too!!! EC said I was, EC said I was!!! Shit, throw me a freakin bone will ya?...;o)


Are these prices good for meat, I'm new at this.

1.99/lb Bnls, Sklns Chicken Breast
2.99/lb Silverbrite Salmon

Any general parameters you guys use? I don't belong to CostCo, Sam's, et. al.



chrisb71 - Admittedly organ meat tends to be leaner, but is liver really good for you? I was under the impression that the liver was essentially a filter for toxins, and that eating it was a great way to ingest the accumulated crap that another organism had filtered out. If you're going to go for organs, wouldn't something like beef heart be better?