T Nation

College Student Grocery List


So, I just moved into my new apartment.

I have a stove, fridge, freezer, Microwave.

My goal is to conserve money, while getting at least 5,000 calories per day.

So, I’ll start the list, please add anything you can think of that is both worth the price, and hopefully has multiple uses. (Ie EVOO would be a good example) Also, include any sort of special cooking supplies I would need, such as a large deep dish pan, or a large skillet, etc.

Not only will this help me, It should help all of the college kids out there who are into bodybuilding but are living on a college budget!

ill be folowing this

so far im cutting so i buy a lot of meat and seasonings. thats about it. cook the meat… throw on some seasoning, and then eat from pot/pan. less cleaning up and low carb! :stuck_out_tongue:

LIST:

Penne Pasta
Parmasean Cheese
Frozen Chicken Breasts
Tomato Sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Yogurt
2% or Whole Milk
Chop Steaks
Eggs

Deep Dish Pan
Skillet

Ground Beef

The really lean stuff is a little expensive but you can find 80% or 75% real cheap, especially if there is a sale. You can make burgers, meatloaf, and chili. Plus you can add some to omelettes, hotdogs, tacos, etc. The fat content means its going to be calorie dense and since you are young and bulking the fat should not be a concern for you. Plus its good for the hormones.

Cheese

You don’t need to get fancy. Look for sales on cheddar or swiss, even if its the store brand. Just make sure it is cheese, not “cheese food product”, and make sure you are not paying a premium because it is pre-sliced, individually packaged, or whatever. Cheese is good as a snack (or even a meal with crackers or bread) on its own, but also makes a good topping on salads, omelettes, tacos, burgers, etc.

Bacon

Tends to often be on sale fairly cheap, and usually one brand is as good as another. Makes everything better that its added too and packs on some calories everywhere it goes.

Personally, I use a non-stick pan to cook basically everything. I stick with fish and vegetables mostly. Tilapia filets have 21g protein for 98 calories fyi.

5000 calories sounds like a lot… are you bulking? I mean, you should really take into consideration the ratio of fats/carbs/protein/etc… 5000 calories of mcdonalds is a lot different that 5000 of clean food.

My suggestion is to add a mass gainer type supplement, as cooking 5000 calories worth of food would probably be pretty time consuming as opposed to just making a shake. Additionally, it would be more cost effective in the long run. Just my .02

Things to buy:

Eggs. Dozen a day, eaten raw with shakes because you will get sick of them after the first couple days. Drink these with cream for some extra cals.

Ground beef. I like to buy lean because it doesn’t cost that much more than regular. You can dump out /soak up the rest of the oil and it’s extra lean. This will be a huge source of your cals.

Canned Salmon: Don’t pay 4 bucks a can. There are places that sell 6 can packages for really cheap. Mix this with real mayo for extra cheap cals.

Oatmeal: If you want carbs, oatmeal is extremely cheap and also easier than rice to cook.

If you can find cheap nuts (preferably almonds), go for it. They are extremely handy for eating while at school. $1.10/100g or $3.85/oz is a good deal for almonds here.

Things not to buy:

Chicken/Turkey. Way too expensive for amount of cals

Deli meat: Way too expensive. One good bulking sanwich could easily cost you 4 bucks with this stuff.

Tuna: Not even worth your time to eat on 5000 cals a day lol.

Natural PB
Mixed nuts/Walnuts etc
Tuna

Instant Brown Rice
Canned Tuna
Black Beans
Frozen Vegetables
Olive Oil
Hot Sauce
Soy Sauce

If you have a super target in your area you can get 2 lbs (32 oz = 5120 cals) of almonds for $10. Also natty pb is a good one, $2.50 a jar for smuckers natty pb (1 jar = 2940 cals). Heavy cream is pretty calorie dense and fairly cheap (add it to your coffee if you drink it instead of half and half or milk).

-Sacks of Potatoes
-Bags of rice

last long and great sources of starch when applied appropriately.

-like said above, 70%-85% ground beef can be had in my area for as low as .50 on sale.

-Bulk eggs. Eggs can be used in almost anything.

-Depending on your grocery, head to the deli section around 9-930. I’ve picked up whole roasted chickens for 1 dollar a piece and 6 baked chicken leg quarters for 1.50. they may be dry, but suck it up. I usually throw the stripped meat in a pot with tomatoes, water and veggies to make a hearty stew

-Close to expire butcher block meats can be had for great prices as well.

-Bulk frozen veggies.

Cottage cheese
Whole wheat pasta(not much more $ than regular)
Tuna is cheap!
Sweet Potatoes

[quote]StimacINC wrote:

Personally, I use a non-stick pan to cook basically everything. I stick with fish and vegetables mostly. Tilapia filets have 21g protein for 98 calories fyi.

5000 calories sounds like a lot… are you bulking? I mean, you should really take into consideration the ratio of fats/carbs/protein/etc… 5000 calories of mcdonalds is a lot different that 5000 of clean food.

My suggestion is to add a mass gainer type supplement, as cooking 5000 calories worth of food would probably be pretty time consuming as opposed to just making a shake. Additionally, it would be more cost effective in the long run. Just my .02[/quote]

You could start by ignoring this idiotic drivel!

[quote]StimacINC wrote:

Personally, I use a non-stick pan to cook basically everything. I stick with fish and vegetables mostly. Tilapia filets have 21g protein for 98 calories fyi.

5000 calories sounds like a lot… are you bulking? I mean, you should really take into consideration the ratio of fats/carbs/protein/etc… 5000 calories of mcdonalds is a lot different that 5000 of clean food.

My suggestion is to add a mass gainer type supplement, as cooking 5000 calories worth of food would probably be pretty time consuming as opposed to just making a shake. Additionally, it would be more cost effective in the long run. Just my .02[/quote]

Can I buy some pot from you?

No offense to most of the people posting, but the big problem I see is calorie density.

I am going on the assumption that he is bulking. He needs foods that maximize calories and micro-nutrients while minimizing cost, and ideally maximizing utility (i.e. they are useful foods in a variety of dishes).

Butter

Makes everything taste better (including women), and can be had cheaply. Plenty of calories obviously.

Frozen Veggies

Look for sales and/or lower bulk prices on frozen veggies. These will last for years and can often be had for cheaper than fresh. The nutrient retention is as good or better than fresh, and much better than canned. You can saute with them for meat, veggie, grain dishes, throw some in an omelette, or just steam some in the microwave as a side dish.

You don’t want to be throwing food away. That is throwing money away. When you are young this happens a lot (I am still doing it and I am 24). You will probably find that meal plans change because you go out with friends, have less time then planned to prepare food, or just have a change of appetite. Frozen veggies and freezing any meat you are not going to use immediately, are both good ideas.

Some other tips:

Don’t buy grains too far ahead, especially if you do not have air tight containers. Grains can go bad and also can become infested by bugs.

Don’t buy nuts too far ahead, especially de-shelled in bulk. Nuts go rancid very easily, and can also become infested like grains.

Don’t buy meat more than a couple days ahead unless you freeze most of it.

Don’t buy fresh spinach more than a couple days ahead. I find that fresh spinach goes bad very easily. I have seen it come into my store already wilting on occasion. Rarely do I get more than a day or two out of a package at home, especially once it is opened.

Stock up on sales. If you see a good sale on a staple food item that you use a lot of and that won’t spoil, buy the hell out of it. This week one of the chains in my area has sales on slivered almonds, frozen steamer broccoli bags, organic salad dressing, chicken thighs, natural peanut butter, and shredded cheese. Big score for me. When I see ground beef on sale I buy 40+ lbs at a time and freeze it in 1/2 lb chunks.

[quote]StimacINC wrote:

Personally, I use a non-stick pan to cook basically everything. I stick with fish and vegetables mostly. Tilapia filets have 21g protein for 98 calories fyi.

5000 calories sounds like a lot… are you bulking? I mean, you should really take into consideration the ratio of fats/carbs/protein/etc… 5000 calories of mcdonalds is a lot different that 5000 of clean food.

My suggestion is to add a mass gainer type supplement, as cooking 5000 calories worth of food would probably be pretty time consuming as opposed to just making a shake. Additionally, it would be more cost effective in the long run. Just my .02[/quote]

Yes, sir, I am bulking. Are you sure there is a difference between 5000 calories of McDonald’s and 5000 Calories of clean food? I thought mcDonald’s IS clean???

[quote]Moon Knight wrote:
No offense to most of the people posting, but the big problem I see is calorie density.

I am going on the assumption that he is bulking. He needs foods that maximize calories and micro-nutrients while minimizing cost, and ideally maximizing utility (i.e. they are useful foods in a variety of dishes).

Butter

Makes everything taste better (including women), and can be had cheaply. Plenty of calories obviously.

Frozen Veggies

Look for sales and/or lower bulk prices on frozen veggies. These will last for years and can often be had for cheaper than fresh. The nutrient retention is as good or better than fresh, and much better than canned. You can saute with them for meat, veggie, grain dishes, throw some in an omelette, or just steam some in the microwave as a side dish.

You don’t want to be throwing food away. That is throwing money away. When you are young this happens a lot (I am still doing it and I am 24). You will probably find that meal plans change because you go out with friends, have less time then planned to prepare food, or just have a change of appetite. Frozen veggies and freezing any meat you are not going to use immediately, are both good ideas.

Some other tips:

Don’t buy grains too far ahead, especially if you do not have air tight containers. Grains can go bad and also can become infested by bugs.

Don’t buy nuts too far ahead, especially de-shelled in bulk. Nuts go rancid very easily, and can also become infested like grains.

Don’t buy meat more than a couple days ahead unless you freeze most of it.

Don’t buy fresh spinach more than a couple days ahead. I find that fresh spinach goes bad very easily. I have seen it come into my store already wilting on occasion. Rarely do I get more than a day or two out of a package at home, especially once it is opened.

Stock up on sales. If you see a good sale on a staple food item that you use a lot of and that won’t spoil, buy the hell out of it. This week one of the chains in my area has sales on slivered almonds, frozen steamer broccoli bags, organic salad dressing, chicken thighs, natural peanut butter, and shredded cheese. Big score for me. When I see ground beef on sale I buy 40+ lbs at a time and freeze it in 1/2 lb chunks.[/quote]

Yeah, I am bulking. This thread isn’t just for me though, I think it could help lots of college kids bulking or cutting.

My problem is, I don’t have room to freeze 40lbs of meat, I only have a fridge/freezer combo. Granted I can freeze some.

Sorry for my ignorance, but I don’t have a grill. What is the best way to cook meat without a grill?

I have a stove and a george foreman. and an oven.

I like the taste of chicken cooked better on a frying pan with some oil than on the grill.

[quote]kayveeay wrote:
Moon Knight wrote:
No offense to most of the people posting, but the big problem I see is calorie density.

I am going on the assumption that he is bulking. He needs foods that maximize calories and micro-nutrients while minimizing cost, and ideally maximizing utility (i.e. they are useful foods in a variety of dishes).

Butter

Makes everything taste better (including women), and can be had cheaply. Plenty of calories obviously.

Frozen Veggies

Look for sales and/or lower bulk prices on frozen veggies. These will last for years and can often be had for cheaper than fresh. The nutrient retention is as good or better than fresh, and much better than canned. You can saute with them for meat, veggie, grain dishes, throw some in an omelette, or just steam some in the microwave as a side dish.

You don’t want to be throwing food away. That is throwing money away. When you are young this happens a lot (I am still doing it and I am 24). You will probably find that meal plans change because you go out with friends, have less time then planned to prepare food, or just have a change of appetite. Frozen veggies and freezing any meat you are not going to use immediately, are both good ideas.

Some other tips:

Don’t buy grains too far ahead, especially if you do not have air tight containers. Grains can go bad and also can become infested by bugs.

Don’t buy nuts too far ahead, especially de-shelled in bulk. Nuts go rancid very easily, and can also become infested like grains.

Don’t buy meat more than a couple days ahead unless you freeze most of it.

Don’t buy fresh spinach more than a couple days ahead. I find that fresh spinach goes bad very easily. I have seen it come into my store already wilting on occasion. Rarely do I get more than a day or two out of a package at home, especially once it is opened.

Stock up on sales. If you see a good sale on a staple food item that you use a lot of and that won’t spoil, buy the hell out of it. This week one of the chains in my area has sales on slivered almonds, frozen steamer broccoli bags, organic salad dressing, chicken thighs, natural peanut butter, and shredded cheese. Big score for me. When I see ground beef on sale I buy 40+ lbs at a time and freeze it in 1/2 lb chunks.

Yeah, I am bulking. This thread isn’t just for me though, I think it could help lots of college kids bulking or cutting.

My problem is, I don’t have room to freeze 40lbs of meat, I only have a fridge/freezer combo. Granted I can freeze some.

Sorry for my ignorance, but I don’t have a grill. What is the best way to cook meat without a grill?

I have a stove and a george foreman. and an oven.

[/quote]

A George Foreman is a grill. That is the only type of grill I ever have used. I used it a ton in college and still quite a bit now.

Other then that, the most common method is to heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan and cook each side in the oil. Small chunks of meat or ground beef can be sauteed in a little oil, or just browned (i.e. sauteed without oil) for use in soup, chili, stir fry, and meat/veggie/grain dishes. Larger pieces of meat (e.g. roasts, lamb legs, chickens, cornish hens, pork butts, etc) would be roasted in the oven.

This will generally take several hours, plus some preparation (applying a seasoning rub, rubbing butter under the skin of chickens, slicing garlic cloves to stick in lamb, slice veggies to roast in the drippings, making a glaze, etc.). You won’t need to watch the roast the whole time but every 30-60 minutes you will usually have to baste the roast with the drippings and/or glaze to keep it moist and make sure the flavor really sinks in.

If you had a free day where you were just going to study for several hours anyway you could get a roast fairly cheap, cook it, and have enough food for several days down the road, or for a nice dinner with friends. If you do save some for future days, make sure you let the meat cool and then wrap it tightly or seal it in an airtight container. Don’t let it sit out too long but don’t put it in the fridge warm either.

Also, store the drippings/glaze separate if you intend to have a little for a gravy and be aware that the fat will separate. Warming it back up will allow you to mix it again.

Buy a crock pot and make a whole pot full of chili (Dr. John’s chili is a good recipe to start with: http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=2237533 ). All you need to do is throw all the shit in the corck and let it cook all day, then it’ll be good to go when you get home, plus you’ll have a bunch of it left to eat for days.

I am a grad student, but started living and cooking on my own a year ago. Here’s my advice:

Get a member ship to a store like sam’s club. It’s $40 for a year membership to Sam’s club.

Things of Note at Sam’s Club:
-6lbs bag of frozen chicken Breats (about $13)
-3lbs bag of almonds ($11)
-3lbs bag of Walnuts ($13)
-Beef Roast
-Ground Meats
-Steak

I make a trip to Sam’s Club once a month to purchase the above and whatever else strikes my fancy. Sometimes I buy beef roasts there, sometimes not.

My Weeky Grocery list:
Produce:
Bananas
2x broccoli (about a 1 gallon plastic bag full)
Green Peppers
Apples
Oranges
etc. Other fruits and veggies as sales dictate

Meat: (most of this I bought at Sam’s and it’s waiting to be used)
at least a pound of beef (ground or steak)
3 cans of tuna
a pound of ground turkey

Dairy:
3 dozen eggs
32oz of full fat cheese

Frozen:
couple pounds of frozen Green Beans
a frozen Veggie mix
4x 4oz. Fillets of frozen Wild Caught Salmon (best deal price wise)

Other:
1 jar natty PB
Raisins
spices, etc.

Hope this helps! Keep in mind it’s going to be CRAZY EXPENSIVE the first few trips as you buy onces a month type things like olive oil and spices. Small things like that can really jack up the bill. Be prepared.

I don’t think there’s any shame in having a protein shake for a meal. That said, I wouldn’t get too carried away. 2-3 scoops of protein/day would be reasonable, I think.

Other than that, things like a crockpot that you can throw literally anything into and have it turn out delicious are handy.

Also, anything you make will taste better if it’s cooked in a pan on the stove top than on the george foreman.

If you need more calories, look to add calories dense things like peanut butter and olive oil. Almonds and Walnuts are pretty calorie dense as well. Old fashioned oatmeal is hella cheap.

Good luck!
-CD