T Nation

eating on a budget

For about 6 weeks this summer I’ll be living alone and cooking for myself on a budget (normally I’m either at home or college). I was wondering what suggestions people had about foods/cooking on a budget/limited time and no microwave. I was thinking a lot of pasta, tuna, eggs for starters. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

chicken,burgers,oatmeal,grilled veggies…point being get a grill and your set!!! London broil!!

If you have a grill, a fridge and a big sharp knife:

Buy big cuts of meat from a wholesale butcher (e.g. legs, ribs, shoulders etc) and then cut them up into steaks as you see fit. Also packaged sauerkraut is a cheap and easy vegetable source you can eat this raw or grilled.

Get some cheap bulking foods such as:

Peanut butter
olive oil

Mike Mahler

hey bud,
good luck with your diet and I have been through a similar experience that lasted a bit longer and the way me and my partner did it was by visiting costco or food max, buying a lot of pasta and then ground beef (those things that look like logs) and eggs.

You can always cook the pasta and beef and have it for every damn meal if you dont like cooking every day.

Add veggies of sorts (they are mostly very cheap) for variety.

Go to Costco man. My buddy gets 11 chicken breasts for $14 there.

Get to know and love the “cheapie” stores in your area. Here they’re called ALDI’s. You can get some great stuff at very cheap prices; bags of chicken, plain salad mixes, zero carb juice mixes… ect. One day you should just go price shopping at chain stores and cheapies, you can get some great deals if you look. Hope this helps.

tuna, frozen and fresh veggies, eggs, oats, pasta, well pretty much every natural source of food that should be staples of your diet everyday anyway. Meat. Cheese. Canned salmon.

Just eat up on quick quality source.

Dunno about eating on a budget, I’m fortunate enough not to have to sweat that too much. But as far as quick and easy with no microwave, there’s all kinds of stuff you can do… actually you’re lucky you won’t have a microwave, the taste buds will appreciate it.

Eggs are always convenient and easy. It’s good to keep hard cooked eggs on hand… I would say hard-boiled, but I actually prefer steaming mine (for 14 minutes- they come out perfect). That way you can just grab a couple and eat them plain, or you can make a bunch of egg salad and deviled eggs to have around.

Tuna’s great too. Like with the eggs, I prefer to make tuna salad. I’ve done the eating tuna straight out the can thing for quick protein, but it gets old REAL fast. I mix mine with a little mayo (you could find a lower cal dressing, but I just use enough mayo to get it a little moist), some walnuts, dill, radish, celery, a spoonful of pickle relish and some salt and it tastes awesome. You can also make quick stovetop tuna-noodle cassaroles.

Meat is way easy… just figure out a formula that works and you’ll be cranking it out like a machine. Thing is NOT to fiddle with it. Find a cooking time that works and all you need to do is place in pan, wait, flip, wait, done. Like I cooked a piece of skirt steak last night. Heated a cast-iron skillet over medium high while I put a light coating of oil, salt and pepper on the steak. Threw it in the pan and set a timer for 3.5 minutes. Flipped. Another 3.5 minutes. Perfectly done (for me; a nice medium rare), but I let it rest a few minutes before I cut it so the juices don’t spill out. But once you know how long to cook it on each side, there’s really no work involed in cooking. You can do the same thing with burgers, chicken breasts, whatever once you find a cooking time that you like.

Most important thing is to learn how to cook and have fun… I’ll probably catch hell from the other T-Men, but watch FoodTV, read cookbooks, and get a feel for how the process works. Always think about how you can make your food taste better instead of just mechanically filling your body with nutrients.

I think learning about cooking is one of the best things you can do if you’re really into health and fitness… Eating a clean diet is all fine and good, but what’s the fun if it all tastes like shiat? With a little knowledge and practice you’ll be able to make better food than a lot of restaurants and take-out places, but you’ll know Exactly what went into your food and what it’ll be doing to your body.


Where I’m at the biggest bang for the buck is

Cottage Cheese and Eggs for cheap Protein. Even Low Carb Grow at these new prices is cheaper per gram of protein than cottage cheese.

Boneless Skinless Breasts WHEN THEY ARE ON SALE FOR $1.99/LB. The sales don’t happen that often but when they do I’ll buy 50 lbs worth.

Canned Tuna–On sale, buy a lot of it.

And well steak, ground turkey, or 95% lean ground beef, but this will cost you more per gram of protein than the others. Use these as a treat.

Cooking, I used to (when I worked construction) put the chicken breasts and cook them in the microwave. It was quick and easy. Don’t worry they don’t get tough. I think it takes about 5 minutes.

Then I just got those veggie dip bowls at the grocery store. You know raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and celery. I’d eat the chicken breast and the veggies. My whole lunch and afternoon snack took me 10 minutes to prepare.

Actually, carb wise is pretty cheap. You can get oatmeal, rice, pasta pretty cheap. The real expense is protein. And if you look at it, Low Carb Grow is pretty cheap. 2 scoops (40grams protein) comes out to $1.44 per serving! That comes out cheaper or as cheap as a can of tuna(and they only have 37.5 grams of protein per can)!!! And chicken and steak are usually more than that so protein wise LC GROW is a bargain!

How is that for a plug for Biotest and GROW?