T Nation

Living on My Own, Food Help

Hey guys about me:

21 years old
6’ feet tall
212lbs

I’ve always been an ectomorph but currently I’m about 13-14% BF. I just moved down to Southern California for college so I’m now living on my own. I’m wondering what foods I should be buying and if I should get some protein and make my own bulking shakes. I’m thinking about getting up to about 225 in the morning, then to cut down to about 205 at a lower BF. What do you guys think would be a good weight for my height?

Also right now, I’m not on any supplements and all I’ve been buying is brown rice, greek yogurt, chicken thighs, and chicken breasts, and the occasional sandwich. Looking for some variety and because I’m on a budget wondering if protein would be a smart buy for some extra calories? (I’d be throwing in PB and oats in my shakes)

Thinking about buying some mono, fish oil, and protein but wondering if I should do so because of my account balance lol

There’s an old article here “Nutrition for Newbies” explain alot for you, also "GSU barbell Hub has some threads on gaining muscle on a budget, hope some of this helps

went and snooped around the old GSUbarbell’s Hub, and the thread is called “Poor mans guide to getting strong and huge” latter

Read the thread. Some good info in there. I might have to go get some different variations of meat. As chicken on the stove top is getting really old… I’ll go buy some milk also. I was eating like this at home, and I got up to 216 from 201 but I swear, more than half that weight was fat. It’s crazy too how the illusion of being cut vs not works also. I looked bigger to myself at 180 and cut than I do now at 212 and not so cut… Brings down my motivation a little bit, but I know I need to gain fat to grow quickly

I would say that buying “protein” would be a good idea…how else will you reach your protein target for the day? How about carb staples? Rice, oats, bread, poptarts, gatorade powder, fruit, potatoes, to name a few

You have no reason to worry about your weight unless you are competing, either in bodybuilding or powerlifting. If you’re approach is as casual as “I’m thinking about going up to 225…” I can guarantee that you will not be 14% bodyfat when you get there, even if you plan on cutting afterwards it’s not worth it IMO. What I would strongly recommend doing is focusing on your strength. By doing this, you will get bigger, and you will have the ability to put more size on later because you’ll be able to put up more weight.

But whatever your goals are when it comes to your eating, fulfill your macros for the day through whatever foods you can afford, if you have the ability to get a costco or sam’s club membership, get one so you can buy your foods in bulk, you will spend more at the store while you’re there, but you will be spending less money on your food altogether. Eggs are great because they’re cheap and good for you. At costco you can get 7 dozen for 9 dollars.

Also, I recommend ezekiel bread. If you don’t eat out a lot and you buy your food smart, you can get what you need even on a budget. I think it is a good idea to make shakes, if you can’t afford protein powder, buy pasteurized egg whites and use them. It sounds bad but it’s not it just absorbs the flavor of whatever you mix it with. Sample shake, 1 Frozen banana, 2 tablespoons natty PB, 1 cup eggwhites, half cup oats, 3 ice cubes, you’ve got yourself a solid shake. I would throw in maybe a tablespoon of chocolate syrup if I didn’t have any protein to mix in, but even withuot it it still tastes good.

Have that when you wake up, plus some cooked eggs, and that’s a solid meal. I worked at GNC for a year, and I’m very confident when I say that supplements are not necessities, a good multi is important, and fishoil is helpful, along with protein powder, but your results are going to come from your diet and training, not whether you are taking N.O. explode pre and blox intra workout followed by dark matter

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:
I would say that buying “protein” would be a good idea…how else will you reach your protein target for the day? How about carb staples? Rice, oats, bread, poptarts, gatorade powder, fruit, potatoes, to name a few[/quote]

poptarts? Maybe before a heavy squat or deadlift day, but I never knew anyone who considered thm a carb staple lol. It would be pretty great if it was.

You can buy sweet potatos 10 of them for 10 bucks and all you have to do is throw them in the microwave…shhhh zam

Cost of food and supplements is a big issue for me with 2 mortgages (2 jobs) and a 1 year old - money is tighter than Miley Cyrus’ latex bikini.

What I do now is stick to basics - no designer branded supplements - I buy in bulk bags (5kgs) and steer clear of things like BCAAs and even pre-workouts which are fine if you can afford them but I can’t say I miss then when I’m not on them.

Eggs, tinned tuna and ground beef are my main choices for protein. I also drink milk and have store brand low fat greek yog. Oats are a favourite too - I like oatmeal but also make a mean whey and oat pancake. My son even loves them. For fat sources, I go for peanut butter, whole raw nuts (Asian supermarkets seem to sell these in bulk often) and olive oil. Buying olive oil that is NOT extra virgin is way cheaper.

Some good advice for you here OP, as far as body fat I’ve always made my best gains around 15%, and wouldn’t want to ever get past 20%. I’m not a BBer but have also always believed a weightlifter should diet down to see his abs at least once a year. These parameters are what I’ve based my diet and strength goals around for the last 20yrs without having to be to anal with food.

The point being that a little extra weight can help in the gym, but it’s not an excuse to become a dough boy. Sometimes in the off season I can feel a little bloated (girlfriend makes fun) but I justify it by having my numbers going up every week. 2cents

Thanks for all the information. My whole life I’ve been the skinny little kid, and now with some fat over my abs its disconcerting, even though I know its all part of the process. I’m not looking to compete, but I like to be agile and quick, so getting up to my desired weight and dropping down could not come soon enough. Also, thinking about trying out for the football team at SDSU junior year (next year) as a DB or free safety with the size i have

[quote]TheNWhiter wrote:
Cost of food and supplements is a big issue for me with 2 mortgages (2 jobs) and a 1 year old - money is tighter than Miley Cyrus’ latex bikini.

What I do now is stick to basics - no designer branded supplements - I buy in bulk bags (5kgs) and steer clear of things like BCAAs and even pre-workouts which are fine if you can afford them but I can’t say I miss then when I’m not on them.

Eggs, tinned tuna and ground beef are my main choices for protein. I also drink milk and have store brand low fat greek yog. Oats are a favourite too - I like oatmeal but also make a mean whey and oat pancake. My son even loves them. For fat sources, I go for peanut butter, whole raw nuts (Asian supermarkets seem to sell these in bulk often) and olive oil. Buying olive oil that is NOT extra virgin is way cheaper. [/quote]

Try dextrose intra workout, I used to be pro pre workouts but now I will never lift without my intra workout shake. My brand gives me 25 cents per serving

Whole milk
Whole eggs
Cans of tuna
Don’t listen to people telling you not-extra virgin. Extra virgin olive oil is the whole damn point (has health benefits, not just a fat.)
Raw Spinach
Red potatoes
Whatever fruit is cheapest by the pound
Bake those chicken thighs with some seasoning
Get a crockpot
Beef heart, if you can find it. DOUBLE the protein density of tuna, cheap because it grosses out all the pussies but still tastes good.

There are more.

Oh, duh…

COTTAGE CHEESE

add Mrs. Dash, greatest snack ever.

My favorite lunch for the longest time was about 1/2 lb whole fat cottage cheese, 1 whole avocado, 1 can tuna drained. Mix it all up with Mrs Dash and fresh lemon juice, freaking delicious.