Low budget---low time

I had a question regarding my diet. I have very little time to prepare food, and as a typical “starving” college student, I have a fairly low budget. (So gobs of biotest products are not within my reach…) I was wondering what kind of diet ideas you would suggest with my budget and time restrictions. I am not opposed to spending a little bit more on groceries, (I do buy flax oil and typically only eat whole grains ). I have been trying to follow the P+F and P+C diet restrictions. I guess I am just looking for fast ideas that fit the calorie needs and dietary restrictions. I typically eat a lot of cottage cheese + fruit and/or salad meals… low fat tuna sandwiches, low fat lunch meat sandwiches… for dinners I do have more time, so I typically eat rice/pasta with meat and vegetables. So maybe just some of your personal ideas to “doctor up” the foods I already have, or some new Ideas that maybe I haven’t thought of. I did read the new “Diet planning for the long haul” article, and that had a few good ideas.

Also what do you think about the mad cow scare and also the mercury in albacore tuna scare? Being only 20 years old, and not having enough time to watch the news or read enough, I am a little down on this stuff. I assume that you are really up on beef and especially tuna.

Finally, if you might be able to recommend a cookbook that would help, that would be helpful. I consider myself a pretty good cook, but sometimes I have a difficult time piecing things together.

For anyone wondering, I do not use surge or grow!, they simply are not within my price range. I do however choose a well researched protein powder.

Hey, there, Jared. Good questions! (grin)

First off, if you haven’t done it yet, read Lonnie Lowery’s article this week, “Diet Planning for the Long Haul.” It has a section, “Healthy Ways to Feed with Speed” that gives you just the kind of ideas you’re looking for.

Beyond that . . .

  • Buy in bulk and search the 'Net for good deals.

  • Join something like Sam’s Club, Costco.

  • Budget yourself a certain amount of money for the month for food, and when you run across a particularly good deal/bargain, buy enough for the month.

To save time, never cook a single meal. As an example, don’t cook yourself some oatmeal for breakfast; cook 7 servings of oatmeal, divide it up into 7 storage containers and put it in the refrigerator. Same with chicken breasts; make enough for a few days.

Recipes? Grab any of the Atkins books for some tasty P+F recipes. And again, double or triple the recipe. You’ll always have to sit down the first time and look up the ingredients in your nutritional desk reference to see how many grams of the different macronutrients you’re getting, but it’s only got to be done once and recorded in the book from which you got the recipe.

As for Mad Cow Disease, a surprising number of people are not/non-reacting to the scare. And in fact, only 153 human deaths have been reported world-wide since it’s been discovered. There’s plenty of stuff on the 'Net that would provide you with a balanced look at the issue. Take a look at the following article: Latest Minnesota news, weather, and sports..

Since the odds are that I have a greater chance of being hit by lightning than coming down with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow Disease), I’ll continue consuming beef from quality sources; i.e., cattle that aren’t fed beef byproducts and that are quasi-organic (no hormones, no antibiiotics).

As far as the mercury scare in tuna, it was recommended recently that women who are pregnant not consume more than 6 ounces per week. Canned tuna normally contains about .17 parts per million of mercury, but that number can go as high as .75 parts per million depending on where the fish came from and what they ate. Anything under 1 part per million is considered safe by the FDA, which is why tuna is still on their list of fish acceptable during pregnancy.

My best advice is that you consume protein from a VARIETY of sources. That’s a good idea whether it’s protein or veggies or fat, too!

One of my favorite things to eat as of late is a tuna roll up. I buy a packet of marinated (sweet and spicy) tuna from Starkist and roll it up in a piece of whole wheat flatbread called “Flatout”. Throw in a little lite mayo and some spinach leaves and you’re good to go. Fast and tasty. If you eat rice often, buy a rice cooker and make a bunch at one time. You can leave it in the cooker on the warm setting for a few days before it starts to dry out.

Great reply from Tampa-Terry (as usual).

I am in a similar situation as yourself, and this is what I do:
When I don’t have time to cook, and don’t have a pre-prepared meal, I mix up the following:

  • 65g oatmeal
  • 55g of protein (a blend of milk isolate, calc. caseinate, egg white)
    -5-10g of fish, flax or olive oil

This comes to about 500 calories. You can play with the amounts/ratios to fit your diet better. You can skip the oil if you want to keep the meal strictly p+c.

Now, this does not taste good at all, but it is cheap, quick and takes care of my protein, carb and fat requirement.
If you replace oatmeal with yams, it tastes a bit better (especially if you add a little bit of OJ)

If you stick with oatmeal, you can use a cofee grinder to make it easier to swallow. This changes the glycemic index, so I don’t. Instead, I just let it sit in water for a few minutes to soften.

I get my protein from protein customizer (I don’t know if I can post the link here…do a search on google). Prices range from $4-10 / lb (all of the proteins mentioned above are around $5-6/lb). They also have flavoring, and he will even sell it to you separate from the proteins so you can do your own flavoring at home.

I wouldn’t recommend making this your main source of calories, but it works as an occasional meal replacement.
Unlike most commercial mrp’s (which which usualy use maltodextrin), it’s carbs are nice and low on the glycemic index.
Also, unlike most commercial mrp’s it tastes pretty horrible :slight_smile:

Hope that helps,


You can do a dinner that I found interesting, torilla rolled with cream cheese and turkey roast. Throw on some peppers and it makes a great dinner, sleep after a glass of milk.

Does that RIT stand for Rochester Institute of Tech?


heres a quick breakfast. Add sliced banana to your oatmeal for breakfast.

RIT does stand for Rochester Inst. of Tech.

I use protein customizer protein too. That and Dymatize, which is a new one (also getting their protein from J&J).