T Nation

No Money, But Need a Good Diet

Alright so my story is as follows. I’m a poor college student, now without a meal plan fending for myself over the summer. I thought I would be going home to work (and work out) under the safety of my parents’ food budget, but it turns out I’m staying here to do research.

Whenever I talk to my parents they emphasize the fact that I need to cut costs because of my lack of money, so they basically want me to buy as little as possible. This is tricky, especially because they didn’t exactly give me a money quota, and usually eating cheap means eating unhealthy.

I really want to keep healthy, so I was wondering if you all had any suggestions or went through similar situations. I’m not sure exactly how much I’m expected to limit myself to, so I guess I would estimate it as anywhere from 20-40$ a week, with 40 probably being a maximum.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I eat two eggs and two slices of plain bread for breakfast, every day.

12 ounces of non-fat yogurt and a sandwich for lunch and dinner.

3 ounces of extra light olive oil in the middle of the night (when I get up to reduce pressure, so to speak).

I’ve lost about 70 lbs and my triglycerides dropped from 300+ to 50 on that regimen.

Hope that helps for an ultra cheap diet. You can make non-fat yogurt yourself from skim milk or buy it cheap in bulk. The sandwiches are all dry (no dressing, nothing to fancy them up) and either 1 tsp of peanut butter and .5 tsp (teaspoon) of jam or about 60-70 calories of lunch meat (the cheap bulk sliced ham from Costco/SAMS).

Read the “School Days” series by Steve Berardi. Look under “Authors” and you’ll find him and his articles.

Errr…shoplifting?

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
Read the “School Days” series by Steve Berardi. Look under “Authors” and you’ll find him and his articles.[/quote]

YES do this twice great series for you.

if somehow you can get to the cafeteria… spend that 20-40 bucks on tupperware and stock the hell out of ur fridge… with chicken, tuna, eggs, milk, apples, oranges, salads… etc etc etc…

A familiar situation. I used to by a big bag of rice for 10 to 15$ at the Asian grocery store that would last months. I get a doz eggs for 99 cents, find deals on big steaks and pot roasts. Milk is also cheap.

When good deals come around stock up, use your freezer. If you look around you can find MRD’s and protein powder just past their expiration date for dirt cheap. If you have basic math skills it really isn’t that hard to figure out.

On this type of budget, what would be the most effective measure of recovery for PWO? I was figuring choclate milk is the cheapest choice, followed by a meal of tuna and pasta. What do you guys think?

Rolled oats, peanut butter, whey protein (mixed with water), eggs, whole grain breads, pasta, bananas (hell, most fruit), are all cheap.

DJ

[quote]jimmyjames66 wrote:
On this type of budget, what would be the most effective measure of recovery for PWO? I was figuring choclate milk is the cheapest choice, followed by a meal of tuna and pasta. What do you guys think?[/quote]

Actually, whey protein with sugar still. Chocolate milk is about 2 something for 1/2 gallon probably.

If you want to maximize the nutrients to cost ratio, get a big thing of 5lb protein. 5 lbs for about 25-30 bucks and that can last you for 2 weeks if you take in about 6-8 servings a day

Go on a low-carb “diet” like the Anabolic Diet. (It’s not just for losing weight!)

Eat the cheap meats - chicken thighs, ground chuck, etc. Just go down the aisle: Compare the costs of chicken breast to chicken thighs. Huge cost savings. Same thing with ground meat. The higher the fat content in the beef, the less expensive it costs.

You can eat a lot of muscle-building food on a budget if you eat low-carb.

beans, tuna, mass packaged chicken breasts at wal mart, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and various peppers and spices.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Go on a low-carb “diet” like the Anabolic Diet. (It’s not just for losing weight!)

Eat the cheap meats - chicken thighs, ground chuck, etc. Just go down the aisle: Compare the costs of chicken breast to chicken thighs. Huge cost savings. Same thing with ground meat. The higher the fat content in the beef, the less expensive it costs.

You can eat a lot of muscle-building food on a budget if you eat low-carb.[/quote]

i forgot eggs and milk.

Hi! I’m new here, and since I’m a grad student (i.e. an expert on living cheaply), I figure this would be a good place for my first post.

First of all, there are a lot of odd little niches you should check out to get cheap healthy food:

  1. Scratch and dent stores. Obviously, you shouldn’t buy any cans that look like they have botulism, but sometimes the merchandise is vastly discounted just because it isn’t pretty (like slightly beat-up Clif bars) or didn’t sell well.

  2. Trader Joe’s. Yes, the majority of the stuff there is expensive yuppie food, but they sometimes have deals–I recently bought pasta sauce and frozen spinach there for a dollar each.

  3. Organic community farms. I once volunteered at one for a couple of hours, and got huge garbage bags full of free salad greens that the paying subscribers didn’t want. If you have one of these farms in your area, see if you can work something out.

  4. Discount groceries. If you happen to live in Chicago, I can tell you which grocery stores have ridiculously cheap produce. They’re different from scratch and dent stores because there’s nothing wrong with the merchandise–it just happens to be really cheap.

  5. Dollar stores and pharmacies. Most of the food here is crap food, but both of these places occasionally have good deals on dried fruit or nuts.

If you must shop at a grocery store, get a discount card and coupons. Also, pay attention to getting a lower unit price (it helps if you bring a little calculator). Sometimes, frozen produce or frozen fish has a much lower unit price than fresh (and you don’t need to worry about having wasted your money if it spoils, because it won’t!)

Things that are usually cheap anywhere are: canned tuna, eggs, dry beans (60 cents for a whole pound!), brown rice. In general, whole foods cost less than prepared (unless you’re shopping at a health food store, in which case it’s all expensive). So a big sack of brown rice is much cheaper than getting Success boil-in-bag brown rice, for instance. Real eggs are cheaper than Eggbeaters. Etc.

And if it’s at all possible, make friends with hunters. They can’t actually consume those huge amounts of venison in their industrial freezers, and are subsequently pretty generous with it.

And if you have a yard, try growing some produce. Not tomatoes, because the bugs will eat them. Other foods are easier.