T Nation

Poor Mans Diet


I have been working out good for 5 weeks now and my budget is strapped. Wife is just starting the last trimester. So I have about $20 to $30 a week on food for myself and I want to bulk up. Mainly back and arms. Currently living off of eggs, cottage cheese, flax seed, and oat meal. Any good ideas on cheap bulking, can?t digest cheap protein drinks. I will hopefully order $100 of goods next month from Biotest. Some Grow! and Spike. I can buy Spike locally for a $1 a piece at GNC and is the best supplement ever! I need motivation as I can get really lazy. I know I need to add more beef and chicken. Steak is getting pretty expensive.

Also any good dumbbell work outs? I have a bench and power blocks in a 4?x4?x?7? space.

So tight budget and tight space.


Tuna is really cheap, you can worcestershire sauce to make neutralize the taste. You can go to the grocery store and find that fish filets (the ones that aren't already cooked) are relatively cheap.


I say stick to:

Natural Peanut Butter
Whole Milk

If you have creatine keep it up.


whoops, i forgot my Natural PB.

Any web pages to buy bulk Flax Seed, i grind my own and add 2 table spoons to 2 serving of oat meal every morning.

The local Topps now sells bulk slow cook oats for 60 cents a pound.


If you are a picky eater, its rough.

If not, I'd suggest getting some protein from organ meats like beef/chicken liver and beef hearts if you can find them. They're all about a buck a pound, and fairly low fat.

Also, good old Rice and Beans can't really be beat for the cost. Beans are high protein and fiber, and are cheap. Rice is one of the cheapest per-calorie food there is.



Do you access to a Costco or Sam's Club? They are great places to stretch you food dollar while still getting quality. Sure it may cost you serious $$$ each trip but the frequency of those trips is low.

Frozen chicken breasts, oats, slab of fresh salmon (can be frozen) and...oh heck bulk everything at single serving prices!


No no no, all these recommendations will do is bulk your calves and aductors. If you want to bulk your back and arms you need to be eating at least a loaf of white bread and 1kg of ground beef a day, just ask fat-t-man, he has huge "lower back muscles".

Seriously though it sounds like you are on the right track... Tuna is a good shout but watch that you don't rely on it too much because of potential build up of mercury levels.

Turkey is significantly cheaper than chicken so that is a good one for those on a limited budget.

I get 500g lean beef mince, can of red kidney beans, can of chopped tomatos, an onion and chilli powder and make up a big vat of chilli for a total of about ?3.50sterling for 3 portions. That is a cost effective meal that packs a big protein punch, and a good serving of fibre from the beans, not to mention tomato's phyto-chemicals, antioxidant superfood status.

  • Chop onion
  • brown mince with onion
  • add kidney beans and chopped tomato, stir in.
  • add tomato puree if you love tomatoes as much as me!
  • add as much chilli powder as you can handle
  • simmer for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent burning onto the pan.

EASY, CHEAP and delicious.


Natural protein is cheaper than any protein supplement.


Wow, great idea!


dextrose and maltodextrin are roughly 1.50 for the pound. and 1 scoop is roughly 50 grams of carbs.

Thats somehwere around a trillion carbs per dollar spent


If you want cheap meat go hunting or fishing. It only cost me about 10 cents last week to eat a whole rabbit.


Even cheaper than natural PB (by the calorie) are peanuts and olive oil.

If you buy Planter's peanuts, though, be sure to check the ingredients. Some 'Plain' Planter's peanuts are actually laced with high fructose corn syrup--tastes terrible.

Drinking olive oil takes just a little while to get used to, but it's a very easy way to get in your fat calories without feeling too full.


I will second costco. Can get out of there really cheap with a assload of food. Stay away from the supps on a tight budget, just stay with food.

Whole milk
chicken breasts
wheat bread
olive oil
ground beef
Peanut butter

That's about as cheap and basic as I can think of, pretty similar to what was already posted. Protein powder can be considered food, but it will not fill you up the same way a meal will, so I would stick with real food on a budget. Best of luck



\And flank steak is damn cheap, not the leanest but delicious. Here's a recipe:
Soy Sauce
Grapefruit Juice (fresh squezzed)
Sliced green union
Garlic Powder
Any kind of beer ( couple splashes of bud light is best IMO)

Expierement with the amounts of each because I like mine totally different than my parents.


I will give it a try for sure! How long do you marinade it for?



Flax, oats, grains, granolas etc.. www.bobsredmill.com Buy a 50lb bag of oats and your golden.