Bulking on a Budget
A weeks food for under £30!
● Cheapest Protein Sources
● Cheapest Carb Sources
● Cheapest Fat Sources
● Making Cheap Meals
● Eating for size
● Money saving tips
I get asked the same question numerous times each week:
“Shaun how do I get bigger, I eat loads but my weight isn’t going up?”
My answer to this is always the same, “eat more”, which is usually followed by the response “I already eat a lot and its so expensive”.
Unfortunately if you want to add size you have to eat a lot of food and yes meat, fish and other protein sources can be expensive that doesn’t mean you can’t bulk on a budget because you can and very easily. I’m a little more fortunate now that I don’t have to be as strict with my food budget but I still use a lot of these staples, it was something I learned whilst I was at uni wanting to add size but had little cash.
Below I am going to run through various different food choices for protein, carbs and fat looking at their cost, nutrient content and then showing how you can make a mass gaining plan as cheap a possible. I am going to show you how a 200lb male, requiring 3000kcal for a lean bulk can get all the nutrient they need for less than £30 per week (That’s only £4 per day)!
To build muscle we need adequate protein for muscle recovery and growth so this is the most important macronutrient we need, unfortunately it is also the most expensive but below is a list of different protein sources and their costs.
- Chicken Breast (all supermarkets) £5-6/kg = 310P = 15-20p per 10g protein
- Whey Protein £11-12/kg (bulk powders deal) = 800P = 14-15p per 10g protein
- Egg White £4-5/kg (bulk powders deal) = 110P = 35-45p per 10g protein
- Tinned Tuna (john west Tesco) £6/ 8tins = 220P = 25-30p per 10g protein
- 5% Steak £5.50/kg = 210P = 26p per 10g protein
- Cottage Cheese 64p/pot = 28P = 23p per 10g protein
With the most expensive macronutrient out of the way we take a look at the cheapest. Carbohydrates are notorious for being cheap, convenient as they have a longer shelf life than protein so can be bought in bulk making them even cheaper. Below is a list of some recommended cheap carb sources and their prices.
- Rice (Growers Harvest long Grain Tesco) 45p/kg = 800c = 5-6p per 100g carbs
- Pasta (Tesco Hearty Food Co Penne) 59p/kg = 817c = 7p per 100g carbs
- Potatoes (Tesco White) 55p/kg = 175c = 31p per 100g carbs
- Cereal (Tesco corn flakes) £1/kg = 850c = 12p per 100g carbs
- Cereal (Tesco Rice Snaps) £2.67/kg = 850c = 31p per 100g carbs
- Oats (Tesco, Asda, Aldi etc) 75p/kg = 640c = 12p per 100g carbs
- Bread (Asda Special Farmhouse) £1/kg = 470c =21p per 100g carbs
- Bagels (Asda own ) 69p/4pk = 17p each @ 45c = 38p per 100g carbs
- Crumpets (Asda own) 56p/9pk = 6p each @ 21c = 30p per 100g carbs
- Pancakes (Asda own) 49p/6pk = 8p each @ 15c = 54p per 100g carbs
The good thing about carbohydrates is since they are so cheap, you can mix them up in your plan without breaking the bank, however if you are wanting the cheapest you can see rice and pasta are clear winners here. So for our 200lb male example who requires 370g carbs per day this would only total 18-20p per day for carbs.
Fats being the highest calorific maconutrient at 9kcal/g makes them great for adding calories to your diet with ease, not to mention the health and hormonal benefits of fats. Our list of fats below is not very long as I like to keep it basic with fats although in each category there is a range of types you can choose for example different types of nuts i.e. almonds, cashew, macadamia nuts etc peanuts being the cheapest.
- Nuts/Nut Butters (bulk powders) £4/kg = 460f = 8-9p per 10g fat
- Oils (Napolina Extra Virgin Olive Oil) £4/L = 915f = 4-5p per 10g fat
- Eggs 8p/egg = 6f = 13p per 10g fat
The price of nuts and nut butters vary so this is solely dependent on your budget but for the cheapest option I would recommend bulk powders 100% peanut butter. You can also use different oils i.e. macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc however extra virgin olive oil is the easiest and cheapest to get hold of, the only recommendation I would make here is buy glass bottles not plastic as glass protect the oil from sunlight which can decompose the components of oil. If we take our 200lb male requiring 80g fats this is a total of 32-40p per day which like carbs is relatively cheap and won’t break the bank.
Vegetables are not something I am going to go into detail on with regard to different types, nutrients and costs etc because really when bulking we are not eating veg for the macronutrients but more the MICROnutrients (vitamins and minerals) for health and well-being. A simple recommendation for vegetables I would make though would be to buy frozen from fresh green vegetables as these tend to be the cheapest and last the longest.
An example being:
Frozen Green beans (most supermarkets) = £1.10/kg @100g per meal = 11p per meal x 5 meals = 55p per day
So now we have covered the macro and micronutrients we need for a diet we can tally this up for our example 200lb male. This male required 200P 80F 370C daily totalling 3000kcal.
Daily Total £4.05
Weekly Total £4.05 x 7 = £28.35
So there you go, bulking plan for an entire week for less than £30. Most of you spend more then that on a takeaway, nights out, clothes etc every week so cut the BS excuses of eating healthy and eating enough to grow being expensive because it doesn’t have to be!
example meal plan
200lb male – 3000kcal 200P / 80F / 370C
40P 20F 75C
Oats, Whey, Nut Butter
60p + 18p + 9p = 87p
40P 20F 75C
Chicken, Rice (or pasta), Oil, Veg
60p + 10p + 4p + 11p = 85p
40P 10F 75C
Beef, Rice (or pasta), Veg
£1 + 10p + 11p = £1.21
40P 0F 125C
Cereal & Whey
60p + 9p = 69p
40P 30F 20C
Cottage Cheese, Whey, Nut Butter & Berries
64p + 20p + 27p + 32p = £1.43
Total Daily Cost
87p + 85p + £1.21 + 69p + £1.43 = £5.05
NOTE: This could be cheaper but this is an example of having varied protein, carb and fat sources as well as micronutrients from veg and berries which increases the total daily cost. However this still only comes to £5 per day (£1 per meal average) which is still not expensive!
- Check the reduced section isle when visiting supermarkets later at night as often you’ll grab yourself some bargains which will drastically reduce your food bill. The bargains we really want to keep an eye out for are protein sources like meats since these are the most expensive, I often pick up 500g 5% lean mince for less than £1 as well as chicken breast, turkey breast, chicken sausages etc. You may have noticed the addition of bread, bagels, crumpets etc in carb sources which look expensive in comparison to rice and pasta however these are always on the reduced isle and can usually be picked up dirt cheap from just 10p.
- You don’t always have to eat 100% clean foods, theres times when you just need calories and a mental break. The less micronutrient dense foods tend to be cheaper too so having the odd treat throughout the weak can boost your calories whilst reducing your food bill. Cookies, pancakes & dohnuts on the reduced isle for example mmmmmm….
- Take advantage of deals, especially with companies like bulk powders who often run 30-40% off deals. They have a lot you can take advantage of good upping calories such as nuts, nut butters, oils, whey protein, calorie dense shakes, egg whites etc. Don’t forget you can also utilise discount codes we have with companies like Hustlin Labz for example KIRSTY15%
- Don’t waste your money on unnecessary supplements, they are called supplements for a reason as they “supplement” an already near perfect diet. Look at supplements as a luxury rather than a necessity. Although Whey protein is a supplement as I class that as food so does not apply here.