Want big muscles but have a small budget? While there’s no denying the fact that you must prepare proper muscle building meals if you want to gain size, most people believe this means you have to increase your food budget to do so.
For guys who require a calorie intake of 5000 or more calories in order to grow, it may seem like you’ll be paying more for food than you do for rent or your mortgage.
So what can you do? Is there a way to create muscle building meals and build the quality and quantity of muscle that you desire while still sticking to a small and manageable food budget?
You bet – you just have to follow the right tips.
Let’s walk you through what you need to do to create powerful muscle building meals on a budget.
Shop The Bulk Section
The very first thing you want to do when eating on a budget is to make sure to shop in the bulk aisle. You can get very nutritious foods in this section of the grocery store that will go a long way towards supporting your mass gaining goals.
Great options to pick up here include oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, flaxseeds, almonds and other nuts, as well as seeds.
These are all calorie dense and will help you get that intake up higher. (Flaxseeds, almonds and nuts are also great sources of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils which are great for muscular recovery and joint function – so that’s a bonus!)
Next, also make sure that you watch for sales. When sticking to a budget, this can make a very big difference. If you see chicken go on sale for instance, load up that day. You can easily store chicken in your freezer for a later date so buy enough to last a few weeks. This is a perfect way to save money quickly.
Also watch for certain days of the month where stores run specials where you save off your total bill. Make use of these every time they come around.
Stick To Cheaper Ingredient Options
When planning out your meals, make sure to incorporate cheaper ingredients as well.
While you may wish you could feast on sirloin steak, salmon, and shrimp every evening to meet your protein requirements, there are far more budget-friendly choices.
Go with chicken, extra lean ground beef (or turkey if it’s on sale), canned tuna, and canned salmon.
For your healthy fats, choose nut butters over whole nuts to really save. These are cheaper and still pack in healthy fats.
For grains, you can’t get any cheaper than oats and brown rice, so those should be a staple.
Eggs are reasonably priced if bought in bulk too. If you live close to the countryside try going to a local farmer who may be able to sell you “mis-shapes” at a cheaper price. These are eggs whose shell is mis-shapen and thus doesn’t sell so well on the open market. The egg itself is perfectly fine and you can often get them for half price. It’s a great way to support local farmers and ease the strain on your pocket too.
Reduce Your Additional Activity
Finally, if you’re really struggling to keep your muscle meals on budget, you may want to consider a different angle…Are you doing a high amount of additional activity each week, therefore increasing your energy needs?
You can’t get around the fact that the more you move, the more food you need to eat, thus the larger budget you’ll have to have.
If you’re doing three hours of cardio each week in addition to your lifting workouts for example, consider cutting back. You really don’t need that much for muscle building progress and all it means is an additional 2000 calories worth of food that you have to buy.
(For a great muscle building low-cardio workout program, check out the Vince Delmonte workout)
Do You Really Need Supplements?
While most of the magazines would have you believe you must have the latest and greatest supplements to achieve your muscle goals, the truth is you really don’t. Supplements just make it easier to reach your daily calorie goals and make it more convenient to boost your protein levels quickly.
But of course, this all comes at a price – and a hefty one at that.
Good meal planning and smart food choices mean you can get all your nutrient requirements without selling a kidney to a supplement company.
Trouble is many people struggle to make their food choices interesting. If you’re having trouble finding some creativity in the kitchen then take a look at this muscle building cookbook that has over 200 recipes so you’ll never get bored.
If you can spare some change I’d recommend you get a reasonably priced whey protein and some Omega 3,6 and 9 tablets (using cod liver oil or flax seeds). The Omega 3, 6 and 9 are great sources of EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) which help to strengthen and lubricate your joints and aid in muscle tissue repair. The whey protein is great just on its own with milk or water, or as an added ingredient in smoothies, on oatmeal or wherever you like.