So you’ve decided to bulk.
You’ve calculated your intake, lift increments and time-frame.
You don’t have the money to pull it off.
Paying for the gym is one thing, but when it comes to buying food to support it, well, that’s a whole other level of financial hurt. Particularly if you a ‘hard gainer’.
If you want to eat above maintenance long enough to go from puny gym punk to powerful plate pusher and still have money in your bank, you need not only need to eat a lot – you also need to eat smart.
That’s why we’ve created this the ultimate good, cheap bulking foods list giving you the best choices to achieve a bulk on a budget.
Best Cheap Foods for Bulking
Most of the foods in this list can be found at your local grocery store and are relatively cheap compared to the more refined options. These are some of the most effective products with which to gain weight without breaking the bank.
Each choice made here has been selected with the bulker’s best interests in mind, using the chosen product to gain as much mass as possible whilst keeping fat gains to a minimum.
Rice: The staple-hold to any lifter’s bulking regime. Rice is one of the easiest dishes to prepare and can have up to 130 calories inside every 100g. It contains a multitude of vitamins and with it’s easily digestible properties should cause any intolerance like gluten has been known to.
Eggs: Make sure you eat the yolk. Each egg contains around 6 grams of protein and fat and can be bought dirt cheap. Each egg is valued around 75 calories.
Granola: With just a dry cup of this sweetened magic racking up to 450 calories this traditional breakfast food contains loads of calories, protein, energy and fiber. It is the perfect snack to indulge in throughout the day.
Grounded Beef: Up to 7g of protein per raw ounce, Ground Beef is a pretty solid way to pack on the pounds. The fat of this product does depend on how lean the meat is. The best way to deal with this is to always drain as much grease out as possible, this will avoid most negative fats that are inherent to the meat.
Peanut Butter: One of the cheapest ways to get in the calories, peanut butter contains 6 grams of protein with 16 grams of mono-unsaturated fats every two table spoons at a rate which is close to 200 calories. It can be coupled with most dishes or even put in a shake.
Whole Milk: With nearly 10g of protein and fat to the cup, whole milk is one of the best fluids to bulk up with and contains upwards of 140 calories.
Bananas: Hovering at around 100 calories per unit, Bananas are fantastic products for putting on weight. Packed full of potassium, fiber and vitamins, bananas help with lactic acid build up and their sugars aid recovery.
Potatoes: The average potato can hold up to 30g of carbs. They are cheap, easy to cook and will help you pack on mass fast. They are great as a pre-workout to build up energy before training.
Tuna: One of the easiest dishes to prepare for a post workout meal. Canned Tuna is full of healthy protein and various essential oils the body requires to function at optimum levels.
Oats: With each full cup containing 6 grams of fiber and up to 50 grams of carbs, Oats are a cheap way to carb-load for a solid bulk or a heavy gym session. Fast and convenient, oats can be taken with milk or dry – making them perfect for a bulk food whilst on the go.
Avocado: Did you know the standard avocado contains around 320 calories? Each one contains around 29 grams of fat, but don’t let put you off, only some of it is saturated. Word of warning though, for a low budget weight gainer it is slightly more on the expensive side than the usual options.
Whey Protein: Technically a food source, and depending where you go it can be relatively cheap. When it comes to weight gain, whey protein is a no brianer having the highest concentrated amount of protein per serving with around 25 grams per serving.
Macadamia Nuts: Bursting with natural calories, nuts are one of the most ideal foods to use when it comes to gaining weight. Macadamia nuts alone hold over 700 calories per 100g. They’re easy to carry around and fantastic for bulking. They do however, have a high fat content and cost more than most of the ingredients on this list.
Olive Oil: A rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is cheap and great when cooking and preparing other ingredients in this list, it also helps to apply it a protein shake when really wanting add on the mass.
Dark Chocolate: We’ve all heard that chocolate can be a bad thing, but when dealing with a darker blend the story changes slightly. Yes, chocolate that is richer in cocoa contains plenty of antioxidants and enzymes which are good for your mental state. Some 100g bars of darker chocolate can contain up to 500 calories, which makes them perfect as a treat when bulking.
Soybeans: Although it seems to be more associated with vegetarians than anyone, soybeans are a massively overlooked food source when it comes to bulking. Need 400 calories fast? All you need is just 100g of soybeans – and over a third of that goodness is pure protein. Containing magnesium, iron and calcium, if you do the math, pound for pound this soybeans contain more protein than red meat.
Bulking on a Budget Tips
These are some hard and fast pro-tips that are more than relevant when using good, cheap bulking foods:
1. Buy in Bulk for a Bulk
Whenever you see an offer on a bulking food you know you’ll repeatedly buy, make the most of it. Buy it and save as much money as you can, in the long run you won’t have to worry about if you can afford it later in the lead up to pay day.
2. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Consuming excess amounts of water is always a good way to gain weight on a low budget diet as it will aid the process of getting nutrients to circulate throughout the body. It will also pad you with added water weight, which should help the muscles and your strength gains.
3. Buy Only Essential Supplements
When on a budget, there’s not much you want to spend your money on. Every penny should count, don’t worry about branch chain amino acids, pre-workouts or anything of that nature. The staple-hold supplements to gaining weight on a budget are whey protein, creatine and testosterone boosters. The protein for mass, the creatine for water weight and strength goals and the testosterone booster for added muscle and reduced fat during the process.
Good, Cheap Bulking Foods Conclusion
That about covers it. There are your foods and your methods to gain weight when the odds both biologically and financially are against you. The only other sign off tip I could offer here is to schedule eating times to make sure your calorific intake is consistent.
Follow this advice and you should be pleasantly swole in no time. Just be sure to keep an eye on your cash, or cutting season may come round sooner than expected.