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In the age of austerity, one thing we cannot sacrifice is gains! 😉
But luckily, we don’t have to.
Most of the food I buy is really cheap. I buy in bulk. I buy store-own brands where possible. And I buy frozen foods that last longer (and save me going shopping for vegetables every few days).
So here’s my list of inexpensive, high-quality foods that will fuel new muscle growth (if you’ve a suggestion for me, leave a comment at the bottom).
(1) Canned Fish Like Tuna
So inexpensive! And a really high-quality source of protein. I get Tesco own brand Tuna Chunks. There’s about 30g of protein in there.
When you buy a bag of whey, you might think it’s expensive because you are paying upfront for 2.5kg or 5kg. But…you have to think of the amount protein/scoop and compare this with other foods like beef or turkey for example. When you do, you’ll realise that gram for gram, whey is one of, if not the, cheapest source of protein there is!
Slam down 50g whey after your THT Training sessions to deliver 40g actual protein to fuel big gains (ON Whey is also a good choice).
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An egg delivers 6g protein, if you eat them whole. And you SHOULD eat them whole! See here for the benefits of whole eggs.
(Only when I’m cutting do I sometimes drop some yolks and use a combo of whole and egg whites to reduce calories).
If you’re buying fresh chicken, you’re making life hard and more expensive for yourself.
I get frozen fillets from Tesco. 1kg bags. Just raw fillets. They’re cheaper and I buy at least 10 bags at a time and keep them in the freezer. I cook 2-3kg of chicken just twice a week and keep it in the fridge. That will last me a full 7 days.
Lidl also do cheap 1kg bags if you live in my part of the world.
Always bear in mind that all meat/fish usually delivers about 20-25% protein per weight. So 100g cooked will give about 25g of protein.All meat delivers about 25% protein per weight. So 100g chicken breast = ~25g protein Click To Tweet
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(5) Low-fat Natural Greek Yogurt
The low-fat version actually has a higher protein content. £1.10 for a 170g pot, which will give you about 15g of protein.
Add some whey and berries and you’re all set. Since it’s both low in carbs and fat, it’ll work with any diet. You can also use this to make my totally frickin’ awesome Blueberry Protein Pancakes!
Quark is simply fat-free cream cheese. Those of you in the US can get it in Whole Foods (actually just saw a quark recipe book on amazon). It will give you a whopping 30g protein per 250g pot (and virtually no carbs or fat).
If you have my awesome anabolic cook book Buff Baking 2, know all about the delicious super-high protein dessert you can make with this in about 30 seconds! I love it! Sometimes it’s my breakfast if I’m in a hurry.
By the way, you can freeze quark. I buy loads of tubs and freeze them. Just leave a tub out the day before you need it.
(7) Frozen Vegetables
Maybe you’ll be surprised, but I just don’t buy fresh veggies. I usually buy at least 5 x 1kg bags each of broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and sliced peppers (that’s a total of 20kg/44lbs worth of veggies) and keep them frozen. But I’ve got 2 x freezers at home 😉
So I’ll take any 2 of the above at meal time and (say broccoli and green beans) and nuke them – usually 6-7 minutes and they’re ready to eat. Just add carb and protein/fat source. Easy. And a cheap way to get your veggies.
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(8) Corned Beef
I love corned beef. Not surprising being Irish I suppose But no…we don’t eat corned beef & cabbage (I don’t know where that came from).
A big-ass 340g tin of Princes Corned Beef is only £2.99 and you only need 100g at a time for 25g protein. (There’s a lean version if you prefer).
(9) Pigs Liver
£1 in Tesco! I don’t eat it personally, but I thought I’d tell you about it.
(10) Bulk Bags of Couscous
There’s good reasons why I say couscous is the perfect bodybuilding carb.
But it’s also dirt cheap when you buy it raw and cook it yourself. A bag lasts forever. And cook? Hard to call it cooking when you just add boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes. Quick. Easy. Dirt Cheap.
(11) Bulk Bags of Rice
Whatever rice you use (I prefer brown basmati) buy big bags of uncooked rice and boil it at home for one of the cheapest carbs ever. By the way, here’s a sneaky tactic for reducing the calories in your rice.
(12) Bulk Bags of Rolled Oats
Same as the rice idea above. Why pay crazy prices for a box of small sachets of oats? Buy massive bags and cook the amount you need as you go along. Example, Tesco do 1kg bags of oats for 0.75p! That’s crazy cheap.
34p for a tin of Tesco sardines in sauce, giving 20g protein! A very portable choice if you’re on the go.
Should be fairly self-explanatory. It’s cheap, low-carb, high-fat or low-fat, tastes great, goes well with most things.
(15) Nut Butters
Go natural with nut butters. I recently posted on the facebook page that I bought a large tub of natural peanut butter from MyProtein. It’s £5.99 for a 1kg tub. I use this for some of the easy protein bar recipes in my Buff Baking anabolic cookbook. Also try almond nut butter like this one on Amazon.
If you want a good, low GL side to go with your meat, try quinoa. It’s about 14% protein and should be a staple on the GLAD diet.
(17) Canned Potato
Yeah they don’t taste as good as fresh potatoes. But they’re so convenient…and cheap! 1 tin = 1 serving. The potatoes are already cooked, so just open and add your cooked meat and veg. Nuke it! Eat! About 0.35p for a big tin.
(18) Tinned Kidney beans
I love kidney beans. As I said with the potatoes, I simply open the tin, pour it out on a plate, add meat, veg and nuke it.
A tin of Everyday Value Kidney Beans from Tesco is £0.30p – you can’t complain about that! Although officially a carb source, they do contain about 19g protein per tin! So it’s a great carb source to turn to.
Get big on a budget - here's a list of cheap bodybuilding foods. Click here Click To Tweet
What cheap bodybuilding foods do you use? Share them with the rest of us by leaving your suggestions below.
If you’re from a different part of the world, I definitely want to hear from you.