Muscle building can be tough, which is why I put together a list of 8 cheap muscle building foods that will give you the gains you want. In relation to this post, I have another post that explains how to lose fat without losing muscle, see it here.
I’ve been in the position that you may be currently in right now. I had no money or resources when I first moved out on my own and I needed some cheap food that would help support all of my fitness goals. In this list, I will be including all of the stuff that I ACTUALLY bought when I was budgeting but also trying to gain muscle.
Number 1 – Pork
Back when I was budgeting I was always looking for cheap muscle building foods that provided the proper nutrients. I would head over to the butchery or meat section of the grocery store and see various meats that are typically recommended by all types of bodybuilders and athletes.
The only issue with that, was that it was way out of my budget. This changed when I went to the pork section and found some meats that were not only cost effective but also a high source of protein. I would always grab: pork chops, pork loin, and ground pork. Pork not only tastes good, but it also has a high amount of protein.
Typically, I would make ground pork with any of my pastas or stir fries. Once I got sick of these meals, I would then move onto the pork tenderloin. I was always surprised to see how much pork you could get for a low amount of money. On the weekends, I would typically bring out the pork chops for a nice weekend meal that was still high protein and tasted great.
Onto the facts of pork… As I said above, pork is a high protein food. Around three ounces of lean pork have 23 grams of protein, which is pretty great considering how cheap it is. This amount of protein in your diet is guaranteed to help you build muscle mass.
Now you may be going: “Tanner, I was told that pork is extremely high in fat”. This is actually a bit of a misconception and confusion with sausages, bacon or pepperoni. In reality, pork tenderloin, for example, is just as lean as skinless chicken breast. So try to get out of the mindset that pork is high in fat because this is associated with the very obvious high fat options.
Now, if you want to learn more about incorporating pork into your healthy diet, visit pork.org/cooking to learn more.
Number 2 – Eggs
Eggs are a great cheap muscle building food that you should add into your diet. They’re not only a great source of protein; they’re also budget friendly. Now, lets not just cook these eggs in the regular way that everyone does it by pan-frying it.
What we’re going to do is: fill up a pot with water, boil the water, toss in 12 or 18 eggs, boil it for around 20 minutes, then toss them back into the carton. Now for the next three or four days, you’ve got high protein snacks ready to grab whenever which will help you hit your protein goal.
Number 3 – Peanut Butter
Yeah, that’s right, the tastiest and most beloved item on this list, peanut butter. Peanut butter is great because it has a high amount of protein and it’s high in fats. As a consequence of this, it’s around 95 calories for a tablespoon, which is a good thing for you skinny guys or those looking to bulk up and put muscle mass on. Grab around 2-4 tablespoons of peanut butter every single day and you’ll notice that you can pack in several hundred calories on top of what you’re already eating currently to give you the bulk you want.
Number 4 – Nuts
In relation to peanut butter, this cheap muscle building foods list includes nuts! The two cheapest options of nuts are peanuts and walnuts. These have a unique benefit compared to just regular peanut butter, they’re more of a portable alternative that you can bring with you. I typically toss them into a sandwich bag. Typically I bring them on the road or wherever I go and just snack on them. These nuts will give you a high amount of calories, fats, and a decent amount of protein.
Number 5 – Oats
The price of oats is incredibly low and offer a great source of complex carbohydrates that you can use throughout the day. These are slow digestion carbs that will not cause significant insulin spikes. I typically eat oats in the very beginning of the morning. Sometimes, I’ll mix the oats with my protein shake. Mixing it with a protein shake makes it taste amazing and it’s also a great source of fiber.
If you have room in the budget for some fruit, I highly recommend you toss some fruit to mix with the oats which will turn your oats into a great tasting breakfast that will kick-start your day.
Number 6 – Brown Rice
Brown rice has been a staple in my diet for so long, I don’t even remember a time I didn’t incorporate this into my diet. I eat this pretty much every day when it comes to my stir fry’s, as a side for my pork chops, and so on. Typically, I’ll have it around lunch and again at dinner. Like oats, it’s a great source of those complex carbohydrates that are nice and slow digesting. This is going to provide you energy that will last throughout the day without causing insulin spikes.
Number 7 – Bananas
The price of bananas is incredibly low and they offer a great source of calories and carbohydrates. I recommend you have a banana right before you workout. This will help raise your blood sugar level so I typically eat one 20-30 minutes before the gym; this energy will allow you to maximally perform all of the exercises in your routine.
You can also combine this with a few of the items I listed above, like oats, it will make an incredibly delicious combo and a great addition to your meals.
Number 8 – Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables aren’t just amazing because yes, they’re super cheap, but they’re also incredibly easy to prepare. You don’t have to worry about any cutting or formal cooking, they’re prepared exactly as you want it. Toss some into a dish, microwave it, and add it as a side to those delicious pork chops. You could also add it to your stir fry and brown rice.
Let me tell you, back in the days of me being broke, frozen vegetables were pretty much my only source of micronutrients outside of bananas.
This concludes my list of cheap muscle building foods that will help build your muscle mass while not breaking the bank. As I stated above, a lot of these foods can be mix matched together. Make sure you find creative ways to make the most out of these foods and you will be able to maintain muscle mass without spending money on expensive food.
Thank you for reading today’s blog about the top 8 cheap foods to build muscle mass. Be sure to check out my FREE fitness quiz that will set you up with workouts tailored to your body type.