Muscle Building Meals/Bodybuilding Diet When on a Budget

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You don’t need to be rich to give your muscles the right nutrients to grow. Having more money just gives you more options. Here is a list of cheap, easy-to-make, muscle building meals I have compiled – when on a budget.

. Tuna Mayo Salad


. 1 can of Tuna

. 2.5 tablespoons of Mayonnaise

. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers

. Vinegar dressing


Cost – £1.50 or $2.50

Protein: 30g

Calories: 400 calories


Tuna Protein

The biological value of a protein gives us a good indication of the quality of the protein source. The higher the score %, the greater amount of the protein the body can use for the re-building process.

Tuna has a high BV score of 83%, ensuring that it’s a high quality protein source. With a can of tuna costing as little as £1 or $1.65, this is a shrewd cost-effective bodybuilding meal. For more info on other foods and their Biological values, take a read of: 5 Highest Protein Foods on the Planet.

Tuna also contains a good amount of sodium, helping to support muscular contractions during your workouts, supporting further growth.


With mayonnaise being rich in healthy fats (unsaturated), this will maximize testosterone production in the body. T Nation demonstrated this point by referring to the Volek et al study, which concluded that as fat intake increases, so does testosterone. The higher your total testosterone count, the faster your muscle tissue will repair and the greater your potential will be for packing on more mass.


Tomato’s are rich in vitamin C. Cortisol (stress) levels are often high in bodybuilder’s following their workout, due to the adrenaline release. Cortisol, as you may know, is destructive for building muscle. Vitamin C in tomato’s will help inhibit this cortisol release. Lettuce and cucumbers will also give you good amounts of vitamin B, E and K. Lettuce interestingly contains lectucarium. This is a natural cure for insomnia. lectucarium also has muscle relaxant properties, promoting faster recovery.


. Peanut Butter Sandwiches

penut butter

Peanut butter is rich in unsaturated fats, like mayonnaise, and so should be consumed in plenty amounts to see a rise in your T levels.

Spreading peanut butter on wholemeal bread is the healthiest option, with the wholemeal bread being an unrefined source – preventing insulin levels from rising. White bread for this reason should be a last resort.


Even better than peanut butter is – power butter. This is a higher protein version of peanut butter, created especially for bodybuilders.

power butter

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Nutrition info based on 4 slices of wholemeal bread with 6 tablespoons of power butter:

Calories: 950

Protein: 80g

Cost: £1.50 or $2.50

A nice addition to regular peanut butter sandwiches is to add some natural strawberry jam. The natural occurring sugars from the jam are ideal first thing in the morning upon waking, to replenish muscle glycogen (after fasting overnight).


. Chocolate Protein Cookie

Cookie Batch Ingredients

. 6 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder

. 3 cups of oats

. 2 whole eggs

. sprinkled with ginger

. half a cup of stevia

. 1 cap of vanilla essence

(These ingredients will make a batch of 4 cookies in total).


Cost: The cost of this choc protein recipe is based on the wholesale supplement prices at These lowered prices are perfect when trying to stick to a bodybuilding diet/supplement plan – when on a budget.

This translates to approximately £0.80 or $1.30 per cookie.

whey protein


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Protein (per cookie): 42g

Calories (per cookie): 250

Ginger not only enhances the flavour in the cookies, but can also promote speedier recovery. This is due to ginger possessing strong anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also promotes blood flow and circulation to the muscles, helping increase the absorption of nutrients to the muscle cell.

Stevia is a healthy and natural sugar substitute. It comes in powder form and is obtained from the stevia plant. Stevia contains almost zero calories, and is a much better option than artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.


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Sucralose and aspartame have been linked to provoke a sharp rise in insulin levels. Insulin release signals the body to store fat. Aspartame, in particular, has been investigated strongly due to its links with causing several cancers.

Thus aspartame should be avoided. For more info on why aspartame hasn’t been made illegal and the corruption behind it all, take a read of my post: Aspartame, Cancer’s Best Friend. I also mention all the foods/drinks that millions of people consume every day that contain aspartame.


. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

A pot of cottage cheese can be a great anabolic snack that takes no preparation. It also happens to be cheap and will help you build muscle by increasing protein synthesis within your muscles.

Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein. Casein is usually consumed inbetween meals or at night time before sleep, due to it taking up to 7 hours to be properly digested. This allows the muscle to get a sustained flow of amino acids and protein when having to go long times without eating.

Cost: £1 or $1.60

Protein: 32g

Calories: 230

Why Low-Fat Cottage Cheese?

As previously mentioned, a higher fat intake can often mean higher testosterone, so what’s different here? Regular cottage cheese is high in saturated fats. Regular consumption of these fats can result in LDL cholesterol levels rising. This is an unhealthy cholesterol balance, that can cause high blood pressure to occur. Thus I recommend consuming plenty of fats, but of the unsaturated kind.


When on a budget, it becomes increasingly difficult to get all the bodybuilding supplements needed to make big gains in the gym.

In this case, it could be worth getting a load of protein, creatine and pre workout samples all bundled together – which can be very cheap.

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Here’s some more ideas for bodybuilding meals on a budget:

. Wholemeal pasta with tomato pasta sauce and tuna

. Prawn mayo Avocados

. Scrambled eggs on toast

. Porridge with honey, blueberries and lemon juice.




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