Is it possible to bulk on a budget? 8 cheap bulking foods

You want to build muscle, and get more toned and fit, right? But, you don’t want to go broke trying. Here are 8 cheap bulking foods that can help you build muscle.

man working out in a gym with ropes

Building muscle on a budget

Getting bulk is the goal, but depleting your wallet is not. Have no fear- it is possible to bulk on a budget! By buying cheaper and more convenient foods high in protein will help you be bulk in no time, and still have a lot in your bank account. These 8 foods are cheap and found at every grocery store.

Eating these cheap bulking foods, and others high in protein, and exercising can help you become toned, fit, and bulk in no time. And getting a good variety of all these foods would help too.

a bowl of eggs


Eggs are one of the best bulk-building foods, with 6 grams of protein in each egg, and packed with nutrients and vitamins. They are cheap, healthy, and yummy. They are filling, contain 11 vitamins and minerals, and raise levels of cholesterol.

They are a great breakfast and post-workout snack.

Peanut Butterjar of peanut butter surrounded by peanuts

Peanut Butter is delicious and very high in protein and fiber. There are 6 grams of protein in every 2 tablespoon serving. It’s cheap, easy, and tasty.

Peanut butter contains nutrients that can improve a person’s heart health and blood sugar levels. It has lots of nutrients and vitamins in it, including magnesium and zinc, and vitamin B.

You can eat it on a spoon, add it to smoothies, spread it on a piece of bread, or make peanut butter protein balls.

Spinachbowl of spinach

Spinach is an awesome body-building food; in fact, a lot of vegetables are. Spinach contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs, and 50 % of its calories come from protein, with 0.6 grams of it in every cup.

This leafy green is also high in calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can reduce your blood sugar, help your skin, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

It is quite the superfood and is great sautéed or in smoothies and salads.

Milksomeone pouring milk into a glass

Drinking milk is one of the best ways to get more protein into your diet. A liter of milk contains 32 grams of protein- from whey and casein. Milk is rich in calcium, high in protein, and has vitamin B and D in it. Milk is great for muscle building, and it is cheap too.

Whey protein digests quickly while casein protein digests more slowly.

Milk is easy to add to smoothies or drink a glass with a meal or after a workout, and is one of the best among cheap bulking foods.

Beansa variety of beans

Beans are also great for building muscle, with 15 grams of protein per cup. They also contain vitamins, fiber, iron, and antioxidants. Canned beans are pretty cheap, but dried beans are even cheaper and easy to cook, placing them among the top cheap bulking foods.

There is a lot of variety in beans as well:

Edamame- 31.3 grams of protein per cup

Pinto beans- 15.4 grams of protein per cup

Kidney beans- 15.3 grams of protein per cup

Black Beans- 15.2 grams of protein per cup

Northern beans- 6 grams of protein per cup

Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)- 2.4 grams of protein per cup

Green Beans- 1.8 grams of protein per cup

And so many more. There are a lot of types of beans to choose from, and eating them will get you a lot of protein.

If you go with the dried bean route remember to soak them for a few hours before you could them. It will make them softer and easier to cook. You can cook beans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. It’s pretty hands-off cooking and so good and flavorful.

Tunatuna, one of the best cheap bulking foods

You can find tuna cans with up to 30 grams of protein. Tuna is another perfect body-building food that is high in protein and low in fat. It’s inexpensive and has tons of health benefits as well. You can make a tuna sandwich, tuna salad, or fish cakes.  Cans of tuna are under a dollar, and if you get them in oil they are even cheaper than that.

Ground Beef

Ground beef is high in protein. It contains 65 grams of protein in every pound of ground beef. It is usually cheaper than steaks or thick cuts of meat, and there are a lot of dishes you can make with it, making it one of the best cheap bulking foods for evening meals.

Quinoabowl of quinoa

Quinoa a superfood for bodybuilding and the perfect post-workout meal. Quinoa is high in protein (24 grams per cup,) and high in fiber. It is also full of vitamins and minerals and is gluten-free. It has all nine essential amino acids in it. Quinoa is the way to go while looking to build muscles. It is on the more expensive side of this list but is still pretty cheap. You can buy it in bulk, and a little goes a long way. The grain expands to almost 4 times its size, so 1 cup of quinoa is about 4 cups when cooked.

What about supplements?supplements in front of barbell

While there are a lot of great supplements out there, you want to make sure you are getting your food in first, especially if you are on a budget. A good diet is key before you add in the supplements.

Food has lots of essential nutrients, and supplements are an extra bonus if you aren’t getting all the nutrients you need, even after eating a good diet. Supplements are there to supplement your diet, and while supplements are great, make sure you are getting the right amount of food and a variety of foods before relying too much on supplements.

What types of food to look for at the store

There are a lot more great cheap bulking foods to help build muscle. This was a list of 8, but there are many foods that help you bulk up. Look for foods that are high in protein, and get some variety. Remember one gram of protein contains 4 calories.

More tips on bulking up

  • Go with leaner meats
  • Remember that a post-workout meal within 45 minutes after the workout helps your muscles recover.
  • Buying in bulk is typically cheaper
  • Check out some online resources like MyPlate to find out how much protein you need per day.

Eating these foods, and keeping your daily protein amount in mind will help you build the muscle you need.

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