Meal Plans for Building Muscle on a Budget: The Basics

There are several macronutrient-rich foods for bodybuilding that should be incorporated into any muscle-building eating plan. These foods are high in protein, good fats, or carbohydrates and can easily be used in takeout recipes or snacks.


High in slow-burning carbohydrates and easy to buy in bulk, oatmeal is a staple in any muscle-building meal plan. Although primarily intended for breakfast, oatmeal is a great food to add to protein shakes to increase caloric intake, low-sugar, high-protein oatmeal cookies, and homemade snack bars.

Estimated Price: Quaker Oats, 42 oz Oatmeal is priced between $ 5 and $ 6 at stores like Walmart or Target.

Peanut butter

Calorically dense and easy to use, peanut butter is a critical component of most bodybuilding diets. When creating an eating plan to build muscle on a budget or even for convenience, peanut butter is one of the most valuable foods. Peanut butter is extremely rich in essential fatty acids and protein. These fats and proteins are extremely important for the body to build muscle and stay in a state of anabolism. Peanut butter can be added to protein shakes (along with oatmeal), can be used for a sandwich (yes, peanut butter and jelly), and can even be eaten straight out of the tub for a quick snack. In addition to being dense in good macronutrients, peanut butter is extremely satiating and allows the body to feel less hungry throughout the day.

Estimated Price: Peanut butter brands like Jif and Peter Pan, 40 oz containers are priced between $ 5 and $ 6 at stores like Walmart or Target.

Canned tuna

Canned tuna is another staple of the bodybuilding community diet. Canned meat is not only practical, it is also affordable. Most canned tuna are extremely high in protein. One can have 30 to 50 g of protein (depending on the brand and size of the can). Also, while the flavor of tuna alone isn’t the most appealing, the meat is easy to manipulate to make tuna salad sandwiches, tuna steak, and quick tuna burgers.

Estimated Price: Canned tuna, 12 oz cans are priced between $ 2- $ 4 at stores like Walmart or Target.

Eggs (both whole and egg whites)

Anyone who has been creating a bodybuilding meal plan understands the importance of protein. Eggs have been used by fitness enthusiasts as a quick protein fix for years. Although most consider the yolk of the egg to be a negative aspect of the whole egg, the simple fact is that the whole egg has essential fats and good cholesterol that the body needs to function properly. This is why many, if not most, of fitness and bodybuilding dietitians believe that some whole eggs are recommended along with egg whites. Also, one of the benefits of eggs is the ability to pre-cook large batches and take them with you as a quick snack. Eggs are extremely cost-effective and can be cooked fried, scrambled, boiled, and even used to create flower-free protein pancakes.

Estimated Price: When creating a meal plan on a budget, eggs can and should be purchased in bulk. Whole egg packages at Costco range from $ 6 to $ 7 for 7.5 dozen eggs.


Starting a bodybuilding or fitness routine is challenging enough. Sacrificing food cravings and cheap, fast foods makes it difficult to stick to an eating plan. Plus, the budget constraints of having to buy and eat high-quality food make staying on track that much more difficult. However, the foods mentioned above allow you to build muscle on a much easier and much more profitable budget. Each listed food can be prepared in a number of ways and provides the essential macronutrients needed for any fitness and bodybuilding eating plan.

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