15 Proven Muscle Building Foods on a low Budget.

People — especially those that have very thin frame — resort to learning how to build muscle and gain weight. To them, this weight gain will mean that they are doing it not only to enhance their developed physical body but also their wellbeing. But money can be a challenge, especially now when the Covid 19 has hit the world hard.

If your goal is to build muscle on a tight budget you should focus on regularly exercising and eating more calories daily from cheap muscle-building foods. You may choose to do your workouts from home to save up other than going to the gym.

Here are 15 Inexpensive foods for building muscle.

Legumes are a group of vegetable protein that include beans, pulses, lentils, peas and many more. They are affordable muscle building foods that can be bought in bulk and stored for later.


Beans come in varieties from pinto to kidney to black beans. Canned beans are inexpensive, but the dried beans are far much cheaper. Each cup contains about 15 grams of protein but just 220 calories.

Besides being rich in magnesium, phosphorus and iron, beans are excellent sources of fibre and B vitamins. They are a great source of plant-based protein to add to your diet. For these reasons beans are an economical mass building food.

Tip: Buy dried beans in bulk and pre-soak before boiling to save you both money and fuel.


Eggs contain 75 calories and are a healthy choice for weight gain

Eggs are readily available, cheap and a perfect food for healthy weight gain. They’re not just filled with protein, vitamins and minerals, they also give you the energy you need to get through the day.

Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline which is particularly essential for muscle gain.

Tip: Eggs are inexpensive, particularly when purchased in bulk, and are among the body ‘s top easy assimilation proteins. Egg whites and oatmeal are among the fitness industry’s most common muscle-building foods.


Milk is a good source of calories, calcium, and other nutrients, it offers a balanced approach to cheap weight gain. In particular, it can be beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders who want to gain muscle, as well as for those who are underweight and want to gain mass.

Several studies have shown that when people drink milk in conjunction with weight training, they will improve their muscle mass.(1)

Tip: Purchasing a gallon of milk may be cheaper per ounce, but you’re pouring money down the drain if you don’t use everything before it goes bad. Always keep your milk cold to avoid spoiling.


Popeye’s favorite I now understand why!

Spinach has long been considered to be rich in nutrients such as calcium and iron, but has never been shown to be capable of raising strength.

Now, scientists have shown that chemicals in spinach may help create muscles in laboratory experiments, increasing the conversion of protein into muscle mass by the body.

Tip: You can grow a few spinach seedlings in pots since it grows fast. It is also easy to grow and takes 40-45days to reach its harvesting potential.

Peanut Butter.

Peanut butter is a simple way of raising your intake.

Peanut butter has been for years a staple for most western bodybuilders. And now other bodybuilders and gym-goers can swear by it thanks to globalization.

Peanut butter is one of the cheapest proteins from plants that you can get. Per two-tablespoon peanut butter serving contains eight grams of protein, Angelone says, along with other nutrients such as vitamin B6, magnesium and fiber. Just look for varieties that only contain two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

Tip: You may opt for other but butter like macadamia, almond, cashew but peanut butter is cheaper. This is because peanuts are cheaper to grow.

Greek yogurt.

Low fat Greek yogurt has around 150 calories and 20 grams of protein. It’s a much better protein source than costly protein powder for your smoothie, and the calories will keep you feeling full longer.

Dairy products contains not only high-quality protein, but also a blend of fast-digested whey protein and slow-digested casein protein.

Some studies has shown that people experience an increase in lean muscle mass when they eat a mixture of fast- and slow-digestive milk proteins.

This is where Greek yogurt comes in.

Lean Beef.

Red meat is one of the best food for muscle building. Steak contains around 2-3 grams of leucine per 5-6 ounces. Leucine is the vital key amino acid which your body requires to add new muscle tissue and stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

As a matter of fact, red meats are one of the largest sources of dietary creatine, which is probably the world’s largest muscle building supplement. They also have more fat and calories than lean meats, allowing you to add weight and extra calories.

“Protein is the most obvious component in beef that can help anyone who is in training,” says Rick Hall, an Arizona State University (Tempe) registered dietitian and nutrition instructor.

Hall explains that it contains an impressive collection of the nine essential amino acids and has a high biological value, which means it is very digestible and functional by the body. In reality, studies show that high biological value foods are what you should be looking for to fix those post-workout muscles.

Tip: Consider lean ground beef, its a more affordable staple.

Cottage cheese.

Brick cheese is cheaper than the shredded one.

One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese contains 28 grams of protein including a heavy dose of the essential amino acid leucine that builds muscle. Don’t knock it just because your grandma used to eat it. 

Infact, Cottage cheese is packed with even more protein than Greek yogurt. Its an affordable product in most outlets. Choose the type of cottage cheese depending on how many extra calories you want to add to your diet.

Tip: When purchasing cheese, buy bricks/ blocks other than shredded its economical


Edamame are packed with large amounts of Vit. K, folate and manganese.

Edamame- immature soybeans are commonly found at grocery stores in frozen bags at a budget.

1 cup of frozen Edamame (155 grams) provides about 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre. It also contains large quantities of folate, vitamin K and manganese.

Studies show that Folate helps your body process amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and may be important for optimal muscle mass and strength.

Tip:Frozen vegetables are more effective nutritionally and are much less expensive than fresh.


Quinoa is one of the best post workout food. It is not only high in protein (24 g per cup) and fiber, it is also high in magnesium and iron, which helps facilitate synthesis of proteins. Moreover, it contains all nine amino acids that are important for muscle building.

Even so, Quinoa has a reputation for being costly but recently it’s price has been on the decline due to increased production as ABC News reported. You can save money by choosing the generic brand, buying from wholesale stores or buying in bulk

Tip: When you buy quinoa in bulk now that its in high production, it’s important to store it in a cool place, and if you are going to store it for long, place it in airtight containers and remove the oxygen with oxygen absorbers.


Soybeans are calorie dense and a good source of Vitamin K

Soybeans are especially a good source of vitamin K, iron and phosphorus.

Soy protein and animal protein are equally effective in building muscle mass and strength. Undertaking resistance workouts is key in increasing muscle strength.

Tip: You can purchase soybeans in bulk from Amazon and it can be delivered to you in a day if you are on Amazon Prime.


Tuna is a high -quality protein source with practically no fat. It includes all of the essential amino acids that the body requires to develop and sustain lean muscle tissue. Canned tuna can be a good source of omega-3 heart -healthy fatty acids, serving 150 milligrams or more per four -ounce.

Flavored tuna packets have helped make this high-protein snack more affordable and versatile.

Tip: Consider buying canned tuna than fresh since it is cheaper.


Carbohydrates such as white rice are essential to fuel physical training. Carbs also replenish the glycogen muscle stores following extreme workouts.

A large bowl of white rice combined with grilled chicken breast is one of the most common meals for weightlifters. Endurance runners also load white rice with carbo before their events.

Studies shows that carbohydrate-rich foods ranking high on the glycemic index provide a readily available source of carbohydrate for muscle glycogen synthesis.

Tip: Buy rice in bulk just like other cereals since its cheaper.


Avocado is a super fruit at approximately 160cal.

Muscle building is not just about eating a lot of protein; you need to get enough fat in your diet too. Avocados, which are technically a fruit and not a vegetable, are very high in calories.

The avocados have a very high fat content. In fact, fat accounts for 77 per cent of their calories. They mainly contain monounsaturated fat, plus a small amount of saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Studies have linked oleic acid to health benefits, such as decreased inflammation and lower risk of heart disease growth.

Research has shown that daily consumption of healthy fats (like those found in avocados) improves testosterone production and growth hormone output. This is a vital part of building up muscle. Avocados also produce 60 per cent more potassium than a banana electrolyte.

Avocado prices are comfortable and on the cheaper side meaning you can’t miss this super food on your shopping list.


Beetroot is a root vegetable packed with potent antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Nitrate is a chemical which occurs naturally in certain foods and when ingested, it is converted into nitric oxide. Studies show that nitrate -rich vegetables promote improved health and athletic performance. Inorganic nitrate may help muscles function more efficiently – and beets are high in the nutrient.

Drinking beet juice increases levels of nitric oxide in your body. Evidence shows that nitric oxide can enhance blood flow, increase lung function and strengthen muscle contraction.

Other affordable muscle building foods

  • Sweet potatoes, yams, Irish potatoes.
  • Whole brown bread, bagel, buns.
  • Sardines, shrimps
  • Tilapia
  • Chia seeds, nuts and dried fruits
  • Chicken, turkey.
  • Fruits- Mangoes, bananas, apples, pineapples.

A healthy muscle building shopping list on a budget.

Gaining muscle involves eating a higher amount of protein and carbohydrates to reach a calorie surplus. In other words, a calorie deficit, or more physical activity than calorie consumption, may result in weight loss.

However,your healthy grocery list needs to meet your calorie requirements. That means you have to read labels to understand their contents, and it also means identifying the best foods that provide what you need.

This means that your budget does not have to restrict the quality of the food you eat as much as you would expect. Take a look at our list below and you can find that many of the popular food products are typically very CHEAP.

As you prepare your list put the following points in mind.

  • Pay attention to the proteins, carbohydrates and fats that you need.
  • Its not all about what you have to spend but how you spend.
  • Buy in bulk and invest in storage.

List of healthy foods you can purchase in bulk.

  1. Dried beans.
  2. Dried chickpeas.
  3. Dried lentils.

Tip: Soak them before cooking to save you time and energy.

  • Canned Tuna or tinned fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Lean ground beef.
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt.
  • Peanut butter and/or nuts( cashew,almonds,peanut,
  • Rice( buy in bulk)
  • Fruits (Avocado, bananas and mangos)
  • Vegetables ( Spinach, broccoli,beets, asparagus, potatoes)
  • Whole breads ( brown)
  • Olive oil/ flaxseed oil
  • Others – Condiments, whole milk, oat meal.
Take home Message.

The above list is just a guideline of what your shopping list should look like. It doesn’t have to strain you beyond your financial ability. But in your Inexpensive weight gain journey how you prepare your meals to make them delicious matters. Cook with healthy oils like flax seed oil and olive oil. Add spices to improve food taste.Though tempting try to avoid the likes of soda, burgers, French fries etc. Drink water.

Do you like our articles? Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive weekly articles and inspiration.

Success! You're on the list.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.