Meal plan that fits a student budget, helps me gain lean muscle mass, and doesnt require much cooking...

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    Feb 08, 2008 8:21 AM GMT
    Hey guys, i need help finding a plan to get me back into shape. I am in the horrible stage where ive lost a lot of muscle mass due to school stress and just ignoring the gym and my metabolism is in full force so i lose weight too quickly. But im back into the gym hardcore and am less stressed, so, i need sum ideas of food i should stick to. My meals are all on the run since i have school, studying, the gym and a part time job that i have to bus to. In addition, try to keep in mind that im on a student budget... haha, this should get ya'll thinkin.

    My ideas thus far are
    - a granola bar before the gym.
    - after the gym tuna packed in water mixed with salsa and brown rice (sounds gross but i dig it)
    - snack on a banana or orange between classes
    - pork strips with brown rice for lunch
    - orange or banana or almonds
    - tuna with brown rice and salsa again for dinner (alternative?)
    - sorbet for dessert

    keep in mind im lactose intolerant, for sum reason cant digest eggs properly, and also i live for coffee....probably bad for me but i drink it black and its the only thing that gets me through the day.

    I appreciate all input guys, thanks a lot!
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    Feb 08, 2008 4:57 PM GMT
    That's not even close to enough.

    Eat. Hit the buffet.
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    Feb 08, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    You are doing it all wrong. First of all Canned Tuna has high levels of mercury and it isn't advisable to have tuna more than 2-3 times a week. You are having it twice a day - it can be dangerous. Also pork strips are disgusting - get rid of that from your diet too completely. Here is what I would advise you -

    1) Breakfast - get Quacker oats they are very cheap and make a big bowl with 1% fat milk - since u are lactose intolerant - you can get lactose free milk. Add splenda or a little sugar to make it sweeter. Alternatively you can also have raisin bran cereal with soy milk - you won't have lactose problems with soy milk.

    2) Look around - you can get some very cheap Whey protein online $20-30 that would last you a month. Get any simple whey protein - mix it with WATER and have 2-3 times a day. Also get a shaker you can carry in your bag - add water, shake it and drink up. Definitely have a protein shake with breakfast and once again after you workout.

    3) For lunch - have tuna 3 times a week and the rest of the days why not substitute it with canned chicken? Brown rice is good, or you can just have whole wheat or oatnut bread if you don't want to cook rice.

    4) Mid-day snack - have a granola bar, especially before gym it will give you energy, have a banana along with it if you like.

    5) Protein shake after gym.

    6) For dinner - get frozen stir fry veggies. They are cheap and easy to make. Also try the V8 vegetable juice - get the low sodium - its easy to drink and has high nutritional value. Since you can't have eggs, then get chicken or turkey sausage - that with stir fry veggies or V8 juice could be a good dinner. You don't need too many carbs late at night - so stay away from rice or bread.

    Be creative - alternate your meals and don't eat the same thing all the time. You can eat cheap and still healthy but please dont have so much tuna and get rid of the pork skins completely. Lastly, try not to have more than 2 cups of coffee a day.. if you are losing weight then its because of the coffee... cut it down.
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    Feb 08, 2008 10:01 PM GMT
    Rowerboy,

    Here's a sample:

    1. Breakfast - Quaker oatmeal with a drizzle of honey, skim milk, and a handful of almonds. Supplement with a protein shake. ALTERNATIVE: 1 cup fat free yogurt mixed with rasperries, blueberries, and blackberries, and some granola. Will keep you filled up.
    2. Snack: apple and 2 slices of natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread
    3. Lunch: high protein source like tuna. It's more expensive, but if you can get albacore. I eat more than 3 cans of tuna a day and I have no appreciable mecruty levels. LOL. Mix it with a complex carb like you are doing, such as brown rice.
    4. A banana or two as a snack.
    5. About 45 min before you work out: tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread, or lowfat cottage cheese with a slice or two of whole wheat bread
    6. After gym: ALWAYS, ALWAYS drink about 50 grams of simple carbs, like from Gatorade, no more than 45 minutes after you work out. Your body needs to replenish its glycogen levels.
    7. Tuna mixed with beans (protein and loads of fiber)
    8. FF Yogurt with some fruit

    This is just a sample. If you email me I can send you what my off-season diet look like.

    My meals are on the run too since I work a 9-5 office job and I have to prepare mine in the morning before I leave.
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    Feb 08, 2008 10:12 PM GMT
    Oops, I didn't see the part about you being lactose-intolerant. That scratches a few things off my sample. icon_biggrin.gif

    You can usually get lactose-free skim milk at grocery stores.
    Get rid of the pork strips! I'd bet they are filled with sodium.
    I don't recommend granola BARS - commercial ones usually have high-fructose corn syrup in them (very bad for you). If you can afford it, buy a box of protein bars, and carry a few around with you. You can also carry a shaker with protein powder in it, and fill it up with water (depending on the protein, it may clump up...I use Isopure which mixes very smoothly).

    You can also carry almonds, walnuts or the like with you for a quick snack.

    Since two main protein sources are out for you, I would try to set aside one night where you can cook something in bulk, freeze/refrigerate it and carry it in sealable containers. You can buy a pack of chicken or turkey breasts, mariade/season them (15 min) and broil or bake them. The whole process should take no more than 45 minutes, and you'll have plenty of protein to take around with you.
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    Feb 09, 2008 4:37 AM GMT
    hey thanks guys, this is sounding awesome so faricon_smile.gif I guess my eating plan was all wrong, good thing i considered asking some experts first! thanks a lot and keep those suggestions comin, hopefully it helps not only me but others in the same situation.
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    Feb 09, 2008 5:12 AM GMT
    A job at a hotel.
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    Feb 09, 2008 6:09 AM GMT
    alright bud (chucky..stud? i think not) u obviously have nothing to contribute, so in all fairness and what not, y dont u go pump some more iron and tan a lil more
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    Feb 09, 2008 6:36 AM GMT
    rowerboy that was a great question. I was thinking to same thing about trying to eat to gain weight on a student budget.
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    Feb 09, 2008 6:37 AM GMT
    A job at a hotel fits the bill, Little One.

    Here's how:
    1. Hotels have banquets with lots of food. There is always left over food. The help usually gets to eat that food. That food is not McDonald's or Burger King. It's steak, shrimp, fish, and the like. Those banquets often have some GREAT food!

    2. You always get tips, so you have cash for incidentals.

    3. You learn social skills, of not lashing out, and you learn to think critically.

    A job in a hotel, or a high end restaurant, is perfect for a college kid on a budget that wants to grow, network, meet people, and have cash in his pocket on an ongoing basis.

    Next time, before you lash out, think more clearly.

    I made my greatest gains working for Hilton and Valentino's. Chef used to stuff me full, every day. I got to 230 that way.

    When you want something, rather than being hateful, you need to come up with a plan to remove obstacles. That's why you've continued to fail. You aren't right-thinking.
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    Feb 09, 2008 7:13 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidA job at a hotel fits the bill, Little One.

    Here's how:
    1. Hotels have banquets with lots of food. There is always left over food. The help usually gets to eat that food. That food is not McDonald's or Burger King. It's steak, shrimp, fish, and the like. Those banquets often have some GREAT food!

    2. You always get tips, so you have cash for incidentals.

    3. You learn social skills, of not lashing out, and you learn to think critically.

    A job in a hotel, or a high end restaurant, is perfect for a college kid on a budget that wants to grow, network, meet people, and have cash in his pocket on an ongoing basis.

    Next time, before you lash out, think more clearly.

    I made my greatest gains working for Hilton and Valentino's. Chef used to stuff me full, every day. I got to 230 that way.

    When you want something, rather than being hateful, you need to come up with a plan to remove obstacles. That's why you've continued to fail. You aren't right-thinking.



    Dude! How in the fuck did you go from offering advice on a simple Menu to psychoanalyzing someone you've never met before? DANG! You need to crank up Fergies Big Girls Don't Cry and pet a kitty cat or somethin LOL
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    Feb 09, 2008 11:14 AM GMT
    When I was in grad school (8 years ago..lol).. I used to buy frozen chicken breasts in bulk from Costco.. back then for $7-$8 you could get a whole weeks supply of frozen chicken. I had a foreman grill and would sprinkle some seasoning powder on the chicken and throw it on the grill. I also used to get frozen turkey patties and grill those. Get a foreman grill - you can even cook frozen vegetables on it with a little seasoning... you can grill sausages too on that and so many other meats for a quick high protein / low fat meal.
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    Feb 09, 2008 1:30 PM GMT
    if the granola bar is about breakfast on the go if you dont have alot of time then try this:

    1) Place oats in a bowl add hot water and stick in fridge over night

    2) Next day remove saturated oats and stick them in a blender, add soy milk (masking the taste like this is the only thing I find pallatable) add a banana or fruit of choice. Whizz for a few minutes and voila

    You then have a nice punch of protein and some slow and fast release carbs, the only thing I would warn yuo about and the same goes for protein shakes is if its a warm day make sure you wash the container out as soon as you have drunk it! trust me on that one

    I think the mercury comment on tuna is over sensationalising it abit but we all have our own foibles we like to adhere to.

    As for best meal for bulking:

    Pasta, chicken a white sauce and fresh veg. Dirt cheap portable or good for the evening meal.

    In the day time I used to fill my gaps with fruit and also we have these things called Grabbits. Its pretty much a chicken kebab but unadalterated.

    If cooking is an issue buy yourself a table top george Grill or whatever yuo call em out there, great for salmon, chicken and prawns (the latter being a good source of l'arginine) as is avocadoes altho they are high on the fat content side. They are dead easy to cook with and take less than 10 minutes meantime you could be boiling your pasta.
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    Feb 09, 2008 2:22 PM GMT
    The question was "Meal plan that fits a student budget, helps me gain lean muscle mass, and doesn't require much cooking..."

    If you work in a hotel, chef does the cooking of high quality food. The food is free. You'll gain lean muscle fast. It fits all the criteria of the question, and more.

    The added bonus is networking, and money.

    Clearly, someone has critical thinking issues, even after reading my second response.

    If you're willing to make an effort, you can cook, and measure all your meals, one day a week, all at once. That doesn't fit your non-cooking / low-cooking requirement.

    Another way, and I've seen guys get huge doing this is to live in the dorm and be on the all you can eat plan. No cooking; copious amounts of food.

    The part you're missing is innovative critical thinking on your own.

    As I said, I got my biggest while working at the Hilton and having chef stuff me full of good food on a daily basis. I didn't work long hours, as ranted on above, although, I do have a work ethic, I went to work everyday for about five hours, and chowed twice while I was there, and, sometimes, chef would send me home with stuff.

    Gaining weight is about calories, and plenty of them. It's not like running a nuclear reactor.

    It's unfortunate that you took an affront to an idea that has worked perfectly well for many. I suspect you'll continue to fail in your efforts because of having such a poor attitude. That's o.k.
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    Feb 09, 2008 3:30 PM GMT
    Alright everyone here needs to understand that this is a forum and by posting a thread asking for help you will get a variety of responses back. This isn't a panel of experts with their many degrees hanging off their backs (some may well be professionals). But in general, people responding back are doing so based on their own experiences and point of view. It is up to the reader to decide which responses have merit and which ones do not. Regardless of how meaningful you think someone's contribution is, the polite thing to do is thank everyone that responds back. If it is anywhere longer than a few sentences, then clearly they put some time into writing back to answer your question. It is okay to disagree with someone and to offer constructive criticism but what I see here goes beyond that.
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    Feb 09, 2008 4:33 PM GMT
    Oh, golly, someone who fails at it lashes out, again. I've said this several times, and I'll say it again.

    Travelstud, just so you know, before you THINK whatever you'd like to think:

    1. I was 175 at 12% and had the fifth highest strength index in my high school. I was 230 at 12% when I was 28. I've been studied by several organizations because of how I respond to resistance training.

    2. I'm in my 33rd year of lifting.

    3. When I started lifting juice was over the counter. No (as in zero) organizations (From both Real Sports #99, and National Geographic's special last week) recommended that they be controlled.

    4. I've been on testosterone for years. I have a script. I'm 47 years old.

    Jealously is truly the sincerest form of flattery. Your lashing out at me, while it's the sincerest compliment of all, is both off topic, and only shows your ignorance, and is most unbecoming.

    You might wish to also give me credit for having great genes, great know how, a strong work ethic, discipline, and having lifted for 33 years.

    Likely, you could take a buttload of juice and not be at the level I've been at for years.

    Again, thank you for your compliment, however, ignorant, and misguided, it might be.

    The hotel employment solution worked great for me: tons of good food; a supportive group of people; networking; money in my pocket; not much cooking. The response was both appropriate, and germane. It got me to 230 at 12%.

    Attacking me at a personal level only shows your level of immaturity. Have at it, if you wish, but, you won't phase me.

    For whatever it's worth, I only get as light as 160 when I walk on a stage as a lightweight (2 years ago), and rarely drop below 190.

    You might meet with more success, and not be do dreadfully thin, if you changed your methods.

    As I said, I weighed 175 at 16. I never was as small as 160 in nominal modality.
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    Feb 09, 2008 6:03 PM GMT
    chuckystud, ur input is appreciated but please stop, thanks
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    Feb 09, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    rowerboy saidchuckystud, ur input is appreciated but please stop, thanks


    lol
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    Feb 09, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    OK.. I Deleted my previous comments about Chucky - but I just have to say this to him - seems like a lot of people on this and many other threads are tired of your useless banter... please show some class by not being bitchy and making fun of guys half your age - BASICALLY PLEASE GROW UP... AND I DON'T MEAN GROW "BIG".. I MEAN "GROW UP"... THATS ALL.
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    Feb 10, 2008 6:46 AM GMT
    That hotel thing sounds like a good idea... I'm gonna give it a try and let you guys know how it turns out icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 11, 2008 9:21 PM GMT
    Hey buddy I was in your shoes at your age and what did it for me was chicken ( skinless breasts broiled) and pasta. Wheat pasta or brown rice is good. I don't know the price of chicken breasts where you are at but if you pound them out 1/4 inch you will get at least 2 servings from each breast so two breasts for a resonable price on a budge is four servings. Say 2 breasts is 3.85 get four packages for 16 bucks of protein you've got 16 meals covered for under 15 bucks. two weeks covered. Not bad. Whole Pastas and brown rice are cheap. Head for the veggies and get what you know you will eat for a week. Always good deals on a variety of greens. Fruit is expensive here but might be less expensive where you are at. You could easily eat very well and get what you need for 35 bucks a week.

    Load up on your protein with the chicken and keep the tuna. The cans are good but fresh is so much better. a bit more high priced. Kill processed sugars. Drink a glass of milk before you go to bed or have a slice of cheese. A great snack is cottage cheese and a apple. multiple small meals are better for you. When you go to work take some of that chicken and pasta with you. Each serving is the size of your first or the size of a deck of cards. I think you can get all you need on a strict budget and may find out you save money that you throw out for a fast food fix.

    Looks like this place gives solid advice minus a few snarks but thats the nature of message boards. Good luck. If you need any suggestions don't hesitate to ask.
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    Feb 11, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    As I am a poor, poor student I know where you are coming from. Brown rice, beans, and seeds are your new best friends. They are very, very inexpensive and combined they form a complete protein. If you can spring for a rice cooker with your next student loan check you can program the sucker to give you warm, delicious, and nutritious meals when you get home.

    Throw in ingredients.
    Set timer.
    Go to class and the gym.
    Come home to delicious yum.
  • dionysus

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    Feb 12, 2008 12:35 AM GMT
    wheat bread. tuna. apples. almonds. they're all pretty cheap icon_biggrin.gif
  • dionysus

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    Feb 12, 2008 12:37 AM GMT
    Travelstud saidYou are doing it all wrong. First of all Canned Tuna has high levels of mercury and it isn't advisable to have tuna more than 2-3 times a week. You are having it twice a day - it can be dangerous. Also pork strips are disgusting - get rid of that from your diet too completely. Here is what I would advise you -

    1) Breakfast - get Quacker oats they are very cheap and make a big bowl with 1% fat milk - since u are lactose intolerant - you can get lactose free milk. Add splenda or a little sugar to make it sweeter. Alternatively you can also have raisin bran cereal with soy milk - you won't have lactose problems with soy milk.

    2) Look around - you can get some very cheap Whey protein online $20-30 that would last you a month. Get any simple whey protein - mix it with WATER and have 2-3 times a day. Also get a shaker you can carry in your bag - add water, shake it and drink up. Definitely have a protein shake with breakfast and once again after you workout.

    3) For lunch - have tuna 3 times a week and the rest of the days why not substitute it with canned chicken? Brown rice is good, or you can just have whole wheat or oatnut bread if you don't want to cook rice.

    4) Mid-day snack - have a granola bar, especially before gym it will give you energy, have a banana along with it if you like.

    5) Protein shake after gym.

    6) For dinner - get frozen stir fry veggies. They are cheap and easy to make. Also try the V8 vegetable juice - get the low sodium - its easy to drink and has high nutritional value. Since you can't have eggs, then get chicken or turkey sausage - that with stir fry veggies or V8 juice could be a good dinner. You don't need too many carbs late at night - so stay away from rice or bread.

    Be creative - alternate your meals and don't eat the same thing all the time. You can eat cheap and still healthy but please dont have so much tuna and get rid of the pork skins completely. Lastly, try not to have more than 2 cups of coffee a day.. if you are losing weight then its because of the coffee... cut it down.


    skip the splenda, recent studies are proving its ability to render neuraltransmitters obsolete. shocking since its just sugar blasted with chlorine gas. woo over stepping our bounds in chemical diagnosis.
    whey protein is only as good as the multi-vitamin that you're taking it with. make sure you're not allergic to it as well since some whey protein powders (especially the cheap ones) contain lactose. silk soy milk is awesome. i tend to aim for the soy milks even though i can have lactose because of their increased protein and decreased fat.
  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Feb 12, 2008 12:40 AM GMT
    im a student. i went from rowing at a competition weight of 183 to having to stop all workout from a back problem, and now im 217 with the lowest body fat ive ever had.

    brown rice. chicken breast, and everything ive said before. imma go be quiet now, i can't think of anything else.