Bulking on a budget: for people who train hard, but earn little

 As I mentioned before, I have just turned Wolkify into my own company, on which I work full time. 

And as fun as it sounds at first, it mostly means one thing: I have constant expenses, while at the same time no income. Hopefully that changes in the future, but right now there is no cash coming in. 

At the same time though I try to eat high quality food – and a lot of it – to build up some mass. Which begs the question: What is the best food to consume if you train and want to build muscle, but don’t want to break the bank? It has to be high in calories, ideally protein-rich and still not expensive. This is about the only thing I look for when I buy groceries right now!

So over the last months I have perfected my diet into that direction, and today I want to share those insights with you. How to bulk on a budget!

The 10 best bulking foods for the poor man

Disclaimer: All prices are based on what it costs in a Swedish supermarket. Depending on where you live, the food will be even cheaper or cost a bit more. Also I of course eat not only what is on the list here. I include a lot more fruits, vegetables and meat, but don’t list them cause this is not a grocery list, but a list of good foods if you want to bulk on a budget. All nutrient facts are based on 100 Grams.

1. Oats 


About 2 Dollars per Kilo

Oats are not only rich in fiber and high in calories, they also have a surprisingly high percentage of protein, making it perfect for bulking. The fact that oats are cheap make them even more awesome and a must for every poor gym rat.

  • Energy ca 370 Kcal
  • Fat ca 7 Grams
  • Carbs ca 58 Grams
  • Fiber ca 10 Grams
  • Protein ca 13 Grams

2. Sweet Potatoes

2,80 Dollars per Kilo

Crazy high in vitamin A and Potassium, sweet potatoes also give you the energy that you need during the day. Furthermore, they are freaking delicious, especially with Quark (see below).

  • Energy ca 86 Kcal
  • Protein ca 1,3 Grams 
  • Carbs ca. 20 Grams

3. Quark

2,50 Dollars per Kilo

This is a tricky one, since to my knowledge it doesn’t exist outside of Europe. But it should, since it is fantastic! Think a combination of cream cheese and Joghurt that you can eat with pretty much anything.

  • Energy ca 70 Kcal
  • Fat ca 0.3 Grams
  • Carbs ca 3.9 Grams
  • Protein ca 12 Grams

4. Avocado

6,90 Dollars per Kilo

Very high in fat (but the good kind) and great on bread, in salad or as a side dish, Avocados are a must. Yes, they are not that cheap. But I think they are worth the price, even when you are bulking on a budget. 

  • Energy ca 160 Kcal
  • Fat ca 15 Grams
  • Carbs ca 9 Grams
  • Protein 2 Grams

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice

2,50 Dollars per Kilo

Cheap, healthy, calorie-dense: brown rice should be the foundation for every bulk. Mix it with chicken, some veggies and a good sause and you are good to go!

  • Energy ca 360 Kcal
  • Fat ca 1.9 Grams
  • Carbs ca 77 Grams
  • Fiber ca 8.7 Grams
  • Protein ca 7.1 Grams

6. Chickpeas


3,30 Dollars per Kilo

Goes great with the before-mentioned rice, with pasta, with potatoes… you can always add them, they provide some  good protein and they taste well. What’s not to like?

  • Energy ca 110 Kcal 
  • Fat ca 2.8 Grams
  • Carbs ca 11 Grams 
  • Fiber ca 5.8 Grams 
  • Protein ca 6.1 Grams

7. Peanut butter

7,50 Dollars per Kilo

Everything with nuts in it won’t be super cheap. But see it this way: peanut butter also has A LOT more calories than other food! So you do in fact get the most bang for your buck there, especially if you buy in bulk. The peanut butter below is the one I usually order.

  • Energy ca 580 Kcal
  • Fat ca 46 Grams
  • Carbs ca 12 Grams
  • Protein ca 30 Grams

8. Almonds

10 Dollars per Kilo

Also a bit pricy, but great as a snack in between. And here is a pro tip: buy the ones that are supposed to be for baking. They are are a lot cheaper. 

  • Energy ca 585 Kcal
  • Fat ca 49 gram
  • Carbs ca 9.5 Grams
  • Fiber ca 12 Grams
  • Protein ca 21 Grams

9. Rye bread

2,30 Dollars per Kilo

Delicious with the Avocado mentioned above. It is healthier than white bread, tastes better and when you buy the rye-t one (the one on the supermarket), you don’t pay the high prices that usually come with quality bread. 

  • Energy ca 200 Kcal
  • Fat ca 1.3 Grams
  • Carbs ca 37 Grams
  • Fiber ca 10 Grams
  • Protein ca 5.5 Grams

10. Bananas

2,30 Dollars per Kilo

Bananas are nature’s best snack. You can take them anywhere, you can eat them with everything, they are just perfect. Mix them with your oats, but them on your bread, you can even dip them into peanut butter!

  • Energy ca. 90 Kcal
  • Carbs ca 23 Grams
  • Fiber 2,6 Grams
  • Protein ca 1 Gram


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