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What you need to eat to bulk up

If you’re someone that has been trying to build muscle for any length of time, then it’s likely that you’ve already worked out that strength training is only half of it. In order to gain good quality muscle, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn. Not only that, but a high amount of these calories will need to come from protein. Now, it can be that a larger food intake will have an impact on your bank balance, especially when you pair it with a gym membership and other expenses.

So, that is why we have 10 great foods that are filled with nutrients, that will help you build the muscle you want, and not break the bank. Let’s get to it.


Every egg can contain anything from five to six grams of protein and fat. What is also great is you can buy them for as low as a dollar a dozen in some grocery stores. Eggs are a muscle-building food that you really cannot beat (pardon the pun). When you’re in dire need of calories for growth purposes, eating a whole egg is a sensible option. The yolk contains mono and polyunsaturated fats, which make up half the protein, as well as many other vital amino acids that you wouldn’t get in egg white.


Oats are an excellent source of quality carbohydrates. In just one cup there are almost 50 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fiber too. Not just that, but they’re also very low cost and convenient too. They’re also a great food to take on the go, which is harder with other foods like potatoes and rice.

Olive oil

We know it’s more expensive than other types of oil, but it’s worth it for the nutritional benefit as olive oil contains mono- and polyunsaturated fats. It’s great for cooking your eggs, potatoes, and meats and if you’re a particularly skinny guy, why not add some to your protein shakes? That’ll give your calorie intake a boost.

Also Read: The 10 habits of a bodybuilder

Olive oil also has many other benefits, including:

  • It contains biologically active antioxidants that help reduce the risk of chronic diseases
  • It may be able to reduce inflammation because of the antioxidant, oleocanthal
  • Studies have found that olive oil may help prevent strokes and protects against heart disease

Ground beef

So, it’s not exactly a nice, juicy steak. However, ground beef does the job when it comes to packing on muscle without damaging your wallet. It contains roughly 6 to 7 grams of protein per raw ounce and the fat content will depend on the leanness. In terms of price, it can be as low as two dollars per pound.

If you’re in any way concerned about the fat content, there is a way to make it leaner. Once you’ve browned off the meat, take it out of the pan and throw it into a colander in the sink to eliminate some of the greases. After this, turn on the tap and let the water run over the beef for a few minutes whilst you toss and turn the beef around. Lastly, dry the beef off on some paper towels, which may also soak up any grease left behind after straining. This will leave you with a much leaner beef than what you started with.


When it comes to making decisions and plans for muscle building, dairy products never seem to come off too well. However, whole milk has been a weight-gaining food for bodybuilders for many years now. Per cup, you can expect around 8 to 9 grams of protein and fat. It’s also quite kind on your pockets too with prices typically around $3 a gallon.

Again, if you’re a skinny dude that is wanting to bulk up, this is especially good food.


When you’re wanting to build muscle and not spend tons of money, it’s probably better to ignore all those low-carb fad diets. Instead, try and consume a significant amount of carbs at breakfast time and around the time of your workouts. Potatoes are one of the best and cheapest foods out there, with a medium sized potato offering up 25-30 grams of carbs.


The costs of food may be rising, but you can still grab a can of tuna for well under a dollar. This would be a wise decision too as it provides 25 grams of very lean protein. Tuna does come in water and brine, or you can get it in oil too. There is an added bonus for you, twice the calories for the same cost.


It’s likely that oats and potatoes are more than enough to cover your carbohydrate needs. However, bananas are a cheap and tasty variation. You can expect around 40 grams of carbs from a single banana and the price point is well under a dollar per pound.

Also Read: What is the best bulking diet? For the skinny and big guys

A quick and easy trick is to combine a banana with your whey protein shake after a workout to get a boost of carbs and protein.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter may seem like an odd choice for this list. That being said, it’s tasty, easy, and cheap to up your calorie intake. You can expect up to approximately six grams of protein and 16 grams of monounsaturated fats per 2 tablespoons.

You can eat it by itself, blend some into a protein shake or use it as a topping for your oatmeal.

Whey protein

Last, but by no means least on our list is whey protein. For you to achieve your goal, whey protein is one of the best investments you can make. Although, it’s also important that you don’t spend all of your budgets on supplements.

Most whey powders contain around 25 grams of protein per serving. When it comes to cost, you can find them as low as $5 per pound (15 servings), which is the cheapest cost per gram of protein around.

Our summary

When you want to bulk up and also try to budget, you should focus more on food and less on supplements. Without the correct diet and food intake, no amount of supplementation is going to help you build muscle.

If you put your mind to it and use the cheap and effective muscle-building foods above, you’ll be well on your way to packing on tons of good quality gains.

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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.






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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.