Gaining Mass on a College Budget
Alright, so I looked over previous threads, did some reading (finding I know less about weight-lifting/exercise/etc than I thought), and I still have a question-
I'm a college student with about $0 at any given time to spend on...anything. I have a meal plan at the school I attend, but I don't think I can really rely solely on eating 2-3 times a day? Even factoring the possibility of getting some protein powder or "mass gainer" (a choice I'm not 100% sure about either), I'm unsure about how to go about planning a college diet.
I have about 2 weeks left before classes begin to sort this stuff out!
So in short:
1.) How many times a day should I be eating? Is the 2-3hr rule vital?
2.) Will calories make up for the time loss if I can't do the 2-3hr thing (hypothetical)?
3.) Which (if any) of the protein things should I use, being a beginner?
Thanks a lot guys for your help! I really appreciate it! God bless-
I have an unlimited plan so I can go as many times as I want to the dining hall and I have a whey protein powder that I can use whenever I need to get in the extra protein.
As far as I know you'll do fine eating 3 big meals a day and supplementing in between with protein shakes. just make sure each time you hit the dining hall you really eat alot, get protein, carbs, and fats in and try to take in as many calories as possible.
If you are trying to add muscle then IMO it is a really good idea to be getting protein in every 3 hours or so. If you are looking at losing weight then its not as vital to get the protein in, but you still want to be eating every 3 hours or so to keep your metabolism as fast as posible to burn the max number of calories.
Its hard as a student with only being able to go to the canteen at certain times, but preperation is the key, take things with you that you can snack on and dont go off so that you can get 'healthy snacks' in as often as needed.
As for weaight gainers, i wouldnt bother, but if you can afford a good whey protein (a blend if possible) then it could be beneficial. that being said you dont 'need' it. you can easily get your protein with whole foods too.
Here is a copy of a great post (from another site, but originally posted by Abaddon from this site) that has loads of ideas for foods which can be taken with you and help you hit your dietry needs.
RING PULL TINS
Sardines - I'll pack a can of sardines, some wheat crackers, salsa and small slices of cheddar cheese and stack them all together.
Heinz shaved Chicken - much cheaper, gram for gram, than tins of flavoured tuna. Plus, the 'sea salt and mineral water' flavour is 19.6% protein, 1.3% fat and <1% carbs - so a 160gram (5.6ounce) ringpull tin is an excellent idea for the lunchbox!
Stagg Chili - STAGG® Chili Varieties
Cocktail wieners/frankfurters - at around $5 p/kilo, cocktail wieners/frankfurters are easy to transport, easy to eat, don't spoil easily, and above all are a CHEAP source of protein. The only letdown is the fat content (approx 22%). Protein level is approx 12%.
Beef Jerky - Good protein and you can litterally put it in your pocket
HARD BOILED EGGS
an essential for every lifters lunchbox!
Kraft 'free' cheese singles - I believe the American equivalent is this: http://caloriecount.about.com/calori...american-i1190
Pita chips and salsa
Quaker bars - http://www.quakeroats.com/products/o...-cinnamon.aspx - they are really good and this comes from someone who does not like oatmeal..eat one of these w/ a protein shake and you are good to go-
Whole Grain Crackers - Good carbs and no need to keep cool. I like the Kashi whole grain crakers herb and garlic
FRUIT AND VEG
- all pretty straight forward. Fruit and veg might be boring, but ignore them at your peril people!
Edemame - Eat it; fiber & proten rich veggie there
Fruit cups - I'm not sure of the nutritional contents due to the syrup, but the fruit is essential
NUTS, SEEDS AND BEANS
50grams of pretty much any nuts (unsalted!) = a good snack, with approx 25grams good fats, and 15-20grams protein
Home made trail mix. Hand full of almonds, sunflower seeds and dark chocolate mini chocolate chips for flavor.
For a snack I like to mix 50/50 unsalted Peanuts and GoLean Honey Almond Flax Crunch in a zip lock baggy for easy carry.
Tons of protein, Omega-3, good fats, vitamins, fiber AND tastes ridiculously delicious for how healthy it can be.
Dry Roasted Soy Beans,
COLD PACK OPTIONS
Yogurt. - good source of slow digesting protein, small, and cheap. Itll keep at room temp for about 6-8 hours.
Chopped peppers and other crisp veggies and lo-cal salad dressing spray (the 5 cal kind). Keep a shaker of low sodium spice mixes in your lunch box to flavor things up when you need it.
hope this helps... and thanks again to Abaddon
Wow Carl - my thoughts exactly!
EDIT: and thanks also for cleaning it up for it's new home - I reckon I'm gonna relocate it to here!
I would disagree with Carl on one minor point, but agree on most everything else. If losing, I would keep protein up to no less than 1g per lb of lean mass. Protein is thermogenic and is one of your best allies if losing weight. Aside from that, the previous posts are great.
Make use of the cafe as much as possible, don't skip those meal. You need to be careful, however, mass produced foods, like school cafe's tend to use a lot of bad fats and simple carbs to stretch things and give some flavor. If you have the choice between the mystery meat and gravy or chicken, go chicken. I also recommend making sure you eat huge at breakfast, primarily because it is harder to mess breakfast up then other meals. When I was in school, b'fast was the best meal, food wise, of the day. It is hard to screw scrambled eggs up.
Before leaving home, see if Mom and or Dad will stock you up from Sam's, Costco or Bj's. buy tuna, natty pb (best deal is at BJ's), jerky and nuts.
As far as protein. I am an advocate for a blend. I use Gaspari's Myofusion ( I love the chocolate). Don't buy it locally, it is expensive retail around here (There is a place on Holland Road that has decent prices). M&S is having a great sale right now, check there and pick up 5 - 10 lbs of it, or something else. Syntrax Matrix is pretty good as is Dymatize fusion 7. Keep some bananas and oats in your room, beg for a bullet blender or knock off and you can quickly and easily make your own mass gainer. Banana, some oats, some protein little water and ice, blend a few moments and viola.
College dining just provides you an opportunity to be creative. Just like anywhere else, stay away from the processed junk and focus on good whole foods at least 3 times daily. Supplement as needed.
One piece of advice I might offer is that if you have a shaker, fill it up with milk before you leave the cafeteria. You can toss this in your dorm fridge and drink it in between class.
If the school doesn't allow this, a very inexpensive alternative is to buy a box of powdered milk. A box makes something like 22 quarts of milk, or nearly 5.5 gallons of milk.
Cost wise I think it stacks up well versus protein powder.
Just quickly since I am in my phone. When I was in college only out dinner was all you can eat breakfast and lunch wasn't which sucked! So I had a much harder time. I didn't have mom or dad to take me to costco or sams club to stock me up. What I did was during dinner time make extra peanut butter sandwhiches and take extra chicken breasts and hard boiled eggs so that I could use them the next day between meals. Also drank milk almost with every meal and like btb said at dinner time filled up my shaker with milk to use for the next day. Just wanted to share my experience really quick. There is always a way. Just gotta make sure you are ready to do it. I hear people say well I have class and I can't eat in class well I'm pretty sure in college you have ample time to get to class and you can always eat while you walk. No excuses.
Wow, guys! This is all REALLY helpful! Yeah, my folks are about strapped for cash, so I really like the idea of packing my lunch bag (gotta get me one of those) WHILE I'm at lunch! Clever idea...Also, the huge list of good snack foods is priceless. Thanks so much guys! I really appreciate it!
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