Clean and Cheap Bulking Meals

As we continue the winter bulk up here at NexxtLevelUp, some of you may be wondering what a good bulk meal looks like. You’ve got the routines from us, but now what about the other half of the equation?

This question is particularly vexing for people who are coming off a lean down as it can be tough to shake the eating habits and think outside of that box that got your abs showing and your old clothes falling off your ass. That voice in the back of your mind warning you about carb intake and calorie levels can be hard to stifle after months of cultivating it, and you need meal ideas because it’s hard to conceive of one now.

On the flip side, many equate bulking up with stuffing your face with whatever- a carte blanche to for a la carte. Health nuts cringe at the thought of bulking like this, as do people who have trouble losing fat. This is erroneous. Yeah you will probably gain a lot of excess weight and feel like shit if you’re jamming pizza, pop, and candy down your throat. But a bulking diet doesn’t have to be like that.

Eating clean, or mostly clean, while getting an excess amount of protein and carbs is possible. You don’t have to suffer from insulin crashes or a waistline that expands daily if you make sure you’re eating the right things. It can also be fairly inexpensive, if you do it right.

For some ideas, I offer up some examples of what I’ve been guzzling during the past few weeks. I’m not trying to step on the Chef’s toes here- this is all low time, low cost, and low flavor. I’m sure he’ll laugh and shake his head.


  • 1 packet of low-sugar outmeal- 24 g carbs
  • 2 jumbo eggs, microwaved- 16 g protein
  • 10 oz glass of 2% milk- 10 g protein

Lift, BCAAs

  • Casein immediately after workout- 24 g protein

Lunch, ~45 min after workout after driving home, preparation

  • 30 oz glass 2% milk- 30 g protein
  • 3 cups of Uncle Bens brown rice (no additives)- 108 g carbs
  • 1 lb chicken breast (chopped, spicy taco seasoning)- 88 g protein
  • 20 oz glass of kale/collard/carrot/apple/etc combination juice- some extra carbs

First Dinner, ~3-4 hours after lunch

  • 1/2 lb of same chicken (I make 2 lbs)- 44 g protein
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice- 54 g carbs
  • 16 oz 2% milk- 16 g protein
Second Dinner, ~3-4 hours after first
  • 1/2 lb of chicken- 44 g protein
  • 1 cup brown rice- 36 g carbs
  • 16 oz 2% milk- 16g protein
  • Banana- negligible
Final snack-
  • 1/2 cup AE Old-Fashioned Cottage Cheese (the best, ever)- 12 g protein
So as you can see, I’m both unimaginative and easy to please (hey, food is fuel first and foremost) and also getting well above my body weight per grams in protein and carbs (around 230 g carbs and 300g protein in this example). Some days I’ve thrown in a sandwich with meat piled high, which isn’t exactly clean coming from an anti-wheat perspective, but it’s whatever one sandwich won’t kill me every now and then. Other days I’ll throw in potatoes, another clean carb source like brown rice. I tend to vary between pork, chicken, and beef, but the protein amounts stay the same as does the cost since I live in the pork capital of the world and buy shitty cuts of steak. I’ll be adding in a mass gainer courtesy of VK next week so this is only going to get better.

I end up going through around a half-gallon of milk a day (GOMAD is just a little too expensive)- 2 bucks. 2 pounds of chicken- 5 bucks. Box of brown rice- 2 bucks. 2 eggs- 30 cents. 1 packet of oatmeal- 20 cents. Assorted veggies, fruits, cottage cheese, and protein scoop- 3 bucks. 12 bucks total to absolutely, gloriously stuff myself with various kinds of protein and carbs,all of which are usually clean. What’s a Subway sandwich? 8 bucks? For like 60 g of carbs and 30 g of protein? Get outta here.

I don’t feel like dirt afterwards, and I’m sure if you took my blood work today I’d be fine and dandy. It will probably be a little more expensive for those of you on islands or on the coasts, but the fact remains that it is both easy and cheap to eat clean *and* bulk up.

Some may call it overkill, but that’s the point of bulking up. Eat big to get big, especially for an ectomorph like me. Shit, now that I look at it this way I need to get even more carbs. Body weight x 1.5 is the goal, and I’m falling a bit short.

While I’ll hold off on the specifics until later, my weight gain has been slow and steady- no buckle busting here. My progress in the weight room- unbelievable for such a short time.

So if you’re not joining in on the winter bulk up, what are you waiting for?

Swole Life

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About The Author

They call me Fly, Fresh, and Young. Gym rat by day, lecherous drunkass by night. Follow me on Twitter @nate_moneyh.


  1. Reality Slinger December 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm


    You are taxing the liver with that diet. If you must eat meat, don’t combine with starches. Almond milk beats cow’s milk which is mucous forming, and bad for your arteries. Rice is acid forming, stick to sweet potatoes if you must have starch.

  2. Caesar December 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Can you comment on your “lean out” diet please? Maybe give an example of a day or two sample menus?

  3. Virgle Kent December 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Reality Slinger,

    I’lm LOLing at “If you must eat meat”… “If you must eat starch” ha ha ha Almond milk is also more expensive than cow milk. It’s just a bulk up phase, nothing Nate just posted will kill anyone or “taxt” their liver to the point of failure if done for a few months.


    I’m sure the lean out diet will come for the spring after swole life… we’ll go swole-lean

  4. Bronan The Barbarian! December 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    “If you must eat meat”

    Read that with a lisp.

  5. Nonpareil December 10, 2012 at 3:20 am

    ‘If you must eat meat!’

    No, I bulk up on tofu, kale and brown rice.

    What I’m pretty sure that Nate neglected to mention is that he’s probably guzzling 12-16 glasses of water a day when he lifts, which is definitely good for the liver. Great post.

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