Probably the most common question I'm asked by bodybuilders is "How much do you eat in a day?" Not what—although of course I get that, too—but how much. To me, this shows just how much people are worried about whether they're eating enough.
I'm a full-time student at Texas A&M University, and I live in College Station, which is a large college town, so most of the time the person asking the question is a fellow student. When I reply, "6-7 meals per day and between 4, 500-5, 200 calories, " the person is astounded. (I'm talking about guys only for now; women deserve another conversation). Then they'll give me excuses like "I don't have enough time" or "it's too expensive to eat like that."
My reply: false, and false. As an economics major and a bodybuilder, I can tell you that I've both run the numbers and put them to the test in the real world. No matter who you are or where you live, you can do this!
This is my plan to help you to eat as much as you can handle, with minimal prep time and less money than you're probably wasting already. Equipment, recipes, and shopping—I've got it all right here. So let's get started.
The Four Kitchen Essentials
Before you get rolling in the kitchen, you're going to need to outfit yourself with a few essential appliances: a microwave, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and a George Foreman style grill. You probably already have access to the first of those things, but trust me, the other three are just as important.
They allow you to prepare—in large quantities, I might add—all that is necessary to eat like a bodybuilder in a college setting. An oven is nice to have, as are a stove and a blender, but they aren't necessary, and most college dorm rooms don't have them.
Below are the basic dishes I prepare in each of the essential kitchen appliances. I encourage you to go online and do some research to find recipes to fit your taste.
The possibilities are endless, and trust me, there's no substitute for a good collection of recipes.
I use my microwave to reheat all of my prepped meals. I use it to cook red potatoes and sweet potatoes, both of which I eat almost every day. To cook any kind of potato in the microwave, make sure you do the following:
- Rinse and lightly scrub the potato with your hands in cold water. Potatoes are grown in the ground, so they usually have a little dirt on them, and because they typically come in mesh bags, they'll also pick up other contaminants along the way. Obviously cooking them will kill all bacteria, but who wants to eat dirt?
- Using a fork, poke a few holes in each potato you're going to cook—unless you like cleaning exploded potato off the sides of your microwave.
- Cook potatoes two at a time, wrapping each one individually with a wet paper towel. This will help keep them moist and your microwave clean.
For small potatoes, such as red and golden potatoes, lay a damp paper towel over an approximately 10-ounce serving. The cook time will vary from microwave to microwave, but typically potatoes need 6-8 min to cook.
Check for readiness with a knife; if you can put it through the potato with relative ease, you're good to go. If your knife stops or becomes hard to push, pop the potato back in the microwave for another couple of minutes.