QUICK BUDGET MUSCLE-BUILDING TUNA-PASTA

It’s the period before student loans come in and we’re all stressed with deadlines and struggling to make pennies last. This tuna-pasta meal is a great way to pack in the nutrition, cheaply that is ready to serve in under 15 minutes. 

First thing’s first, this will not win you any gourmet chef awards, nor will it be the most extravagant and flavour-filled thing you’ve ever tasted. However, if you’re penny-pinching and still hoping to gain/maintain muscle then this pasta dish will help you along the way.

Ingredients (serves 3-4 meals):

  • 2 cans of Tuna Chunks
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 onion clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of lentils
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups of dried pasta
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin oil (optional)
  • 1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Set the pasta to boil, this usually takes around 7-12 minutes depending on the pasta you’re using.

In another pan, begin sauteing the garlic and onions for a couple of minutes in heated sunflower oil. When the onion begins to clear, add in the canned tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer.

Add in the lentils and kidney beans and leave to simmer for several minutes, stirring gently. Stir in the tuna, virgin oil, red wine vinegar and add the chili powder.

Leave to simmer for approximately five minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta while retaining some of the water. Stir the pasta in with the sauce, then add 100ml of the pasta water and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, before serving.

Nutrition breakdown 

Tuna is an extremely cheap way to get in your protein intake, usually around 25g of protein a serving and can be picked up at most supermarkets at around 75p per can. It also provides a modest source of omega-3 fatty acids, these are essential fats that your body uses maintain healthy skin, hair, cardiovascular system and brain.

Pasta is of course a great source of carbohydrates and aids in muscle recovery and slow, lasting release of energy.

Onions have many benefits; enhancing your immune system, therefore making you less likely to succumb to illness, can reduce inflammation and heal infections and assists in regulating blood sugar, to name a few.

Garlic is mainly associated with provide a distinct taste to food, however you may be surprised it has its own health benefits.Garlic can help combat the common cold, reduce blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease.

Lentils and beans are both high in protein and low in calories, totting up your protein intake – crucial in muscle repair and growth – and both are cheap ingredients. Kidney beans are high in fiber which helps regulate your digestive system and prevents constipation.

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