One of the most frequent questions I’ve been getting asked lately is how can I sustain a healthy diet for performance and recovery that won’t break the bank? This is a great topic, and honestly one that I’ve given tons of thought to as the cost of groceries and eating has sky rocketed over the past 3 years. I came up with a short list of ideas as a baseline to focus on.
1. Plan your meals in advance
Planning your meals in advance will not only help from a dietary perspective of sticking to what you said you were going to eat, but it will also ensure that you avoid impulse purchases at the grocery store, or impromptu deliveries or expensive meals out. All of these extras add up. I challenge you to go through last months credit card bill and tabulate all of your “last minute” meals or deliveries and add those up to see how much you spend on unplanned meals.
2. Buy in bulk
When it’s possible buy in bulk. Stores like Costco, Walmart, and other big retailers have a wide array of healthy produce and other items which can be bought in bulk at a cheaper rate. Especially for non-perishable items like rice, beans, and oats.
3. Longer shelf life
One of my favorite ways of saving is purchasing frozen fruits and veggies which have a very similar nutrient profile, but last far longer and are much cheaper than their fresh counterpart. If I can afford it, I’ll always buy fresh because I prefer it, but frozen fruits and veggies are a great option for budget shopping.
4. Cook at home
Cooking at home will always have the dual added benefit of not only saving on expenses, but also saving on calories. You can produce a gourmet quality healthy meal for well under $10 (for a single person) at home. That same meal would easily cost double or triple that at a restaurant.
Finally, don’t waste food! Use leftovers to make new meals such as lunch or dinner for the next day, or freeze them for later use.
The above list can make a multitude of healthy combinations for those looking to make gains on a budget.