Eating on a budget is hard at the best of times, but it can be especially tricky as an athlete. When you are training for a big event, such as a triathlon, you need the right kind of fuel to power you through. In many instances, this means eating quality food that tends to cost a bit more than junk food and you need to eat a lot of it – consumption of high amounts of calories naturally adds more pressure on your wallet. Luckily, there are some clever tips to help you save money without harming your athletic performance. Here are 10 tips you need to keep in mind to maintain a diet on a budget.
Whether you are a professional athlete or a coach potato, creating a meal plan and budget will be cheaper than buying as you go. If you know how much you can spend, you are more able to look around and stick to the amount. On the other hand, having a meal plan will ensure you know exactly what you are eating and when – it makes shopping easier and more affordable, but it also helps you stick to your strict diet. Creating a plan also allows you to waste less, since you can plan multiple meals using produce instead of having the extras go bad.
Do you know a friend who’s also looking to eat healthily and save money? Shop for groceries with them and utilise bulk buying. When you choose more of the same item, you can often cut the costs and if you are sharing the products with friends, you’re not wasting food. You should even consider using wholesale food retailers.
Don’t just walk to a store or order things online without thinking too much about it. You can save money by keeping two things in mind: first, you need to compare prices, and second, you must look for voucher codes. If you don’t compare prices, you might miss a good deal or add hundreds to your shopping bill. Online shopping is a great way to find deals with sport nutrition companies – you can find discounts that help you enjoy healthier items for less.
You don’t need to opt for the big brands in order to get quality products. With things like pasta, cereals and even some protein powders, the store’s own cheaper brands are just as good. Don’t automatically opt for the well-known brands, but study the nutrition labels of cheaper brands and make your choice based on those.
Lean turkey and ground beef are essential parts of a healthy diet, especially for athletes. Yet, eating large quantities of it can be expensive. You can cut the costs by mixing these more expensive items with cheaper proteins and fiber. For example, ground beef mixed with canned beans is healthy, tasty and affordable.
You don’t need to eat meat in order to perform well. There are plenty of great protein sources, such as dairy and lentils, which are cheaper and just as nutritious for you. Cut your food bill by having one meatless day a week; cook beans, use tofu or eat lentils. If you love your new meatless options, you can always add another day to your meatless schedule.
When it comes to buying vegetables and fruit, picking the seasonal produce will be cheaper than just going with what you love. Seasonal products are cheaper because they don’t require as much extra effort from the part of the farmer. If you don’t know what’s in the season, find information from the BBC Good Food website.
It’s a common myth to think frozen vegetables or fruit are not as good for you. The nutritional quality of these goods doesn’t diminish in the freezer and you can enjoy healthy food even when you pick things frozen. Why should you do that? The frozen versions are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts.
It goes without saying that you can cut the cost of your diet simply by cooking most of your meals from scratch. You can do meal prep days and freeze meals to avoid having to cook every day. Furthermore, go with simple dishes. Grill some chicken and eat it with steamed vegetables and your homemade garlic butter.
Hydration is among the most important things you need to do as an athlete. If you don’t drink enough, you can ruin your training in an instant. While there are plenty of nutritional sports drinks, your main drink should just be water. For serious competition and training, you can evaluate sports drinks, but throughout the day, water is sufficient. There you have 10 easy tips to cut down your grocery costs without jeopardizing your balanced diet. The key is to plan your eating and drinking, be smart when you are shopping for things and avoid opting for name brands just for the sake of it.
Nick, an Analyst with HotUKSavings, is a Business Analyst and Researcher. Besides work, he devotes his time to reading and sharing knowledge.