Finally deciding to get healthy and change your diet is a big first step. Almost instantly, a lot of us got SHOCKED by what we saw in the grocery store! Man, chicken breast is more expensive than hotdogs. Natural PB doesn’t cost the same as Walmart brand PB? Fresh fruits and veggies… HOLY MOLY!
But don’t fear, eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. If you shop smart, and really look at portion sizes, you can get amazing healthy food – that will help you get ripped – and you don’t have to blow your whole paycheck!
#1 Get Honest about Food
This is a great place to start. Let me first tell you that you need to get honest with your food budget. Some of these healthy foods seem like more, but where were you wasting money? How much were you eating out? Fast food? Junk food? We won’t be doing that as much (or at all), so that is money in the bank! Before I got in shape with P90X and Shakeology, I was spending $3-5 every stop to the Quick Trip – sometimes twice a day. That adds up fast! So take on step 1, get honest.
#2 Buy in BulkThis is one I use all the time! When you can buy family packs and big bulk options from places like Sam’s or Costco, you get a big break on price per ounce. The cost up front is higher (you are buying more) but when you break down the price, it’s less per ounce. I like frozen chicken breasts for this one as well. Stays good forever and a great deal.
If you have a vacuum bagger, you can freeze your own meats too. I have friends that do this. Buy family packs and great deals fresh, then freeze them on their own for later.
#3 Sales and Coupons
Almost as good as bulk buying, get used to checking out the paper and searching online for coupons and sales. For proteins, you will normally only find sales. This can normally get me fresh chicken breasts for under $2/lb. For dry staples and canned goods, you can find great coupons. For coupons, look for rice, oats, PB, canned tuna, frozen veggies, etc.
Also don’t be afraid of store brands. Most places have great return/replacement policies if you don’t like what you buy. You can saves tons from ditching the name brands for store brands.
#4 Find Budget Stores
. These stores used to be known for some real suspect food LOL but over the years they have got better and better! Now with ALDI, they don’t always have the same items there, it varies. But they have made it a company wide mission to carry healthy foods. They have very good and cheaper organic veggies and fruits. Quick tip – you need a quarter to get a cart at ALDI and you pay for your bags if you don’t bring reusable ones. A great option we have now is ALDI
#5 Supplements Add Up
As you think about how much protein you need, remember your protein! Every protein shake takes down your protein need from whole food. We won’t eat all our protein from whey supps, but 40g from whey in a day is less chicken/pork/beef/tuna/etc you need to eat. So track it all, and make those adjustments. Also if you have a post workout drink with high carbs, that is part of yoru budget too. So track it.
QUICK PROTEIN LIST
Most people have trouble with getting enough protein, so here is a quick list to use….
1.) Tuna – canned tuna in water is probably close to the cheapest and purest protein. No carbs, no fat, just protein. Throw a little mustard in it and you won’t have to add any fats like mayo. Get it in water!
2.) Eggs – use only the whites and you eliminate all the fat and cholesterol! Super cheap and easy to use in the morning. You can also look for the egg whites in cartons. That makes it really easy.
3.) Bulk Chicken Breasts – look to the freezer section (especially if you have a club/bulk store). You can find great deal on frozen boneless, skinless chicken. Almost entirely protein and you can do so much with it. You can also find family/bulk packs of fresh chicken too. Just remember you want breast meat and skinless.
4.) Ham – ham can be extremely low fat if you look for it. Even a plain ham roast (not glazed, honey, etc) can be very cost effective when you figure how many servings it will get you.
5.) White Fish – If you are fish person, check the freezer section for plain white fish. 0g fat again and no carbs. All protein. Can be very reasonable.
6.) Whey – yes it’s a supplement and not a whole food, but you can get a good deal on whey almost all the time. If you aren’t picky, and can stock up, you can really do well. This can work out to less than $1 for over 20g of protein. If it is whey isolate or hydro whey it can be very pure too without many carbs or fat.
7.) Some Dairy – now I say some because milk products often have a lot of sugar. Watch out for that. But a fat-free cottage cheese can be a great high protein snack that is very affordable. String cheese is also a good option. With all of these, just make sure to track them in your daily budgets.
**Use the carbs in your budget to your advantage, make them work for you! Pick carbs that also pack a good protein punch. 5g here and 7g there adds up. I wrote a whole article on this called Added Extra Protein. Check it out!
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