Many people use the excuse that they cannot afford to eat healthy. After all, isn’t it cheaper to eat at McDonald’s or buy a whole bunch of ramen noodles and cheap meat? WRONG! While it might seem that junk food is cheaper, in the long run you pay more not only in doctor bills but you buy more food because you are not preparing all your meals for the week. I have learned many ways to eat on the cheap and still eat healthy. When you are prepping for a competition, money is spent on many items such as your trainer, supplements, the gym, suit etc….so food has to be affordable for me. Below are tips that I use every week to eat healthy and keep it affordable at the same time.
- Peruse the discount stores weekly. Food-Lion, Kroger and Big Lots often have food items on close-out. This means that they need to get rid of them for new stock. These items are perfectly fine. You have to think…grocery stores have a ton of items come in on a weekly basis so they are always making room. Make it a point to check once a week. When you find something really cheap, stock up! For example, today I found Pictsweet frozen vegetables at 50% off. I stocked up, knowing that these last a long time and I always need green vegetables. This way, when next week comes, if I am short on money, I always have green vegetables to eat. I also found natural sweetener at Big Lots for $1.00 a box! I grabbed 5 boxes because this is a staple in my pantry.
- Shop during the week instead of the weekends, and shop early in the morning. You might think I am crazy, but sometimes I shop at 5:00 in the morning after my workout. Grocery stores stock their supplies overnight and any sale/clearance items are plentiful at 5:00 in the morning! I have found meat, eggs, almond milk, vegetables, yogurt, and many other things at cheap prices…and I had my reign of the shelf because no one else had gotten to them yet! Try it…you will begin to like it and you can avoid the annoying grocery crowds that you run into on the weekends. By that time, the deal items are all gone!
- Create your recipes AFTER you shop NOT before. I used to have a recipe I wanted to try, and then I would go and purchase the items. This became expensive. What I do now is purchase the items that are on sale and then I create my recipes after that. It has actually helped me to become more creative with putting different foods together.
- Take advantage of your clubs! Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s are great for purchasing items in bulk. It is worth the trip to these stores to buy items you use all the time such as eggs, fruit, vegetables, and meat. You can get a big package of broccoli for $5.00 and it will last the entire week. Also, I’ve found that buying bananas here is a good deal if you eat them everyday. Some other items worth purchasing at the clubs are the huge containers of nuts, granola bars, and milk.
- Take cash! Set aside how much money you want to use each week and stick to that. This will keep you from buying items you don’t need. I tend to overspend in the grocery store and this is something that I have really had to work on.
- Don’t get stuck shopping at one store! Wal-mart is not the only inexpensive place to shop. Find out where the deals are in your Sunday paper or online. Plan your trips for the week.
Now, you know what to do to eat healthy and still have money to spare! NO EXCUSES. Eat clean, train hard, live lean!