Gain Mass

Nutrition Fix: Eat on the Cheap

See how a few simple diet changes can cut your daily food expenses by more than half.

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Hey, Muscle & Fitness: I’m no Donald Trump. How can I slash my grocery bill but still eat all the protein and calories I need to build muscle? – Mike D., Buffalo, NY 

Trust us, we also feel like our grocery budgets are under assault in this era of rising food prices. But you don't need to take out a second mortgage to get your fill of healthy foods from the supermarket to support muscle growth.

Beyond clipping coupons, embracing these cost-saving strategies means you won’t have to smash the piggy bank to still eat like a champion.

>>GET CRACKING: Consider dropping an extra carton of the white orbs into your cart. Not just for breakfast, eating more eggs is an economical way to get your fill of exceptionally high-quality protein.

>>CHOOSE NEGLECTED CUTS: When you do buy meats, branch out from chicken breast and salmon by turning more often to cheaper items that get overlooked, such as chicken thighs, mussels, turkey drumsticks, pork tenderloin, and skirt steak. These are almost always cheaper by the pound than more popular meats but still deliver all the protein you can stomach.

>>RAID THE BULK BINS: Without the added cost of packaging and advertising, the bulk bins are a way to save big on whole grains like oats, rice, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

>>POWDER POWER: Milk for your protein shakes can be one of the more expensive items in the grocery cart. So consider purchasing inexpensive milk powder instead of premade jugs of milk. The powder just needs to be blitzed with water.

>>BRAND POWER: Store brands of everything from pasta sauce to frozen vegetables to canned fish are often cheaper than well-marketed national brands. Are they inferior? Often not!

OLD “EXPENSIVE” DIET

CALORIES: 2,624

PROTEIN: 185G

CARBS: 219G

FAT: 118G

BREAKFAST

2 hard-boiled eggs

OATMEAL

-1 cup packaged oats

-1⁄4 cup packaged walnuts

-1⁄2 cup fresh blueberries

SNACK

1⁄2 cup baby carrots

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

LUNCH

6 oz salmon fillet

2 cups fresh broccoli

1 cup quinoa

PRE-WORKOUT SNACK

1 cup apple slices with 2 tbsp almond butter

POST-WORKOUT SNACK

PROTEIN SHAKE

-1 cup milk (from a carton)

-2 scoops whey protein powder

-1 cup fresh strawberries

DINNER

6 oz steak

1 cup steamed fresh asparagus WITH 2 TSP OLIVE OIL

1 SWEET POTATO

COST PER DAY: $35.67

NEW “BUDGET” DIET

CALORIES: 2,668

PROTEIN: 202G

CARBS: 268G

FAT: 97G

BREAKFAST

2 hard-boiled eggs

OATMEAL

-1 cup bulk oats

-1⁄4 cup bulk walnuts

-1⁄2 cup frozen blueberries

SNACK

1 carrot, chopped

1 cup plain traditional yogurt

LUNCH

1 lb steamed mussels

2 cups steamed frozen broccoli

1 cup bulk brown rice

PRE-WORKOUT SNACK

1 cup apple slices with 2 tbsp peanut butter

POST-WORKOUT SNACK

PROTEIN SHAKE

-1 cup milk (made with milk powder)

-2 scoops whey protein powder

-1 cup frozen mixed berries

DINNER

1 cup cooked beans

1 cup steamed frozen asparagus with 2 tsp olive oil

SCRAMBLED EGGS

4 large eggs

1 cup steamed frozen spinach

1 cup sliced mushrooms

COST PER DAY: $14.65

*Estimated based on shopping at stopandshop.com

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