9 Tips for High Performance Food on a Budget
Athletes and active individuals don't always have a lot of time or money to spend on their diet. Yet, we know that food and beverage choices have an effect on health, performance and recovery. Whether it's a university or college student living on their own while at school or a triathlete training away from home, healthy eating CAN occur on a budget. This may mean dealing with a tight schedule and limited cooking skills, but a little preparation can go a long way and allow you to do the same.
Nine things to keep in mind:
1. Plan your meals to prevent food waste, get what you need, and avoid rare ingredients that are only in one recipe.
2. Make a grocery list to ensure you get a variety of foods and purchase items that are on sale based on coupons and flyers.
3. Include budget friendly proteins such as beans, lentils, eggs, and canned salmon.
4. Purchase store brands rather than name brands; you often can't taste the difference, but your wallet will let you know.
5. Cook in big batches to take advantage of bulk pricing and have leftovers ready for busy training days when you want to avoid eating out and spending more.
6. Pair up with a teammate to take turns cooking so that you enjoy variety and a break from cooking for one.
7. Avoid convenience and prepared foods since more processing often means more expensive (for example – purchase whole oats rather than instant oats or various raw veggies instead of a veggie tray).
8. Purchase in-season fruit and vegetables, but also take advantage of sales on frozen items.
9. Avoid sport foods that can be a convenience, but also an expense. Try different whole foods that will accomplish that same goals (such as carbohydrate or protein intake).
Registration fees, equipment, travel and accommodation can add up quickly, but don't let your nutrition intake suffer. That meal deal may look cheap, but your dozen eggs, loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter, and bag of apples will feed you for more meals and snacks. Focus on nutrient dense foods (those that provide necessary vitamins and minerals such as a glass of milk) rather than empty calories (those that provide calories, may be high in fat/sugar/salt or contain low/no nutrients such as a bottle of pop).
Stephanie Langdon, RD
Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching
SNAC, Sport Nutrition on a Dime