Low-Cost Shopping for Your Fitness Goals
Maximize Your Budget
Let’s face it—trying to achieve your fitness goals, in general, can be a challenge. If you’re on a budget, it can be even more difficult.
Diets that are rich in fiber, water, and protein are usually the most effective to reach most people’s fitness goals. Fiber, water, and protein can also help you feel full and prevent excessive snacking. Also, diets high in protein help your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood glucose levels (glucose homeostasis).
In general, diets that combine fiber, water, and protein tend to be much more on the expensive side. Fresh fruits and vegetables, which have high water and fiber contents, and animal protein-based foods (especially lean ones), are costly.
If our most nutrient-rich foods are so expensive, how can we hope to reach our fitness goals on a budget?
In this article, we’ll go over some tips for meeting these dietary requirements when you do your grocery shopping.
Define Your Priorities
Different people have different fitness goals. Some folks want to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Others may want to concentrate on developing their cardio. Whatever the case may be, having a fitness plan in place is a good start.
From there, you’ll want to figure out how many high-quality foods you can afford. For example, since lean meats, such as steak, is so expensive, you may have to sacrifice other costs or stick to cheaper protein sources. These can include ground meats (turkey, beef), dairy (preferably low in fat and high in protein), eggs, and protein powder, to maintain a higher level of protein intake.
If your goal is to eat 4 to 6 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, you may have to cut back on other costs or switch to canned or frozen versions of these food items. Anything that is flash-frozen should be a priority since they have more of their nutrients locked-in.
Look for Discounted Produce
My local grocery store has a discount rack that contains very low-cost fruits and vegetables. If you do some research of your local grocery stores, find out which ones have discounted produce programs. Many times, supermarkets will have leftover or unwanted produce that is available at a substantial discount.
The fact is that produce is highly perishable. Looks for some in your area that you can take off others’ hands and view it as you doing each other a favor.
We’ve all seen the food products with the flashy packaging, right? Those attractive fonts and images don’t necessarily mean that those food products are better than generic brands.
Inspect each product closely and look for what really matters—a product’s nutrient content and where it was made. Generic brands usually have the same, or equal to, nutrient contents when compared to brand name offerings. Cheaper food products don’t necessarily mean that they’re of lower quality.
Do Your Research
You’ll probably notice that most grocery deals and specials come and go. However, some constants always hold true.
For example, your common jar of peanut butter is less expensive than other types of nut butter. Grains and legumes are always inexpensive. You can usually purchase fruits such as oranges and bananas on the cheap. While others, such as berries, can be more costly.
Always be sure to check for food items that are on sale—this is a great time to purchase the normally more expensive food products. Research your area for local specialties that are low-cost.
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-CheongKwanJang, Health Tips