You fully understand the importance of eating healthy, consistent meals throughout the day. You know that you should center your diet around protein and that carbs, healthy fats, and veggies are all important, but when you get to the checkout at the grocery store, your wallet doesn’t seem to agree. I guess you’re going to have to put the bacon bits back. And the brownies. Aaaaand the cinnamon buns

Here are a few tips for saving money at the grocery store while sticking to your plan:

  • Look for sales. Check the store's sale app (they all have one now) before your trip. Sometimes there are unadvertised specials. And be math mindful: a cheaper price tag doesn't mean best buy, because you're not always comparing equivalent package sizes. Compare unit prices, or price per quantity, which is listed on the shelf tags.
  • Store brands are OK. Store brands still have to pass quality standards. Sometimes they are private labeled by popular brands anyway. You can save a bundle using store brands of cereal, peanut butter, frozen vegetables, whole grain pasta, canned beans, coffee, spices, and nuts.
  • Skip the Mix. Boxed grains are just basically rice and a seasoning packet, designed to look like a fancy side or main dish. For a fraction of the price, you can buy grains in bulk and add your own seasonings. You'll have more control over quantity, nutrition, and flavor anyway. 

You might feel like eating health food is simply outside of your budget. However, your budget is actually a blessing in disguise. See, the more simply you eat, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll ultimately look. When you start trying to get fancy with creating meals, you may end up adding a lot of extra calories and macronutrients from the wrong sources. 

If you’re trying to get in freak shape as a bodybuilder, you want to leave out all the sauces, oils, marinades, dressings, and things that unnecessarily run up your bill, anyway. Although it’s great to choose all organic meats and veggies, doing so won’t have a huge impact on your physique, but it will shrink your wallet. So, going with the basics will be the best way to get the most bang for your buck. 

Here’s what you’ll need to get and stay stay jacked and also pay your rent!

Shopping List:

  • Chicken Breast: Buy in the largest quantity you can afford—this will reduce the price per pound, so you’ll get more protein for your money. Use kitchen shears to trim any excess fat, and freeze in well-wrapped, pre-portioned bundles for next week.
  • Tilapia: Both frozen or fresh will be fine. 
  • Eggs: Sure, it’s convenient to buy cartons of egg whites, but if you can find bulk quantities of eggs, you’ll save yourself a few dollars, and a few dollars can add up quickly! If you notice Omega-3 eggs are on sale, pick up a few dozen. 
  • Broccoli and leafy greens: They have a lot of fiber, and a TON of nutrients. Health comes first!
  • Rice: Buy a huge bag of plain, long grain rice. You will have all the carbs you could ever need, and won’t run out for weeks.  
  • Canned beans (chick peas, black beans, etc.): if you don't mind soaking and boiling, you're talking pennies a serving. Otherwise, stock up on the canned ones that are on sale.
  • Frozen fruit: Hello, post-workout smoothies. A handful or two of frozen fruit, almond milk, and protein powder is a cheap, satisfying way to conclude a tough workout.
  • Seasonings: Skip the sugary and/or oily and/or overly salty sauce. The best way to season your food is to add a dash of salt and herbs. 

by Kelly Turner

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