It can be a real challenge for student and young athletes to get proper nutrition at a tight budget and very little free time. Due to these constraints many athletes compromise on their nutrition, which may very well have some negative effects on their training and performance. Here are some hot tips to help save money and time and get some quality nutrition to fuel training needs.
1. Plan meals & snacks for the entire week
Planning meals in advance can save a ton of time and money at the grocery store. Use 1 day every week to plan out meals for the upcoming week and make a grocery list of the essentials. Having a set grocery list helps avoid impulse buys and stops strolling through aisles.
2. Prepare meals & snacks in advance
Meal prepping is a great tool which can save you time in the kitchen and allow you to have fast access to healthy meals during the week. Keep Sundays and/or Wednesdays as your ‘chef’ days. Spend ~1-3 hours in the kitchen to have a week’s worth of healthy and nutritious meals to fuel your training.
- Bircher Museli
- Noodle Salad With Ginger Peanut Dressing
- Layered Taco Salad With Coriander-Lime Dressing
3. Buy in Bulk
Buying foods in bulk helps cut down the cost of the foods and prevents multiple grocery trips. Try bulk buying foods which have a longer shelf life such as oats, brown rice, nuts and dried fruits. These staples of a healthy diet are relatively cheap and can be used to make a variety of delicious and nutritious meals.
4. Buy from the frozen section
As healthy as fresh produce is, it can be very expensive and impractical to buy a whole lot of fresh fruits and veggies, which can go bad in just a few days. A solution when fresh produce is not feasible is to buy it frozen. They can be just as healthful as fresh produce since they are picked & packed at the peak of their season. Frozen F&V store for much longer in the freezer. Use frozen berries in morning porridge and throw in frozen veggies in to astir-fry for a healthy boost of antioxidants and nutrients to fuel the body.
5. Choose from a variety of protein sources
Meat is an excellent source of protein, but its not very time or wallet friendly. Consuming less meat is a good strategy to save money and time. The proteins sources below are relatively inexpensive compared to meats and require less prep time. An added bonus is the variety of micronutrient and antioxidants to fight off the training induced oxidative tissue damage.
6. View supplements as supplements
Supplements are great to obtain the desired nutrients in its concentrated form. But they can be a lot of strain on your wallet. This last tip is primarily to help you save money. Let’s be honest here, while protein powders are convenient, they ARE also expensive and you don’t wanna be spending a huge share of your budget in to it. You can buy a dozen of eggs under 3 dollars which is equivalent to a serve of protein powder and contain a lot more protein. To save money, eat whole foods and just leave the supplements for the times you can’t eat or prepare food. Your body doesn’t care where the amino acids come from as long as you provide your body with a constant steady supply to fuel your training.