How to Eat Healthy on a Budget | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Three Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

February 27, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

Three Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Athletes who eat healthy feel better and are able to perform at their peak levels. However, eating healthy doesn't mean you have to spend big bucks on organic foods or pricey supplements. It is possible to maintain a balanced diet on a budget by implementing a few simple strategies.

Below are three tips for eating healthy on a budget, so you can save money without sacrificing performance.

Make Your Own Snacks

Prepackaged items such as 100-calorie snack packs, chopped vegetables and energy bars are more expensive than making your own. Buy more food at the grocery and make your own snack packs. Purchase a large container of plain yogurt, create single-serving portions in reusable containers and add your own fruit and nuts rather than buying smaller cartons of yogurt with fruit already mixed in.

The best way to save money is to control what goes into your meals. This doesn't mean taking cooking classes or making gourmet meals. Just browse a few online cooking sites, such as Cooking Light, for easy meals or snacks with a few ingredients. Instead of buying energy and protein bars, learn to make your own homemade ones. Plan your snacks each week so you have enough prepared for busy days.

Shift Portion Sizes

Use meat as an accent instead of a main dish. A serving of meat or chicken is four to six ounces; a serving of lean fish is five to seven ounces. Another quarter of your plate should include healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain pasta or rice, a small sweet potato, corn or a roll. Fill the other half of your plate with vegetables. Try to eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables throughout the week to make sure you are getting adequate vitamins and minerals. When you eat out, choose an appetizer-sized portion or share an entrée with a friend to save money.

Pantry Proteins

High protein items, such as kidney beans and chickpeas, are a healthier, cheaper meal replacement, and they make a great addition to stir-fries, soups and salads. Pantry proteins are easy to store and quick to prepare. Raw chickpeas are a great addition to salads. You can also roast chickpeas for a new side dish or blend them into humus or a vegetable dip. Beans are a healthy, inexpensive alternative that can easily replace ground beef in tacos, burgers and casseroles. Peanut butter is another cheap, high protein item that includes healthy fats. Add a tablespoon to a breakfast smoothie, spread it on an apple for an afternoon snack or spread it on wheat bread for a healthy sandwich at lunch. You can work more protein into any dish if you're willing to get creative. Check out STACK's power salad for inspiration.

More delicious recipes, suggestions, and guidance can be found at the STACK Athlete Meal Plan page.

What's your favorite way to eat healthy on a budget? Tell STACK by writing on their Facebook wall or tweeting them at @STACKMedia.

Photo:  choosehealthla.com

Kait Fortunato earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics and completed her internship through the University of Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations for athletes of all ages and activity levels, and she is an active member of the Sports Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Visit dietitianindc.blogspot.com for running and recipe updates.

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 3,421,468
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,307,628
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,439

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach Power and Stability Workout Views: 300,475
Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 61,121
Andre Ethier's Arm-Strengthening Superset Views: 647,833
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

How Greg Nixon Gets More 'Twerk' on the Track
Views: 950,900
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,223,481
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,298,334
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,252,897
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,360,898

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

The first summer I lived on my own, I had to learn to cook. I planned to eat my way to Dwayne Johnson proportions making the only meals I knew: plain...

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

The Case for Red Meat

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

The Boston Cannons'

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches