Valuable Cost-Efficient Sports Nutrition Tips

February 7, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

Must See Nutrition Videos

Building muscle and gaining or losing weight for your sport is not cheap. You can train in your school gym, so that's a freebie (unless you also have a gym membership or buy home exercise equipment). However, the most important component, nutrition, usually has a hefty price tag.  (See How to Build Muscle Quickly.)

A balanced diet should always be one of your lifestyle goals. And cost should not be an excuse. (Read How to Customize A Diet Plan to Meet Your Specific Needs.) Get the biggest bang for your buck on healthy foods and beverages with the following.

Money-Saving Consumer Guidelines

Buy store-brand foods

Store-brand products are generally less expensive than name brands, plus you may get future discounts and savings "points" by purchasing in store-brand items. Look for things like:

  • Canned fish
  • Canned beans
  • Canned and bottled nuts and seeds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Whole-grain cereals, pasta, bread, popcorn and crackers
  • Dried, frozen and canned fruit (no sugar added)
  • Decaffeinated black and green tea
  • Olive oil

Use Coupons and Check for Sales

Check the circulars in newspapers or your mailbox for discounts on healthy foods and beverages, weekly or monthly coupons and sales. (Check out Not Just for Busy Moms: A Guide To Buying In Bulk.)

Compare Prices

Don't buy on impulse. Carefully check similar items on the store shelf. For example, store-brand oatmeal may cost a dollar less than a commercial brand.

Buy Foods With a Longer Shelf Life

Fresh food is rarely the least costly shopping route. Choosing shelf-staple products will mean fewer grocery store visits (and lower gas mileage). For example, dried, frozen, and canned fruits (without added sugar) last a lot longer than their fresh alternatives, and they still contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Canned tuna and salmon have just as much muscle-building protein and heart-healthy, brain-beneficial omega-3 fats as fresh fish, at a much lower cost.

Buy Medium-Sized Eggs Instead of Large Ones

A dozen store-brand, medium-size protein-rich eggs generally cost 50 cents to a dollar less than a dozen large-size ones. Note that eggs also have antioxidants for aiding recovery from exercise and sports and also benefit eye health.

Buy In-Season

Buying fresh fruits in-season generally saves you money. Apples, pears and oranges are common fall and winter months fruits, and cherries, peaches, berries and plums cost less during the summer than they do out of season (during the winter).

Visit Local Farm Stands for Lower Prices and Fresher Products

Fresh-picked veggies, fruits and eggs available from nearby farm stands not only taste better but are generally less expensive than the store versions.

Invest in Water Filtration Instead of Buying Bottled Water 

Studies show that drinking filtered tap water is just as safe as bottled water and less costly. Invest in a box of water-purification filters and fill the accompanying pitcher with tap water. Change the filter every two months instead of buying a weekly or monthly supply of bottled water.

Make Inexpensive Meat and Poultry Choices

Sandwich steak, pepper steak and hamburger (chopped meat) are high in protein and usually less costly than T-Bone or sirloin steak. Thin pork or veal cutlets are usually more affordable than pork or veal chops. And a package of chicken wings or legs usually costs less than chicken breasts.

Choose Longer-Lasting Inexpensive Veggies

  • Potatoes, yams, and onions generally last about two weeks when stored in a cool, dark, dry location.
  • Carrots and celery also usually last two weeks in the fridge.
  • Jarred red peppers generally cost less than fresh red peppers and last much longer.
  • Canned or jarred olives are also inexpensive and have heart-healthy fats.
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 5,822,182
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 6,554,533
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,229,917

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,017,580
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,821
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
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

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,414
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

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

You diet hard all week, eating nothing but clean foods, train your butt off in the gym, and feel like you're making real progress. Then Saturday comes -...

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

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

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

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

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

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

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

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

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

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

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

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

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

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

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

YardBarker