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: 4,927,516
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,206,482
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 28,026,930

Featured Videos

Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Views: 1,894
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes
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

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,081,054
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,928
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,945
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,869
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,411

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Why You Need Dietary Fiberand Where to Get It

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

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

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

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

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

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

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

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

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

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

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

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

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

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

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

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

The Case for Red Meat

The Case for Red Meat

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

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

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

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

YardBarker