How to Eat Like a Personal Trainer On a Budget
By Guest Blogger Jessica Thiefels
Personal trainers know that more than half the battle of staying in shape is healthy eating. That’s why they invest so much time in prepping protein-rich meals, making their post-workout shakes and sharing their ideas with clients.
While eating like a personal trainer may take a bit more time — which you have to be willing to invest — it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you pay attention at the cash register, you’ll even see that all your boxed items, like cereal, frozen pizza or bags of pasta, are much more expensive than produce, grains and beans. These items often clock in at less than $2 per item.
Luckily, you can eat like a personal trainer and save money at the same time with these tips. Implement all or a few to spend less cash on your next grocery trip.
In-season foods are always less expensive. Why? They’re likely coming from local farms, rather than from thousands of miles away, which reduces the cost you pay at the cash register. Not to mention, when farmers are having a plentiful season, grocery stores offer big savings to get rid of their overflowing seasonal produce.
If you can’t eat all the extra produce in one week, freeze some of it and use it the following week. Better yet, put frozen spinach or berries into your smoothies.
Buy Less, Get More
Personal trainers are masters at finding nutrient-dense foods. These foods will keep you full longer, meaning you won’t need to buy as many snacks, which can add up quickly as you’re checking out. Add these nutrient-dense foods to your list to get more for less:
- Brown rice
- Almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews
- Dried fruit and strawberries
- Kale, carrots and acorn squash
- Flax seeds
- Edamame and pinto beans
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of nutrient-dense foods, it’s a good place to start. Check out this Healthy Cooking list from Whole Foods to find more options to add to your grocery list.
Speaking of groceries, your favorite store may not be the best one for saving money. In fact, a recent grocery analysis from Couponbox found that the stores we think are the least expensive, like Trader Joe’s, are not as affordable as we think.
For example, this analysis revealed that, of five nationwide grocery chains, Aldi offers the most in monthly savings, a total of 34 percent. Walmart came in second with 14 percent monthly savings.
Some stores also offer more savings on certain products than others. The same analysis found that Kroger has the best prices on sliced cheese, while Trader Joe’s has the cheapest olive oil and Publix offers the most wallet-friendly chicken.
What does all of this tell us? Instead of shopping at just one store for everything, spend a little extra time going to different stores to maximize savings.
Find Inexpensive Protein Powder
Protein powder is a great way to up your protein intake and help build more muscle, making your strength workouts more effective. However, not all protein powders are created equal and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Start by looking at the protein powders that are on sale. From this group, start reading labels. If you can have dairy, look for a whey-based protein, which is one of the best proteins for building muscle. Then make sure that the powder isn’t filled with a bunch of preservatives you don’t recognize.
If you’re vegetarian, go with the MRM brand, which has a wide variety of powders that all taste delicious. My favorites are the vanilla (I think it tastes like snickerdoodle cookies!) and chocolate.
Don’t Pass the Bulk Aisle
Don’t buy packaged grains and nuts — you’ll pay significantly more than if you take them from the bulk bins. If you’re not picky about which type of grains or nuts you get, look for the ones that are on sale that week to save you even more.
Cook your grain of choice on Sunday or Monday and use that as the base of every meal for the rest of the week. This practice will save you time and money.
Eating like a personal trainer doesn’t have to cost you all your spending money for the week. Use these tips to spend less at the register and reach your fitness goals.
Guest Blogger Bio: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist and the owner of her own small fitness business, Honest Body Fitness. She’s using her experience from writing, editing and marketing to help people get healthy. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.