Sticking to a “clean” diet may seem impossible for some but it isn’t as bad as it seems. Let’s consider the impacts of eating healthy: more energy, less fat, better overall mood. There all sound great, but many often ask ” How can I afford to eat large amounts of healthy food without draining my bank account?” Many people often have the misconception that clean eating means shopping at popular organic food stores. They also think resort to buying cheap highly processed foods from fast food restaurants, but that definitely won’t give you a six-pack or energy to make it through long hours. So how would it be possible to stick to a healthy plan for under $45 per week?
Basics of Nutrition
Before explaining how to eat on a budget, let’s review the basics of nutrition. Anyone interested in nutrition should know about macronutrients. These are the are nutrients that provide calories (energy) and are needed in large amounts for survival. There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Though all three provides calories, the amount of calories they provide differs:
Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram.
Fat provides 9 calories per gram.
If you read the nutrition facts on a product that says 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat per serving, you know that each serving will give you a total of 130 calories [(16X4 (protein) 12X4 (carbs)+ 9X2 (fat)]. Now when putting your meals together, you will understand where your calories are coming from.
The cheapest sources of protein are eggs, chicken, canned fish, and deli meat. So make sure to include these in your meal plan.
To have enough energy to handle intense workouts, good carbohydrates are important. Some cost-effective sources of carbs are oatmeal, sweet potatoes, beans, fresh fruit, pasta, and rice. Another type of carbohydrate to add to your shopping list are the fibrous carbohydrates. These are usually vegetables such as: broccoli, spinach, green beans, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes.
There are different types of fats, but we will focus on the healthy fats which come from plants. Some cheap sources of fat are nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew), avocados, nuts & seeds, and olive oil.
How to Manage Time
The most important thing for anyone to know is how to manage their time wisely. This includes studying time, social time, food shopping, and cooking. So let’s focus on the shopping and cooking for now. Here are 3 ways to manage your time:
Have a shopping list – This article provides your shopping list and will help you get in and out of the store in under 20 minutes depending on the lines at the register.
Cook in Bulk- Try to cook on the same day that you purchase all of your food.
Prepare your meals- By portioning your meals into separate containers for each day, you will save a lot of time.
How to Save Money
Here are 3 ways to manage your money:
Buy generic- Switching from name brands to generic foods will save you a ton of money.
Look for sales- If tuna is on sale for 88 cents a can, looks like that will be the bulk of your meal this week.
Use coupons- You can save a few dollars from each purchase with the use of coupons
How to Eat Clean For Under $45 a Week
When you first walk into the supermarket, you will see the produce section. You will begin your shopping here.
Fresh Spinach: $1.99 per bag X 1 bag
Fresh Broccoli: $1.99 per crown X 1
Lettuce: $1.99 per head X 1
Bell Peppers: $1.29 per pound X 1
Bananas: $1.69 per pound X 2
Sweet Potatoes: $2.49 per 5lb bag
Avocados: $1.25 each X 2
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: $6.99 per 5lb bag.
Deli Turkey Breast: $1.99 per pound X 1/2
Tuna: $0.88 per can X 4
Black beans: $0.99 per can X 1
Rice & Pasta
1 box of rice: $1.69 per box
Raw Oatmeal: $2.25 per large container
Eggs whites $3.99
Small loaf of bread: $1.99 per bag
Peanut Butter: $2.49 per container
Small bottle of olive oil: $2.19 per bottle
dash $1.99 per bottle
The grand total before tax is $41.77
Prices Depend on stores and are rough estimates