Meal Planning on a Budget: How to Save And Eat Healthy
Meal Planning on A Budget
Along with all of other excuses on the planet, a lot of people complain that eating healthy for weight loss is expensive. Here to debunk that myth, with careful meal planning, the average woman seeking to lose weight can do so on a meal plan for only $5 dollars a day! Might I add that a venti caramel macchiato from Starbucks is $4.92 (including 6% sales tax). This meal plan includes 5 meals a day inclusive of a post-workout protein shake and basic foods that can be purchased at your local grocery store or at a Costco for the ultimate value and cost savings. Check out these tips for meal planning on a budget to save on your next grocery store trip. Also, take a look at the sample meal plan to for an idea on how to get started today.
Purchase Budget Friendly Foods
Purchasing store brand foods in bulk such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and olive oil is essential to getting the ultimate value. The average price difference between store brands and national brands can be as much as 25% or more. These items are often manufactured by the same company and private labeled by the supermarket by putting their logo on the product packaging. Chain grocery stores do not have to market their products the same way national brands do therefore passing the savings onto the consumer. If you aren’t doing this already, this tip alone can save a household thousands within a year.
Choose Your Meats Wisely
While protein sources such as salmon, shrimp, and beef are nice additions to any meal plan, they are the most expensive in terms of cost per pound. The best value for protein, especially when you’re on a budget, can be found in boneless skinless chicken breast (with rib meat) as this typically goes on sale to $1.99/lb on a regular basis. Liquid egg whites can be purchased by the quart at most grocery stores and even greater bulk discounts from Costco or other wholesale grocery store.
Shop Online for Protein Powder
While stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe are the most convenient options when purchasing a whey protein powder, they are seriously marked up compared to online supplement retailers such as Bodybuilding.com or Muscleandstrength.com which offer more product variety with promotions for free shipping to make shopping online a convenient and affordable experience. One particular product that is a great economy protein offering is Muscle Gauge Nutrition’s American Protein Isolate. A Pure Isolate protein (having low carbs and fat) is much more expensive than a product like this which only has 3 grams of fat and 3 grams of carbs per serving while still providing over 22g of protein per serving. When you consider these subtle changes in the nutrition panel and see that the price difference between the 2 options can be as much as a 30% price difference, you can easily adjust your meal plan to make sure you can adapt the value of the lower priced protein into your meal planning budget without messing up your daily macros.
Budget Friendly Sample Menu
This sample menu is suitable for a woman seeking to lose 1-1.5 lbs per week and up to 10% of her total body-weight with weight training and cardio a minimum of 3-4 times a week.
- Store Brand Instant Oatmeal
- Store Brand Raisins (Bulk)
- Store Brand Ground Cinnamon
- Store Brand Sucralose Packets (Bulk)
- Liquid Egg Whites (Purchased by the quart or more)
- Boneless skinless chicken breast (Must be $1.99/lb on sale or less)
- Broccolli Crowns (Must be $1.99/lb on sale or less)
- Store Brand Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pasta (on sale Must be <$0.99/box or less)
- Store Brand Olive Oil Spray
- Muscle Gauge Nutrition American Protein Isolate (5lb unit size, 77 servings)
- Extra Virgin Oil Oil (Must be purchased as gallon)
- Raw Almonds in Bulk
Christine Hronec is the Owner and food scientist of Gauge Girl Training LLC, an online meal planning, training, and coaching service; and also the owner of Gauge Life LLC, a dietary supplement based out of Philadelphia.