Eating well is the staple of any successful fitness program. Nutritious foods help keep bodies functioning properly. Trainees need not spend large sums of money satisfying nutritional needs because those on limited budgets can fuel their fitness at reasonable costs.
Nutrients For Reducing Health Risks
People interested in reaching fitness goals on small budgets should focus on “quality” carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This means that food choices should be primarily based off the nutrient density of the food as opposed to simply picking foods that offer empty calories and low nutritional values.
Natural food products like fruits and vegetables are quality carbohydrate selections—especially those that haven’t been genetically modified. Proteins should also be free of dangerous additives and preservatives. Nutritional experts agree that cutting back on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fat like those in vegetable oil should be used in moderation as high amounts have been linked to cancer in some animal studies. A good choice might be monosaturated fat, which is found in olive and canola oil.
Carbohydrates The Energy Foods
Carbohydrates are sugars that supply energy to the body. There are complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates provide satiety and sustained energy because they are difficult to quickly digest. As a result, the sugars of complex carbohydrates aren’t readily converted and stored as fat. Examples of complex carbohydrates include cucumbers, corn and yams.
A popular complex carbohydrate amongst fitness-minded people is oatmeal. It’s a great energy food. Reduce cost by purchasing store brands or generic alternatives.
Frozen and canned complex carbohydrates are generally less expensive than fresh. Quality choices such as green peas, carrots and spinach are easily found in supermarkets. If bought fresh, remember to avoid over-cooking vegetables to retain higher nutritional values.
Table sugar, candy bars cakes and pies are examples of simple carbohydrates/sugars. They are easily digested and have greater potential to be stored in the body as fat. Fruits such as apples, oranges and melons are also made primarily of simple carbohydrates, but as natural foods their sugar content is low thereby lessening the probability of fat storage.
Like fresh produce, the costs of fresh fruits add up. Frozen and canned fruits are generally less expensive. Search for items on mark-down tables that may have only slight blemishing. It’s also more economical to buy fruits and produce that’s in-season.
Body Building When Money Is An Issue
Strenuous exercise requires ample protein. The USDA’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.36 grams per pound of body weight might be feasible for sedentary individuals, but hard-training athletes/fitness enthusiasts require higher levels—more like 0.70 to 2.00 grams per pound of body weight depending on training goals.
Red meats supply protein and minerals such as iron, but lean quality cuts usually come with high costs. Poultry can also become expensive if commercial brands are purchased. Cheaper brands may lack in taste quality.
The protein in ground turkey roll makes for a good selection. Ground turkey sometimes costs less than a dollar. Pork products are also reasonably priced, but many trainees such as Muslims shy away from pork products due to religious beliefs. Non-refrigerated meats should be avoided if loaded with additives. Fish products whether frozen, fresh or canned offer taste, but other than canned tuna, salmon and sardines the price is steep for trainees on a budget.
Increased time spent in preparation and cooking means less time to recover from training—not to mention that there are links between eating meat products and developing cardiovascular disease. Mercury poisoning from fish products has also become a concern for consumers.
Cost-effective protein sources like soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds are sensible buys when money is tight. “Even ready to eat food such as tofu averages about $1.50 per pound—far less expensive than most meats and fish” (In a Vegetarian Kitchen).
Legumes are a great choice of protein because they’re versatile, easily prepared and work well with additional foods for balanced nutrition. Cooking time is reduced for bagged beans if soaked overnight in water. Plant-based foods contribute to a lean physique, prevent diseases and benefit the environment.
Egg whites are another inexpensive option. They are a great source of amino acids and offer high protein value for about $2.50 a dozen. Egg whites remain a “best buy” for rebuilding the body after tough workouts.
Cheap Liquid And Powdered Nutrition
An affinity for non-fat powdered milk saves money. The price per quart of powdered milk is about $0.46 while equivalent volumes of commercial skim milk are $0.80 or more.
Powdered milk mixes well with most protein powders. Supplementing with protein powders is an economical way to spike protein intake. Whether milk or vegetable based, protein powders supply quality protein that taste great with salutary foods like cottage cheese, yogurt and whipped cream.
It’s best not to shop when hungry. Hunger makes some people impulsive buyers and impulsiveness can increase food costs. Nutritionally-weak snacks may also become purchases at the expense of less costly, nutrient-dense items.