When you're flying by the seat of your pants as you take on the semester, sticking to a meal plan or even maintaining a healthy diet for that matter can be a challenge. You may feel that you don't have the time or money. Maybe you're like me and you get so focused on your day that you simply forget about your meal. We all know that a proper diet is critical, and I don't just mean for bodybuilding purposes. Your mind depends on a proper diet as well. Miss meals and you're going to be foggy headed and lethargic. With this in mind, I'd like to share some tips to save money, space, and time so that you can get your meals in and get on with your life. No fuss.
Most of us are barely scraping by while in school, even if working full time. Unfortunately, Ramen noodles shouldn't be the main food item in your diet so we are going to need to figure something out here. There is an expensive way to do a bodybuilding diet, and then there's my way for when you really can't spare anything extra.
It's easy to spend a lot of money on carbs if you're buying oatmeal packets, cereal (I'm a sucker for that one), and bread products. The most cost effective carb sources that I've found are potatoes, oats, and rice. I'm not talking about little packets or pre-cooked/pre-wrapped anything. I mean potatoes, oats, and rice, as plain as they get and in as big of containers as you can find.
When it comes to protein sources things can get a bit tricky. This is your most expensive macronutrient. I've had some luck buying meat in bulk, but say you live in a dorm or small campus apartment and you don't have a full size freezer then that isn't going to work. Try shopping close-out deals on meat.
Eggs are great, until you toss out the yolks. Egg yolks contain about half of the protein in the egg. If you can't afford the fat then eat less eggs and throw in some lean meat with them. Whatever you do, don't waste them! Dairy products can get expensive, so limit them. Foods like cottage cheese and greek yogurt are wonderful protein sources but when it comes to value they just don't cut it.
Produce should obviously be a part of your diet, but don't just grab things without adding up the price. Pay attention to the weekly specials and price per pound. Find the items that will give you the most bang for your buck and weigh them out in the store to help you get a better idea of what kind of a value you're getting. Skip organic fruits and vegetables.
Condiments and Adding Flavor:
Finally, unless you like your food to taste like cardboard, you are going to want something to add some flavor. Bodybuilders love mustard... It's a fact. If you're only using a little bit every once in a while then fine, go ahead. On the other hand, using it liberally will cost you. I recommend staying away from all of those liquid-y bottled condiments such as mustard, ketchup, and sauces. They are all pricey.
Here are my go-to-spices: salt, pepper, sweetener, cinnamon, and a flavor or two of Mrs. Dash or whatever spice mix you like.
I'm sure most of you know that once you get in the groove with you diet and the guesswork is done, it's smooth sailing. I'm interested to hear what you guys think of these tips, and if you have any to offer yourself.
Disclaimer The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.