January can be a tough time financially for a lot of people but that doesn’t mean your fitness routine has to go out of the window. How many times have you heard the following phrases? – “I want to eat healthy but it’s too expensive” and “I want to bulk up but I don’t want to eat ‘un-clean’ food” The purpose of this article is to show that it’s possible to both eat healthy foods and eat in a caloric surplus without breaking the bank.

Here are a couple of tips that have worked for me:

Buy in bulk

Although the upfront cost may seem daunting, stores like Tesco, Lidl and Aldi are excellent places to stock up on grocery and non-grocery goods. These stores are also excellent places to buy meat and vegetables in bulk if you don’t mind eating the same meat and vegetables for an entire week (such as myself). For non-traditional bulk-buying locations, consider local markets for grains, fruits, vegetables and local farms or butchers for meats. These two locations are typically willing to cut deals with you if you’re willing to purchase large enough quantities.

Avoid name brands

Purchase generic/store brand products instead of their name brand counterparts. For a fraction of the cost, you can purchase a nearly identical product. Furthermore, I’ve found generic brands from places like Aldi are both cheaper and offer a larger quantity – a double savings!

Stock up during sales or special offers

If you see a sale for staple products in your diet, in my case Almond Milk and Brown Rice, consider the desired quantity, savings, and expiration date of these goods.

Freeze for later

An ample supply of fresh vegetables can be expensive. Frozen vegetables are nearly identical to their fresh counterpart but offered at a fraction of the cost, with each bag offering up to six servings of vegetables.

Meal Prep

One of the biggest changes that I have found in my eating habits over the last few months is the fact that I can now prepare my food for the week on a Sunday night or even a few days before. This will help you to cut down costs, as you will now have your lunch in your bag when you are at work, rather than going down to the shop or local takeaway and spending €10 each time. You can feed yourself for three or four days on €10.

I have drawn up an example food shopping list for 7 days on a budget of €50. This budget is assuming that you have all of the spices e.g. salt, pepper, paprika etc. The prices below are the prices of Tesco products.

Grocery List for 7 days of meals:

  • 1kg of uncooked brown/basmati rice – €1.29
  • 1kg of 100% ground beef (80% lean/20% fat) – €4.00
  • 1.5kg of raw chicken breast – €13.00
  • 3 dozen large grade A eggs – €5.70
  • 2l of Almond Milk – €2.00
  • 1.8kg fresh bananas – €2.50
  • 2kg uncooked white potatoes – €1.98
  • 4 bags of frozen vegetables (e.g. peas, sweet corn, broccoli and carrots) – €5.23
  • 500g of Spinach – €2.20
  • 7 60g snack packs of cashew nuts – €8.75
  • 1kg oats – €0.93
  • 3 pack of peppers €1.29
  • 3 pack red onion €0.99

Total Cost – €49.86

I encourage you to eat every 2-3 hours and exercise around your lifestyle, goals, and family. This is a rough guide for people to follow, so please don’t take it as gospel. If you would like some more information please contact shanewalshfitness@gmail.com for more information.