Power is the most sought after component of optimal fitness. Defined as the ability to exert your maximum available muscular energy, power allows us to move explosively in a movement or set of movements. A combination of speed and strength, maximum power is developed by consistently training at your maximum threshold. Over time, your body adapts to the increased stress level and you increase your physical abilities. When you train your body for maximum power, you also have to fuel your body for maximum power. Diets for power can be overwhelming and you might be breaking the bank trying to eat the right foods to fuel your body for optimal performance and recovery. No matter what type of diet you eat, we’ve compiled the top tips on how to eat for power on a budget.
Eat for Macros:
No matter what type of diet you subscribe to, your meals should be based on your macro-nutrient needs to make sure you are getting everything you need. Macro-nutrients are fats, proteins, and carbs. Your macro-nutrient needs can be determined based on your age, current height/weight, activity levels and goals. When you eat for macros you stop thinking about specific foods like kale, bacon or bananas and start thinking about fat, protein and carbs in terms of percentages of your daily calorie intake. This frees your mind to make lower cost choices, but still maintain the daily macros-nutrient value your body needs.
Eat the Same Thing:
A lot of meal plans for fitness or weight loss make the meals different to provide a good taste variety. But buying all the ingredients for different meals can be expensive and wasteful. Most people like to eat the same things, so the majority of your meals should be very similar throughout the week. For instance, breakfast might be eggs, black beans with salsa and spinach on the side and for lunch, you might have a big salad with a hunk of protein. Benefits of eating the same things include knowing the nutritional content of your meals as well as knowing how the food will digest in your body.
Eat More Plants:
Plant based nutrition is gaining a foothold in power and fitness, with many athletes not only maintaining fitness but improving performance by eating plant-based diets. This doesn’t mean you have to give up meat or dairy, but including more plant foods in your diet will only benefit you. Plants can provide you with healthy sources of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Not only are plant foods generally less expensive that meat and dairy, they also provide much-needed micro-nutrients and dietary fiber. Top plants to eat for power include sweet potatoes, beans, kale, spinach, peas, berries, avocados, coconuts, seeds, and nuts.
Supplements can be an integral part of eating for power and sports performance in general. Make no mistake, supplements are not a replacement for food, but used properly they will fuel your body and help you recover faster. Whether you take protein supplements, post-workout supplements, omega 3’s or a multivitamin, if supplements are a daily part of your eating routine buy them in bulk and get a better deal.
Buy in Bulk:
Buying in bulk is the best way to eat on a budget. Buying a weeks’ worth of supplements, fats, proteins or carbs is a sure fire way to spend more than you should. While it is more of an initial investment to buy the big tub of protein powder, a big bag of nuts or 10lbs of meat, knowing that you won’t have to buy it every week and probably buy other things at the same time should help you. Make a list of your staple’s, of the go-to foods that you eat all the time, and the next time you buy those foods, buy them in bulk. Make smart choices too, it’s nice to have fresh fruit and vegetables, but if you can’t cook or eat them before they go bad, you might want to consider buying frozen.
Don’t Cook All the Time:
Just like you want to buy foods you eat a lot in bulk, you’ll also want to batch cook your favorite foods 2-3 times per week. Batch cooking makes life and eating easier and more efficient all around. Foods that you cook at home are much less expensive than cooked foods from a store or restaurant. If you are cooking every day chances are good you throwing out leftovers 2 to 3 times per week. You can mix batch cooking with foods that you can eat raw or that require only a little prep. Portion leftovers for other meals and for on the go eating.
Make a Meal Plan:
Having a meal plan, is the easiest way to know what you need to buy from the store. When you make your meal plan start out by using foods that you already have on hand in your fridge and pantry and then make your shopping list. Never make your meal plan or shopping list when you are hungry and go to the supermarket without your shopping list.
Most people don’t eat the traditional 3 meals per day. Modern eating styles are reflective of busy lifestyles. Snacking allows you to eat healthy foods when you are hungry, and you can avoid buying expensive take-out on your way home. Keep snacks in your car or office and replenish them often. Great on the go snacks include protein shakes, beef jerky, nuts, and seeds.
Eating for power doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does take some planning. Keeping your foods fun, healthy and simple will make them tasty to eat and help you gain power without growing broke.
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