As endurance athletes like triathletes, ultra runners or cyclists, we seem to always be looking for ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time. These 5 tips will help put you in the right direction for budget friendly meals while eating healthy.
Tip 1: Cook and serve the right portions.
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food if you pile your plate with food. A healthy serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces or the size of your palm if you can’t weigh it. Fill half the plate with vegetables and the final quarter with a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa. Eating less meat is better for your health and your budget.
Tip 2: Cook ’em low and slow.
Tougher cuts of beef and pork are a lot cheaper than steaks and chops but no one wants to eat a piece of leather for dinner. The best way to cook tough cuts of meat: cook them low and slow, usually for 3 or more hours, often in liquid, to make them tender. This is the perfect time to pull out your slow cooker while you are at work.
Tip 3: Add pasta or rice.
Got a few vegetables or a little leftover meat but it’s not quite dinner? Pasta and rice are cheap, healthy pantry items that let you turn a few leftovers into a meal. Try quickly sautéing peppers, onions or spinach and toss them with noodles. Add a few herbs and a little Parmesan cheese, or add rice into a vegetable soup to make it more satisfying and filling.
Tip 4: Stir-fry for dinner.
Stir-frying with plenty of vegetables and just a little bit of meat is an obvious choice when you want to make a quick and healthy dinner. It’s also very forgiving, so if you have a little extra onion or half a leftover vegetable you want to use up, just throw it in your stir-fry. It can be anything you want it to be.
Tip 5: Cook once, eat twice.
Doubling a recipe will allow you to get ahead on your cooking and have a dinner or lunch ready for later. The added benefit is it helps use up ingredients that we bought for a recipe (a bunch of fresh herbs is a great example). Also consider cooking an extra chicken or more meat than you need. The leftovers are great in soups, salads, quesadillas or hash later in the week with a fried egg for your protein.