If you’ve shopped at any grocery store recently, you’ve noticed something big.
If eating healthy was a challenge before, you’ve witnessed the rising price of food have made it even harder.
And if your nutrition clients are struggling to afford food, they won’t be able to pay you.
So, making suggestions to help them eat on a budget is even more important.
That’s why in this blog I’ll give you tips and strategies to help your nutrition clients eat healthy on a budget.
Tip #1 Replace Meat With Other Protein Sources
While looking at protein sources, the go-to is usually animal products such as beef, poultry, lamb, or pork.
But, with the normal household's monthly grocery bill increased by about 10% since last year, many are going to revisit the expensive stuff.
In this case, one of the main contributors is the rising cost of meat, as well as dairy and fresh produce.
Swapping out some sources for meat, other options exist outside of the meat with many pulse crops like lentils, beans, edamame and chickpeas having excellent protein profiles.
Pulses can come in either canned or dry.
There are hundreds of ways to prepare either option, like adding beans to ground meats to stretch meals out or creating savoury dips like hummus or black bean dip for snack time.
Canned goods and dried beans are usually around $1-3, providing adequate protein while maximizing a client’s protein intake.
Canned tuna is another inexpensive and convenient protein option. 1 can of tuna has about 30g of protein for about $1.50.
If a client is insistent on using a specific kind of meat, they can always shop for different and cheaper meat options to get the same flavour.
Like bone-in, skin-on chicken vs. boneless, skinless.
Or sirloin tip steak, eye of round steak, and stew meat for beef.
And it isn’t just meat substitutes, stuff like nutritional yeast is a good parmesan substitution and lasts a long time.
Ok but these budgeting concerns, aren’t exclusive to only meat, bringing us to tip #2
Tip #2 Buying Frozen or Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables get a bad rap and they shouldn’t. Especially since if we look at what has contributed the most to the rise in grocery costs, it’s coming mostly from fresh produce.
The solution may lie in buying frozen and canned fruits and vegetables and possible.
Blueberries, strawberries, green beans, broccoli and carrots are an excellent options over fresh produce.
This can make grocery shopping even more cost-effective.
Keep in mind, everything is harvested at the peak of freshness, then frozen and packaged, meaning you're getting the same nutrient profile as you were eating fresh.
The same can be said for canned fruits and veggies like black beans, corn, pineapple, and peaches. They are processed at peak freshness.
Now, many clients looking to control calories may have to be particular with the fruit. Many of the fruits might have extra sugar from syrups, so be on the lookout for the ‘No Sugar Option’ to avoid extra carbs.
And generally, you don’t have to worry about them going bad—like what happens in your crisper when you swear you’re going to eat all of that romaine lettuce.
Outside of keeping something in your freezer for way too long, your clients won’t have to be concerned with wasting these fruits and vegetables.
Also, one pro-tip for clients bringing meals to work is to add vegetables to their meals frozen. It’s an easy way to keep stuff cold without having to worry about coolers or ice packs.
Buying already frozen or canned helps, but you can also do aspects of this yourself, with tip #3.
Tip #3 Buy In Bulk and Freeze
When it comes to buying in large quantities, there is no better option than Costco or Wholesale Stores.
Although that bigger isn’t always better, and spending $500 for decades worth of ketchup defeats the purpose.
If your clients have the ability to buy larger amounts of meat, or frozen fruits and veggies, buying in bulk can help reduce the cost per meal dramatically.
An entire package of chicken breast is roughly $25 with enough for 8-10 meals for an individual.
Buy some freezer lock Ziploc bags, and separate them out individually to avoid thawing more than you need.
There’s a common theme with a lot of these tips so far and it’s preparing more of the food yourself. This brings us to tip #4.
Tip #4 Avoid Eating Out When Possible
This tip is no fun, especially if you’re an outgoing, social person.
But eating meals out of the home is a quick and easy way to derail a food budget.
Restaurants are businesses so typically they are looking to make money, which means you pay the difference for what you get. Especially with the rise of food costs being passed along to customers.
NOW, I usually encourage some social eating, it’s important, but the key is having a plan and sticking to it. So you can budget it in and there’s no guilt or remorse.
It’s usually trying to limit eating out to 1-2 x per week, prioritizing dining experiences you enjoy, and trying to prepare most of your meals at home.
Tip #5 Protein Sources From Local Producers
If your clients are looking for a large source of meat, local ranchers or farmers may offer a better price per pound than in the grocery store.
This might include buying a quarter or half of the beef cow that has all the cuts prepared the way you enjoy it.
Or even other livestock such as whole chickens, pigs and sheep.
This is possible, but it’s all about asking around and forming the right relationships.
If anyone does decide to go this route, it is best to have a large freezer or go in with a few friends to share the costs and divide up the meat.
This way everyone you know will benefit from having a quality protein source throughout the year.
Also, if you’re wondering if buying a deep freezer is worth it, many budgeting blogs have crunched the numbers and you can SAVE A LOT OF MONEY if you freezer cook, especially if you do what I’ll talk about in tip #6, which is…
Tip #6 Source Your Own Protein
In many areas of the world, hunting deer, elk, and moose can provide a great source of protein for adventurous individuals willing to trek outside for 4 or 5 days a year.
Most wild game is going to be a lean protein with very little fat. Moose has some of the lowest amounts of fat at around 1% when compared to beef, pork or poultry.
As well, moose is rich in B vitamins, Iron, and Vitamin A.
Some people might stray away from hunting, but the methods in place are respectful and sustainable.
Sources of meat, like venison or moose,t also make wonderful meals that keep really well like roasts, stews, sausage, and jerky.
Speaking of meat being in season, the same can be done with vegetables…
Tip #7 Purchase In-Season Vegetables
Short of starting your own garden in the summer, (which many people do for loads of different reasons), purchasing in-season vegetables is a great way to save some dollars when you want to enjoy fresh produce.
Here is a simple image of what’s available in each season.
It’s all about knowing what is fresh and when.
In the springtime, grabbing for more cucumbers and broccoli.
In the summer months, berries and green beans.
In the autumn, you have everyone’s favourite “basic” go-to like pumpkin, but also squash and potatoes.
And in the winter, depending on where you live, you may have apples, pears, and potatoes in season.
There are also other ways you can save-more in store…
Tip #8 Save In-Store with Budgeting Apps
Everyone knows I enjoy using a good mobile app, so why not add one to save on all your grocery purchases?
Use an app like Flipp to compare different stores and prices for your grocery shopping.
With Flipp, it allows you to pick your favourite stores, along with saving your most purchased item on a ‘Watch List, and know where to buy it for the cheapest price. This app lets you find weekly deals and clip any relevant savings to your shopping list.
This leads to my next couple of strategies, which is getting better at planning.
Tip #9 Encourage Similar Meals
In the nutrition world, we always praise variety. Vary fruits and vegetables and colours, for different micronutrients.
Rotate protein sources to cover your bases for fatty acids and essential amino acids.
This is generally good advice, but when a client. In trying to eat healthy foods within a budget, too much variety can be problematic.
The answer is routine.
Encourage them to eat similar meals to cut down on food waste, learn how to prepare them within a budget, and save time.
This may be a bit robotic and monotonous but for periods of time, it won’t hurt from a nutritional perspective and can help save money.
This brings us to planning…
Tip #10 Plan Meals in Advance (Weeks or Months)
Planning out meals for the week or month is an excellent way to save money. You plan your meals out, go into the grocery store with the list and buy what's on the list.
Sure, groceries are expensive, but the real waste here is spending money on food you don’t eat.
When a client is prepared with a plan, they can have a lot of time to prepare meals and put them in the freezer for when it’s time to either cook or reheat meals while clients are on the go.
This obviously makes it easier to adhere to their nutrition plan as well.
There are tons of guides that exist, some free and others for a fee, that gives you everything you need to prepare meals for the month.
And my last tip…
Tip #11 Supplemental Protein
Remember, protein is going to be one of the most expensive items to buy on a budget.
And although the price of supplemental protein has also increased with inflation, cost of ingredients and demand, it can be really cost-effective.
Ranging between $1-2 for 25-30 grams of protein per serving.
And again we need to think about waste and expiry dates, generally, supplemental protein doesn’t go bad, especially not quickly like fresh food.
Being able to eat more protein, without the risk of going bad, is a huge perk of supplemental protein and adds to the convenience and effectiveness of these products. Especially when people need more protein.
And that’s it, folks - rising costs are all around, and everyone needs to eat.
Many of your nutrition clients may be struggling to budget for healthy food, putting additional strain on their health and wellness. Hope these tips help!
As great as these tips are, if you're really serious about starting a nutrition coaching business then the next thing to do is check this video I have linked up right here.
Now that you have a better idea to help your clients eat healthy on a budget, dive a little deeper into non-meat protein options with my top 10 vegan protein sources.
So make sure to check it out now and I'll see you next time.
Top 10 Plant Based Protin Sources.
The biggest concern for any nutrition client switching to a plant-based diet is getting enough protein. Here are the best plant-based protein sources, so you can get any type of client great results.Video >>