"You have to eat big to get big"
You hear that phrase chucked around a lot because it's true. Bad news is that food is expensive, especially high protein foods. Anyone seriously into training will find they are spending far more on foods than any supplements yet most never think about how much they're really spending and would think nothing of picking up the odd packaged meal from their local supermarket for lunch most days.
Let's say you wake up and have half a dozen free range eggs bought from Tesco, couple of hours later you might have some high quality complex protein, followed by a chicken sandwich bought from the local shop, maybe another shake after workout, then a nice Meal with steak and potatoes for dinner topped up with some cottage cheese before bed. All fairly basic stuff and nothing really that flash. But if you buy this from your local supermarket and don't choose wisely, this diet could cost in excess of £ 300 / month (that's only just over £ 10 a day, or £ 1.65 a meal if you eat 6 meals a day) .
So here are a few tips that could cut your food bill in half when the time comes to save some pennies. It might be a bit bland but the amount you can save is substantial.
Use Protein Shakes – Protein shakes, at least basic whey, is cheaper than solid food, fact. If you're trying to save money then unflavoured whey is the way to go. This along could save you 50p plus 3 servings a day. That's £ 30 / month saved right there.
Buy in Bulk – This is important. It's going to be expensive at first but you can save a packet. Places like Makro, Costco and Westin Gourmet can work out considerably cheaper than the standard supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's.
Keep it Simple – Don't buy pre-cooked meat and other meals. That Rustler burger that you got for £ 1.50 that seemed like a good idea is likely to be twice as expensive as if you made it yourself, plus it's probably going to be a whole lot worse due to all of the preservatives and E numbers added, and it won't taste as good either!
Use Protein Shakes
Whole foods are generally considered to be superior to protein powders but in reality the differences, as long as you don't have a big deficiency in something, will be marginal and you'll be able to progress either way, even with basic whey concentrate as long as it's consumed regularly. 5kg of whey could set you back £ 40 but will give you 80 servings containing 50g protein. So that's 50p a serving. If you wanted the same from protein content from chicken you'd be looking at least 50% extra, and that's without adding any flavors to the chicken.
Buy in Bulk
Obviously you can't, or at least probably wouldn't want to live off shakes the whole time. Not only would it not be good for your health, you probably wouldn't smell too good either! So for solid food, try to buy in bulk as there are big savings to be had. A box of eggs at a supermarket costs many times more than what you could pick them up for in places like Makro. Last time I checked a box of 60 medium eggs in Makro, set you back less than £ 5 and even free range eggs are a fraction of the cost of supermarkets. That's a great source of cheap protein.
Chicken and other meats are also great value, and generally of a higher quality too. For example 5kg of chicken breasts currently costs less than £ 20, or £ 17 if you get them frozen. Fish is cheap too costing around £ 20 for 3kg of white fish.
Carb sources are much cheaper than protein but there's still savings to be had. A big bag of basmati rice and oats can be picked up at half the price of the supermarkets and you can buy giant bottles of olive oil too so that should take care of fats!
Keep it Simple
You pay a hefty premium for anything that's already precooked, pre-flavored or similar. Companies make money by increasing its perceived value more than the actual value. So if you want to add flavoring, buy the flavoring in bulk too and you'll save a packet by cooking it yourself.
Buying all of the food in bulk means that it's going to take up more room in your fridge / freezer and also cost a fair bit initially so that means you may have to be a bit more limited with your food choices. After all, not many have space to store 10kg chicken, 5kg steak, 5kg fish, 5kg sausages, 10kg basmati rice and a box of 6 dozen eggs at once! So you might have to go through periods of eating one or two types of meat at a time, but you can turn the same food into different meals to keep things interesting.
Buying frozen is often a good move and in the case of veg, will actually be more nutrient dense than the fresh variety anyway. Big value bags are usually the ones to go for unless you have very specific requirements.
Follow all of the tips above and you could cut your food bill right down. It's possible to get a diet with 3500 clean calories and 300g protein each day for less than £ 5.