Posted August 19th, 2016 under Nutrition

Budget-Friendly, Macro-Friendly Grocery Store Finds

Tags: budget, nutrition

Budget-Friendly, Macro-Friendly Grocery Store Finds

A common misconception about eating well and purchasing enough food to hit your macros is that it is extremely expensive. While it is true that some health foods are ridiculously overpriced, there are many options at the grocery store that are cheap, healthy, versatile, and delicious.

Budget-Friendly, Macro-Friendly Grocery Store Finds

  1. Carbs
  • Plain Oatmeal: Look for Steel-Cut, Rolled, Old-Fashioned, Quick Cooking, etc. (Usually in a large circular container) Flavored instant varieties in the single-serving bag are not only more expensive, they also contain more carbs than the plain variety. If you get bored with the plain, try adding cinnamon and vanilla extract to bump up the flavor, or some fresh fruit if it fits your macros.
  • Rice: In addition to being the most widely consumed staple food in the whole entire world, rice is affordable and could not be easier to cook. Because it has more fiber, brown rice is your best option when it comes to eating healthy. Plus, there are endless rice recipes circulating around the online fitness community which means you’ll never get bored!
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are particularly awesome because they can be prepared in both sweet and savory ways. While they are pricier than white potatoes, if bought at the right places *cough cough Trader Joes* or in bulk, they are an affordable source of carbs, and chock-full of health benefits.


  1. Protein Sources
  • Egg Whites: While you can separate your eggs by hand, you can also purchase egg whites in a carton. It seems pricier than just separating whole eggs until you consider the servings per container, especially if they come in 32 ounce cartons. Just make sure the only ingredient is “100% egg whites”, and check the sodium levels. They can be incorporated into so many dishes, both savory or sweet.
  • Whey Protein Powder: Often referred to simply as “Protein Powder”, Whey Protein is an incredible source of protein (especially post-workout!) due to how quickly it is digested and absorbed. You can get a container of 30 servings of high-quality, tasty Whey Protein for as cheap as $30, which is extremely cost-effective. Protein shakes are the simple and easy way to fit Whey Protein into your diet, but you can also bake with it.
  • Canned Tuna: Tuna is a great source of both protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Not only is it cheap, the long shelf-life makes it an ideal pantry staple. Look for Chunk Light Tuna in water. Tuna is usually enjoyed on a sandwich or a salad, but lately people have been experimenting by mixing the tuna with a binder such as egg whites (even more protein!) and a grain to make macro-friendly tuna patties (similar to a crab cake).


  1. Produce
  • Leafy Greens: Compared to other lettuce, dark leafy greens are far superior in terms of nutrition yet have a similar price to their less nutrient-dense counterparts. You can get leafy greens in boxes, bags, or bunches, and the price per serving is extremely wallet-friendly. Enjoy your leafy greens raw as the base for a salad, or cook them down with a little olive oil and garlic.
  • Carrots: Buy whole carrots rather than baby carrots to save even more. You can always peel and cut the carrots into sticks. Whether you eat them plain, dip them in your dip of choice, or use them in a recipe, carrots are a great source of wallet-friendly nutrition.
  • Watermelon: Not only is watermelon a delicious summer treat, it is also one of the cheapest options in the produce section. Pound-for-pound, you really can’t beat the price of watermelon. While the most well-known way to enjoy watermelon is a big juicy slice, there are also some savory applications to explore such as watermelon-feta salad. Or you can always remove the rind, pierce the fruit with a popsicle stick and pop it in the freezer for a macro-friendly, vitamin packed popsicle!


  1. Fats
  • Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is everywhere these days, and for a good reason. A serving of Peanut Butter contains healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, and will not break your bank whatsoever. Just make sure to use a measuring spoon to make sure you aren’t going overboard. A banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter makes a perfect pre-workout meal.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of the healthiest sources of dietary fat out there. It can be used in so many ways, such as to cook vegetables or proteins with, as the base for a homemade salad dressing or a dipping sauce, as a marinade, etc. With any fat source, make sure to measure it out. You can get olive oil for relatively cheap when you consider the price per serving, especially when bought in bulk.
  • Eggs: Commonly cited as “Nature’s Perfect Food”, eggs are packed with healthy fats and protein. Eating the whole egg rather than just the white is a great way to up your dietary fat. Prices can vary, but a dozen eggs will rarely set you back more than $3. If you need to add both protein and fat to your daily macros you can always mix whole eggs and egg whites together for your perfect ratio of fat to protein.

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Written by: Emily Ventura BS Public Health

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