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When your weekly grocery budget is only $50, you have to be strategic in how you spend it. What should you get? Can you have variety? Are you able to have enough sustainable options to power you through your active lifestyle? All of these are expected concerns from athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike who want to follow a balanced meal plan while being on a budget. Follow along as Kristin Pope, Olympic weightlifter, rises to the challenge at Marrazzo’s Market in central New Jersey.
Pope follows a dieting strategy called “flexible dieting.” Flexible dieting has become one of the fastest growing dieting trends among athletes and those following a fitness lifestyle. It is a balanced approach to mapping out your diet without food restrictions. The only stipulation is that the food you choose must fit within your personal macronutrient numbers and calories. Macronutrients consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Depending on your goals, these numbers can vary daily, weekly, or monthly. For instance, Pope’s macronutrient goals during this challenge were around 50g fat, 210-250g carbs, and 100-110g protein.
Pope came to the store prepared with a grocery list based off of her planned macro count for each day of the week. She was able to plan out her suggested meal plan by inputting the foods she was thinking of consuming for the day into MyFitness Pal. MyFitness Pal is an app that tracks the macronutrient profile of the foods that you consume for the day. This makes it easier for Pope to navigate through the grocery store because she already knows what she can fit within her numbers. The biggest challenge was to pick up the pre-planned items to fit her $50 budget.
Being that Pope isn’t a big cook, she selects food items that are easy to prepare and portion. All she would need to do is measure out the portions to fit the amount she needed for the meal. She was able to fit a bagel and egg for breakfast; a deli sandwich and a banana for lunch; a preworkout Pop Tart paired with Universal Iso Whey around the workout; and chicken, peas, and sweet potato fries for dinner. Lastly, to satisfy her sweet tooth, she picked up mini Oreos for dessert. The shopping trip overall was a success as Pope was able to stay a little over a dollar under the $50 budget.