Nutrition on a budget

Good day fine ladies and gentlemen.

Last year I plodded some marathons, but now I am back to running I am really feeling an energy drain recently.

Currently I'm cycling at least 12 miles a day it seems, if I visit my brother on Sunday I do 30. I go fencing once or twice a week and now I have started supplementing some of my cycle to work journeys with runs instead. The running will get longer as I've returned from injury and will be doing a marathon in May.

Unfortunately my finances are low, a friend suggested that maybe I'm not eating well enough for this level of activity.

Does anyone, or multiple people, have some advice on what I can eat which is nice and affordable?
Too much pasta seems to give me gas image (charming I know) so I only have it once or twice a week and try to go with wholegrain rice on other days. Sundays are a roast dinner. Breakfast and lunch are a bit up in the air.. some eggs if I managed to get them. Crackers and cheese are often on the menu as they are dirty cheap. Tuna and Mayo on ryvita have been a common one too. None of it sounds like the meals of champions.. so your advice is certainly welcome!



  • Porridge maybe?  Don't think its that pricey.  Not my thing though image  Do you eat bread, wholemeal might make your tuna a bit more filling if in a sandwich. 

    Could it be that its just your body getting used to the increase again?

  • Lentils are cheap and packed with protein. You can make them the feature of a dish, or use them to pack out other meals, so they go further.

    Buy vegetables in season and make stews or stir-fry with them. Invest in a few tins of canned tomatoes, a bottle of worcestershire sauce, a bottle of soy sauce and play around with various veggies combinations. For a bit of variety mix couscous, easy to make, cheap(ish) and good for you.

    For meat, turkey leg is relatively cheap, lean and packed with protein. You can buy it ready diced for stews / stir-fries.

    And there's always jacket potato.

    Keep a tub of Greek yoghurt in the fridge for pudding or snacking. Again, rich in protein and delicious with a bit of honey and a banana.
  • Awesome, thank you guys
  • kippers are cheap - 80p a packet.....done with potato wedges you have fish and chips.

    I eat a lot because I am greedy, so always try to go shopping when supermarkets start reducing things - normally about 730 or so in the evening, and buy nice stuff and freeze it. 

  • Another vote for porridge but throw some dried fruit or banana in it for added energy. Any kind of pulses and legumes are cheap if you buy them dry but also good to have a couple of tins in the cupboard for those days when you forget to soak the beans! Also buy any fresh veg you like that's on offer - cook it up and freeze it or make soups and stews and freeze them too.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭

    You do look a bit on the skinny side in your avatar................... 

    I make huge pots of chilli with mince, lots of whatever veg is cheap, tinned tomatoes, lentils and spices, then freeze it in portions.  Great with rice, baked potatoes, or taco shells, topped with grated cheese.

    You can do the same with bolognese style sauce - mince, tinned toms, veg and some herbs and stuff.  It's good on baked potatoes too, if you find pasta upsets you.

    Baked potatoes with beans and cheese, tuna and mayo, both with onions and tomatoes chopped through for added oomph.

    Cheap cuts of meat, with loads of veg made into stew and cooked really long and slow are very tasty. 

    Toss potato wedges and quartered peeled onions in some oil with garlic, salt and pepper and chuck them in the oven for half an hour.  Stick them in a bowl and add grated cheese and chopped fresh tomatoes - nice lunch.

  • you could always try ratching in the supermarket skips after closing time, they must fling some unsold stuff out!
  • TimeaJTimeaJ ✭✭✭
    The market is a great place to grab cheap fruit and veg, especially if you go close to closing time. Jacket potatoes can be great with different fillings. I also use to compare food prices, it can be a great way to save money on food image
  • It's a myth that eating well & healthily is expensive.
  • Great post just what I was after. In terms of snacks you can't go wrong with raisins which are pretty cheap, keep a stash by my desk. I also like the innocent veg pots, they're not cheap but are a quick way to get your veg.

    Running the 2012 London Marathon. Please follow my progress here
  • I am on a tight budget too but manage fine, you really shouldn't need suppliments unless your doctor has prescribed them as you can quite easily get enough of what you need just by eating sensibly.

    Protein: 3x 125-200g portions (your looking for 1.5g-2.5g per kilo of your body weight, 125g of tuna for example should have roughly 30g of protein in). Eat spread out through the day as your body can only take so much, anymore and it just reserves the calories and stores them, it cannot keep the actual protein as it doesn't have the capability so it pees out the nutrients, a waste of money and calories (which are then stored as unused energy rather then also pee'd out).

    Carbohydrates: very easy to get hold of at a low price. Complex carbs are best, aim for wholegrain, multigrain or brown versions -though watch it with brown bread as this is just white bread dyed brown in most cases: aim for multigrain bread. Eat a fist sized portion per meal. Potatos, brown rice, couscous, quinoa, wholegrain pasta...etc.

    Fats normally are within the protein that you eat if you eat meat but otherwise things like olive oil or other good quality oils are an idea. You don't need that much and watch what you do with it: heated oils can become trans fats which have no benefit to you at all. Healthy oils are better at lower temperatures and some tolerate the heat better then others. Look for unsaturated/poly unsat. fats over saturated fats.

    Vitamins: fresh fruit and steamed vegetables and also salad. Look for what is in season as its cheaper, buy from street markets but repurchase frequently as the softer the food is the sooner it goes bad. 80g is one portion and you need at least 5 portions of DIFFERENT COLOURED fruit and vegetables per day, eg 1 orange, 1 apple, 1  portion of strawberries, 1 portion of steamed veg...etc. If you make it into a smoothie it doesn't matter how much you drink, it only counts as one portion because all the fibers have been destroyed. Eat at least 5 but the optimal number is 10. The different colours mean different vitamins and a variety means your getting several types.

    Water/fluids. Water is just fine but if you want to jazz it up add some juice or even fruit juice which can be diluted with water 50/50 and makes a great electrolyte drink if you add a small pinch of salt. It can be useful if you run for more then an hour in terms of replenishing body salts.

    Mass make foods, make a batch of about 4 meals, freeze the rest, do this often and you build up your stocks so when you come home at night: instant microwave meal. (Just don't freeze in tin foil unless your using and oven to heat up and vice versa with plastic!!). You can freeze meals in those plastic sandwich bags if the hard plastic ones are too expensive- they also fit better in a freezer this way too! Make sure stuff is cole before it goes in the fridge or freezer.

    Shop after 8 or 9pm as foods can be reduced in price if they need to be used by the end of the day. Look for things which can be frozen or cooked up and then frozen.

    Herbs and spices are fantastic because in most cases a little goes a long way and can really make or break a meal. Follow a recipy if your unsure on how to use them. They can be cheaply bought from market shops.

  • TimeaJTimeaJ ✭✭✭
    Yes, I agree with Jennn' advice about going shopping late. I get the best bargains from our local Marks & Spencer food shop when I go after my gym classes. Last time I picked up a bag of oranges for 10p (Yes, you read that right!!!) and they tasted lovely, their shelf life was only duie to end in 2 days!
  • Well lots of very helpful replies. I will be putting this into action tonight. I bought a bag of wholegrain cereal with raisins in, will try and start my day with that when I get to work.

    Also got a little pack of mixed raisins and nuts to keep in my cycle bag, a slightly healthier peckish habit than popping into the newsagents for a pack of monster munch.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my query.
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