Busy? Don’t Let THAT Hurt Your Health! Life has its demands. Work, school, family, friends, chores, and a whole slew of other things that keep us constantly busy.
With so many important things to do and so little time, other issues – like healthy eating – can fall completely by the wayside.
I have a passion for health and physical fitness, and my experiences trying to balance maintaining a diet while constantly having obligations outside the house have given me some insight into healthy foods that require little or no preparation.
I’m also a college student, so believe me when I say that I understand the importance of sparing every penny possible!
In this article, you’ll find a list of inexpensive, healthy food choices and their approximate costs per unit, along with the nutritional information, so that you can decide exactly what works best for you. And if you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear all about them!
“Pure Protein” Bars
“Pure Protein” bars are one of my personal favorites when I know I’m not going to have time to cook something or when I’m out and about. The nutritional value could be better, but as far as mass-produced protein bars go, it isn’t bad and is much better than grabbing a bag of chips or something from your favorite fast food joint.
Protein bars are typically fairly expensive on a per unit basis. “Pure Protein” bars are sold in grocery stores across America, and in stores such as Target and Walmart. Usually, they go on special every few weeks, at which time you can purchase 10 for $10. It’s one of the best deals you can find on protein bars, so I recommend stocking up whenever they’re on sale.
They come in a variety of flavors including chocolate chip, chocolate deluxe, chocolate peanut butter, and a few more novel flavors like blueberry crumb cake and strawberry shortcake.
The nutritional makeup of the bars varies depending on the type you purchase, but on average you can expect 20g of protein, 4-5g of fat, and 16-18g of carbohydrates, around half of which come from sugar.
I love Clif Bars, but they definitely aren’t for everyone. They’re fairly nutritious, but if you are on a low-carb diet it’s a good idea to stay away.
They’re pretty filling, and can be purchased for around $1 to $1.20 apiece, depending on how many you buy at a time. They come in a whole assortment of flavors, all of which have a pretty similar nutritional make-up.
On average, you can expect Clif bars to contain between 220-240 calories apiece, coming from approximately 8-10g of protein, 3-6g of fat, and 40-45g of carbohydrates, 20g of which are usually from sugars. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and are 70% organic.
Don’t Like Mass-Produced? Make It Yourself!
One of my favorite things to do is make my own trail mix combinations. It’s cheap, nutritious, and you can determine what you put in and how much of it you want.
I like to buy a large quantity of granola, oats, mixed nuts, and dried fruit from a wholesaler like Sam’s Club to make it as cost-efficient as I can, but getting your choice ingredients from a grocery store and throwing them together is still far cheaper than buying pre-packaged trail mix.
I can’t give specifics on nutritional value or pricing “per unit” – it all depends what you choose to use – but as long as you use quality ingredients and buy in reasonable bulk there’s nothing to fret about. And, you can easily throw together 10 or 20 packages in just a few minutes!
It’s a pretty common idea, but it never hurts to reinforce. Fresh fruit is a great option for a mid-day snack on-the-go. Plus, there’s a ton of different options to choose from. Grab a bag of grapes, an apple, banana, orange, or essentially any other fruit and you’re good to go. Most fruits have around 80-120 calories, with 0-2g of protein, 0g of fat, and 20-30g of carbohydrates from natural sugars.
Nuts are one of the best and easiest snacks for the busy person, with pistachios topping the list as my personal favorite. That said, other nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews, are equally as good for your health.
In terms of price, nuts are best bought in bulk, especially since you should aim to buy them all-natural for best dieting results. You can choose your favorite type, or buy an assortment and mix them together. But back to pistachios for a second – one added benefit of choosing pistachios is that you are less likely to overeat. This is a result of the time it takes to open each individual one, giving your stomach more time to settle and feel full.
In terms of general nutrition for nuts, they are high in fat, usually containing between 12 and 18g per serving, along with 3-6g of carbohydrates and 7-10g of protein. Don’t be scared off by the fat content. The fat from natural, or “whole” nuts, is extremely good for you and necessary for a variety of functions in the body.
When buying nuts in bulk, you can expect to pay anywhere from $.70 to about $1.20 per serving, depending on the type and brand.