After returning home from holiday to an empty fridge, I did my usual Saturday morning routine of waking up pretty early to do my weekly food shopping.

A lot of people I know don’t enjoy food shopping, but for some reason I always have and it’s something I look forward to each week, it’s perhaps a little bit of excitement in seeing what new foods or recipes I’ve found in the last few days preceding. So yeah in short I dislike clothes shopping, but really like food shopping, maybe you need a (cashew) nut or two loose to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle :o

Anyway the point of this post was to actually take a realistic look at how much the nutrition side of leading a healthy life actually costs. Lack of money or just perceiving a goal as costing a fortune are two common excuses for not looking after your own health in the short-term, but as we all will find out at some point in our lives, the short-term investments in health will pay off in the long-term.

In my time speaking to others and seeing examples of fitness fanatics online the spread of nutrition investment is hugely variable, some people spend next to nothing and don’t believe in supplements, while others go the other extreme of relying heavily on overpriced supplements. Being the efficient, self-analysing nerd that I am, and also having over a decade of experimenting, I feel like I can give you an inside look into what eating healthy will cost. Personally for me it’s all about balance, while I want to be as healthy as possible, I also want value for money and to be able to use my resources in other areas of my life. Wherever possible I recommend buying foods in bulk to help cut down costs and increase value for money.

It’s important to note that the following is for one person, myself, with the following macro needs. Obviously if you weigh or need to eat significantly more or less this would affect your own costs

Average calories a day: 3250

Protein: ~200g

Carbs:    ~400g

Fat: ~75g

Weekly shopping

I tend to do my weekly shopping at a number of different supermarkets, namely Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Lidl. There are two main reasons for this, firstly it adds some extra variety in my diet which can help avoid building intolerances (will be covered at a later date), and also each supermarket tends to have their own unique brands which can be interesting to try.

Below is a very typical example:

Shopping Receipt
Typical weekly shopping haul

 

Average weekly cost: £30-35

Extras

Looking at the receipt above, you may be thinking “where’s the meat brah?”. This mi amigo is purchased online mainly through the company musclefood. I find it so much simpler and way more cost effective to purchase meat in bulk and then have a dedicated freezer to store it in.

I average around 300-400g of meat per day.
 

Average weekly cost: £12

Supplements

As mentioned earlier the money spend on supplements can vary massively from person to person. Over the last decade I’ve tried countless supplements and the one thing I’ve learnt is 95% of them on the market today do virtually nothing and you’re far better off using that money in other areas of your life. I used to spend a lot more on supplements, but as mentioned in most cases please realise that the supplement business is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and marketers know every trick in the book to play on your insecurities and get you to believe in the “secret” quick fix to your goals.

I will create a post soon on the very few supplements that actually are worthwhile, but in general once you know what supplements you want to use the best way to go about purchasing them is waiting for good deals and then purchasing in bulk, this can drastically cut down costs while again keeping quality high.

My main supplements, at any given time

  • Whey protein

  • BCAAs

  • Zinc and Magnesium

  • Vitamin D

  • Omega 3

  • Creatine

  • Beta Alanine, L-Tyrosine, ALCAR

  • Collagen

  • Adaptogens (Rhodilola rosea, ashwagandha)

 

Average weekly cost: £9

Cost Stats

Weekly

Real food    £45

Supplements    £9

 

Monthly

Real food    £180

Supplements    £36

 

Yearly

Real food    £2,340

Supplements    £468

Summary

So as you can see above are what I would consider realistic costs of a person looking to eat healthy and provide enough nutrients to support most health and fitness goals.

From experience I’ve found other men and women with similar goals to myself, these being building the most natural muscular, functional body and to compete from time to time in bodybuilding tend to spend more money than myself, but once you realise certain tactics such as buying in bulk and also stop believing the hype of supplements and start doing research this will reduce over time.

If anything I hope this post can help increase self-awareness, perhaps the numbers are far higher or lower than you expected, or maybe you’re already spending far more than this on an unhealthy lifestyle.

Jay.