10 Tips For Hockey Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Hockey players and parents – I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.

The game of hockey can get really expensive when you start adding everything up!

Traveling, skate sharpening, always buying new equipment/sticks, registration fees, tournament fees, and everything else you can think of.

Although this is the greatest game in the world, it’s not the cheapest one.

Sometimes, this can make grocery shopping suffer because when you’re already paying all these other mandatory fees, you start looking for some other areas in your life where you can compensate and balance the budget back out.

The problem is, nutrition is also super important for hockey!

You need good nutrition to support a low body fat percentage, fuel your workouts/games, aid in the maximal recovery post-game, and to regulate important indicators such as stress and inflammation that could otherwise reduce what could be a long and healthy career.

It’s not a lost cause though. I’ve been down this road many times before with parents and players. It’s so important that we fuel our bodies right if we want to be the healthiest and best hockey players that we can be, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

You just need a little bit of insider knowledge, and a strategy to move forward with. Let’s get into it.

Top 10 Tips for Grocery Shopping for Hockey Players

  1. Cook your own meals. It’s not a surprising correlation that those who complain about the cost of food also eat out multiple times per week. No matter how cheap that dollar menu looks, it is never cheaper than cooking the food yourself.
  2. Buy your food in bulk. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets per meal. Items like rice, oatmeal, olive oil, meat, and many others are all important for hockey players and can be bought in bulk to save you tons of money.
  3. Get cheaper proteins. You need approximately 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body-weight per day to build muscle and support hockey recovery. Discounted meats, protein powder, eggs, egg whites, and almost every single fish are all workable options here.
  4. Plan your meals for the entire week. So many people have an issue with throwing food away, so they end up overeating. This doesn’t make sense. Plan your meals for the week so you don’t over purchase. This saves you money and keeps you on track for having a lean athletic physique.
  5. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. They are in many cases 50% cheaper than the fresh options and have an identical nutrient profile. Don’t over-complicate this by thinking you always need to eat fresh, especially when on a budget. It’s just as important for hockey players to get their fiber, vitamins, and minerals in as it is to get in anything else. Without these co-factors, recovery, and energy dramatically fall, frozen is 100,000x better than nothing.
  6. If you shop at food chain stores, wait until the end of the day or evening to shop. Fresh food prices will drop to prepare for new items for the next day. Play hockey at night? Pick some stuff up on the way home.
  7. For snacks on the go, buying protein bars gets way too expensive. Instead, have one scoop of whey protein powder and a handful of raw nuts/dried fruit that you bought in bulk. Much cheaper, much more nutritious, and will be immensely easier on your wallet.
  8. Don’t think that you have to buy organic everything, you don’t. This will save you a boatload of money right out of the gates.
  9. Get informed about what foods are in season and when in your area, and then try to shop for things that are in season. They are always cheaper and fresher. That’s the best of both worlds, and the things that come “in season” are the things hockey players should be eating anyhow, as opposed to the things that have no season, like pop-tarts.
  10. Keep it basic. Superfood organic Acai berries from the Virgin Mary’s garden are not a requirement for health or hockey performance, just marketing crap. Rice, mixed beans, healthy oils, quinoa, frozen fruits/veggies, and discounted meats are the foundation of what you need to be successful.

Thanks for checking out today’s article, and if you have your own healthy budget tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

About the author

Dan Garner

Dan (or Coach Garner) is the head strength and conditioning coach and nutritional specialist at HockeyTraining.com. He holds 12 of the top certifications in both training and nutrition, as well as a formal education in both functional medicine and health science. Dan specializes in hockey performance, having worked with hundreds of athletes from the youth leagues, right up to juniors, AHL, KHL, and NHL.

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