Healthy Living on A Budget
Many people believe healthy living is expensive. But it is possible to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, even if you’re on a budget. In fact, a healthy diet can help you save money if you practice planning ahead. And even better, taking advantage of meal prep techniques allows you to take control of your health, while you gain more energy to enjoy life. Here are some tips to help you live healthy on a budget.
Prepare your own meals
A healthy diet is easier to implement when you are in control of the ingredients in your food. Most commercially prepared meals, including restaurant food and frozen meals, are packed with extra sugar and salt and are high in unhealthy fats. These ingredients are often added to give the processed food more flavor but can trigger unhealthy cravings. And premade foods often cost more money than if you prepared your own meals.
Save money by preparing lunch ahead of time that you can take with you, if needed, and make your dinner at home. Begin by planning your budget and calculate how much money you spend to dine out, and use that money to purchase groceries, instead. Buying proteins and produce at your local market is far more cost-effective than buying them from a restaurant. If a homemade meal feels too boring, the internet is full of ideas to make healthy eating interesting, so check them out and be sure to plan ahead; which brings us to the next tip.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Buying your groceries once a week can help you plan a budget and stick to it. But, how do you know what to buy, once you’re at the store? Having a weekly meal plan can easily solve this problem. One technique that takes the guesswork out of creating a meal plan is to check your local market’s weekly sale and plan meals around that. If the sale is for a larger quantity than you need, take advantage of the money-saving technique of dividing the food into portions and store some for later. Not only will this save you money and time, but it can help you avoid overeating.
The goal of planning meals ahead is to take advantage of the weekly sales the stores offer and enjoy the benefits of buying inexpensive staples for your kitchen. Markets usually offer weekly sales on proteins while grains like oats and pasta are inexpensive and can be stored for weeks at a time. Frozen vegetables are healthy meal additions that are easily stored and will also help you save money. Once you set up your kitchen with the basics, it’s time to be creative. Include lunches like Asian chicken salad, healthy tabbouleh salad or sweet and sour broccoli salad with nuts as your protein.
Leftovers are a great way to save money and time
They may have gotten a bad rap in the past as being boring food that nobody wants, but things are different today. Many foodie websites offer creative ideas and recipes that are so delicious you look forward to the leftovers. Zucchini pasta lasagna, a harvest casserole with chicken or a buffalo chicken casserole can all be enjoyed then frozen for later. And they make a fast and easy lunch that goes perfect with any salad for the next week.
Eat less meat
Meat is an expensive food item, especially if you prefer the better cuts or grass-fed. Counter this by experimenting with meat alternatives such as beans, eggs, and fish. For example, bean chili is an inexpensive meal that can be used for dinner or lunch and frozen for an easy meal to heat up the next week. Eggs are easy to boil and use as protein for your lunch salad while certain fish are a healthy alternative for dinner.
Cancel the gym
Incorporate walking, hiking or running as part of your daily exercise plan. Not only will you save money without a gym membership payment, but you don’t have to worry if the gym is crowded or work around the best time to go. Use the outdoors to your advantage and enjoy the fresh air, hills for strength training and reduce stress at the same time. And the best part is your home and the outdoors don’t close during the holidays.
Download a workout app
These can add interest and excitement to your workout when you bike, run, walk or even swim a virtual race. Run with dinosaurs, meander through Mount Olympus or go on an expedition to find Bigfoot. Wherever your interest is, whether fantasy or travel, you can find all that in the Yes.Fit app and it will make you feel like you are there. And without the price of an airline ticket.
Do strength training at home or the park
That’s right, there are many exercises in which you use your own weight as the resistance. Squats and push-ups are classic examples of these types of exercise, and you can increase the intensity with explosiveness. For example, if squats feel too easy but you don’t have weights, then increase the intensity by doing jump squats. Explosive training has been shown to improve overall fitness for endurance athletes and maximizes strength and speed when added to a training schedule.
If training at home bores you, check out the local parks. Many parks have built-in fitness equipment so you can circuit train outdoors, or use hills and steps to increase resistance. But be careful with strength and explosive training on your own. The best way to begin is to start slow, to avoid injury.
Want the personal trainer experience?
Go online and check out YouTube. Many trainers and programs offer free workouts so you can sample their form of fitness. In one week, you can do a HIIT routine, practice yoga, learn how to do mat Pilates or strength train with a bodybuilder. You may even find a workout that inspires you to invest a little into their home program.
Healthy living on a budget might take a little adjustment, but will be worth the effort. As you continue to practice your routine, you will gain more energy and motivation to keep going. And you will have the self-confidence that comes with taking control of your healthy lifestyle.