We all want to be healthy, but some people worry that healthy living is too expensive. After all, not everyone can afford to buy only organic foods, or pay for a monthly gym membership, right? But there are lots of ways that you can live a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank.
For example, simply eating more fruits and vegetables and less junk food will have a positive impact on your health. Pound for pound, most highly processed foods are actually more expensive than fruits and veggies – and they are much more costly to your health as well.
You don’t need to go to the gym to exercise, either. Go for a daily walk or run around your neighborhood instead. Or buy some cheap workout DVDs and work out in your living room. For an even cheaper option, if you have a computer, you can find tons of great workout classes on YouTube for free!
1.) Start With Meal Prepping
One of the best things you can do for a healthier lifestyle is to prep for meals ahead of time. This won’t just help you plan healthier meals, but you can save money when you grocery shop. By planning out your meals in advance, you have an exact shopping list to follow. It’s easier to avoid the aisles with the chocolate cookies, the candy, and the processed foods. You’ll avoid the aisles that can lead to impulse shopping, which end up just being bad for both your wallet and your waistline!
This is also a great way to incorporate a new fruit, vegetable or other ingredient into your meal. When you first look at a zucchini (for example), you may not have any idea how to use it if you’ve never cooked with zucchini before. You’re more likely to reach for the food you’re more comfortable with. When you plan your menu ahead of time, you’ll already have recipes on hand that show you exactly how to use a particular ingredient…
Meal prepping is also helpful for the children. They’ll see that there are great ways to use healthy foods. The recipes become more appealing and they’ll get on board with your healthy lifestyle changes.
Make this a family thing to do. Ask each member of the family to pick a meal for each night of the week. When people feel more involved, they’re more likely to enjoy the food and work with you to stick to the healthy meal plan. You don’t have to spend time and money on creating two dishes for the night.
2. Work On One Change at a Time
When you try to incorporate too many changes at once, people will react negatively. We’re hardwired not to like change, especially when there’s been no plan or call for it. The rest of the family may not be that bothered about their unhealthy lifestyle, so if you want to make a big change, you need to do it one step at a time. Work with the diet and then move onto the exercise. Take it one day at a time to encourage the change.
As the new changes become habit, your family won’t even notice the extra changes added in. Before you know it, everyone is eating healthy meals throughout the week and getting more movement throughout the day.
For example, start by swapping out the sugary cereals for healthy breakfast options. When that becomes habit, you can move on to dinner and lunch. If people panic about the idea of no more sodas, limit to just two to three a week first and then gradually cut down to none over a few weeks.
3.) Aim to Add More Steps in Your Day
Moving more is key to good health, but that doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. It can mean just getting more steps into your daily routine. You can even find that this saves money on fuel, since you may be able to reduce the amount you use your car!
Instead of driving to work, consider walking or cycling to work if possible. If you really can’t walk the distance, consider taking the bus and getting off a stop or two earlier. Walk the rest of the way to add more exercise into your day without even thinking about it. Cycling is an excellent way to save money and get more exercise at the same time.
There are going to be times that not taking the car isn’t an option. Instead of parking as close to the building as possible, park at the further end of the parking lot. You may only get 20 extra steps in, but it’s 20 steps better than nothing. Likewise, take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to your co-worker’s offices to ask them a question instead of picking up the phone.
It may not seem like much, but every little bit adds up! As you make movement a daily habit, you’ll find yourself becoming healthier almost automatically.
4.) Look for Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Takeout Meals
While takeout is a popular option for busy families, it’s both expensive and unhealthy. Making your own meals at home may be a little extra work, but it is far healthier and less expensive, and it can even be fun for the whole family!
When you make your own dishes, you have full control over the ingredients. You can make sure everything you serve your family is healthy and doesn’t contain any added ingredients that they shouldn’t be eating…
You can use the internet to find delicious make-at-home versions of your favorite takeout meals, and then prepare and enjoy them as a family.
5.) Cut Back on Alcohol, Soda, and Caffeine
One of the best ways to live a healthier lifestyle is to cut back on the stuff that is bad for you. Alcohol and caffeine may not be dangerous in moderation, but if you drink too much of either you can put your health at risk. On top of this, you’re spending more money than you need to.
Soda is one of those “foods” that offers absolutely no nutritional benefits. Even diet soda isn’t worth the money you spend – and it is just as bad for your health as the non-diet variety.
Cut back on the two and opt for water instead. Use a few real fruit slices to help add natural sweetness, flavor, and antioxidants. You’ll soon yourself feeling fresher, cleaner, and more energetic – and you’ll be saving money at the same time!