Whether you want to stay healthy or reach a specific goal such as losing weight, there are plenty of diet plans and products out there that make amazing claims. These usually come with a hefty price tag, and not everyone can afford to live like a celebrity, so here are some ways you can stay healthy and work towards your goals without spending big.
Learn to cook from scratch
When you compare cooking from scratch to using pre-prepped foods or eating out, making your own food wins every time. Cook one meal from home a week that you’d usually buy from a restaurant or as take out, and you could save $832 a year. Then add up all the meals you eat out, from lunches to quick breakfasts when you’re late, you’ll soon see it makes sense to cook whenever possible and spend your money on things that are more fun.
Meal planning is also helpful, as it saves those last-minute dashes to the grocery store or those moments where you get indecisive. If you have a plan for the week, you know you have to stick with it to ensure you get enough nutrients, so you’re less likely to end up ordering a pizza. Meal planning is great for those on a budget too, as you can see exactly when and where you’re spending money.
Drink more water
Water is practically free, easily available and has numerous health benefits, yet people still turn to diet soda, coffee, and sugar-filled drinks when they’re thirsty. Challenge yourself to replace as many drinks as you can with water, and you’ll save money and probably feel a lot less sluggish.
Eat a plant-based diet
While a plant-based diet might sound like an expensive fad, it can be great for your health and can be done on a budget. A plant-based diet basically means you base most of your meals around vegetables of all forms, and in most areas, vegetables can be bought cheaply, especially in bulk. Make bulk quantities of your favorite meals so you can save time on cooking. If you’re worried about nutrition, you could look for supplements from Myprotein while you adjust to this new way of eating. With a range of supplements such as pre-workout to protein snack bars, you will be spoilt for choice but keen to kickstart your new diet!
Avoid fashionable ‘superfoods’ that tend to be overpriced and difficult to find. Things like avocado and kale have become expensive in recent years, as they’re seen as some kind of miracle foods. However, you can get the same healthy fats from hummus and leafy greens such as collard greens. Don’t forget – frozen fruit and vegetables can be just as good as the fresh stuff, especially when used in recipes, and they’re usually very cheap.
Download fitness tracking apps
You don’t need to buy an expensive smartwatch or gadgets to stay in shape. Most app stores have plenty of free apps to track calories, help you work out effectively, or guide you through various exercises. Some of the best fitness apps are free or very cheap, although if you like them you can often subscribe and get premium content. If you can’t afford a personal trainer, then this is a more affordable option, although you’ll have to learn to motivate yourself.
Enjoy YouTube workouts
It’s easy to get bored of your usual fitness routine, but it’s not always possible to budget for an expensive bootcamp or attend some fun classes. However, YouTube is packed with free workouts by professionals and amateur enthusiasts, so you never have to do the same exercise twice. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, dancing, ab workouts or toning, there’s no end to the possibilities, so you never have to step foot in a gym again.
Take lunch to work
Whether it’s the work cafeteria or the tempting sub shop next door to your office, buying food at work is a huge waste of money. The average American spends $1,043 a year buying lunches, which works out about $20 a week, so cutting down on this one bad habit could let you pay off a credit card bill or take a vacation! Not only that, buying food from takeout places often means you’re eating huge amounts of fat, salt, and sugar, so pack your own lunch and you know exactly what you’re eating every day.
Buy generic brands
A lot of healthy foods are made by big corporations who spend a lot of money on marketing to convince you to buy their particular brand. However, in most cases, there’s no real benefit to buying a $10 box of cereal compared to the generic grocery store brand, just compare what you are eating in terms of fiber, fat, and protein. One of the best choices is plain old oats, which you can enjoy hot or with yogurt and fruit.
Use up foods that are close to expiry
Wasting food means wasting money, so if you cut down on the amount you waste, then you cut down on your grocery bills. If you have fruit that’s going out of date, make smoothies, and use vegetables that are about to wilt to make large batches of vegetable soup that you can freeze.
Have a few staples in your cupboard
It’s not always possible to go out to the grocery store, so it’s important to have a few staples in your cupboard so you can make a healthy meal when you need to. From brown rice and tinned chickpeas to spices, just a few items can make your life so much easier and ensure you don’t go off track as soon as you have a stressful day.
Looking after yourself doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. By doing some planning and keeping track of what you eat, plus working out at home rather than the gym, you can save a lot of cash, which you can then spend on the fun things in life. Instead of spending money on miracle weight loss cures or personal training sessions, aim for self-care instead and keep hold of your cash.