Happy New Year! I’m so excited that it’s 2020. It’s the start of a new year, new decade, and a new you! If you’re like me, you’ve set some great goals for yourself. One of mine is to be healthier this year. But can you be healthy on a budget?
The answer is yes!
Dan and I have been vegetarian for almost six years now. We eat (mostly) healthy foods. Exercise is also a frequent activity for the both of us. But how do we stay healthy on a budget? We live on one income so you know we have some amazing tips and tricks for you!
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How to Be Healthy on a Budget >> Food & Diet
Healthy Budget Foods
You might think of healthy eating as expensive or only for those who have loads of time to meal prep every week. It’s simply not true! Healthy eating does not mean you need a large, healthy budget!
Some of our favorite recipes only costs a few dollars for four or more servings. They include basic, simple ingredients.
Healthy, but cheap foods include:
- sweet potatoes
- brown rice
- dry beans
- frozen fruit
- frozen veggies
Of course, there are loads of other healthy budget foods. The ones I’ve listed are the foods that we regularly purchase because they are cheap and healthy.
Shop “Regular” Grocery Stores
Health food stores look wonderful and well, healthy. But the truth is that your “regular” grocery stores (Aldi, Walmart, Kroger) can offer the same exact things you’d find at the fancy health food store. Yes, temptation will be there in the form of snack cakes and soda. But I know you can avoid that 🙂
Aldi has a surprising amount of healthier sounding foods. They offer low sugar, organic, and gluten free options. Organic produce is always in stock at our store. All of these healthy options cost much less than they do at Sprouts or Whole Foods.
Avoid Buying Everything That Looks Healthy
I know you want to be healthy. However, you can’t let your budget suffer because of it.
Protein powder may ultimately be cheaper when you purchase the giant container. And you just need to have it in your diet, right?? But if you don’t like it, then what? You’re out that cash. Try a smaller size container or a small pack of single serve pouches.
Just because that pretty, well-marketed packaging says you need that item in your life, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Start with implementing one or two new food items at a time. Find what you like and what you don’t.
Also remember that bulk produce, grains, spices, nuts, etc are much cheaper than buying pre-packaged food.
Organic food is great. Less chemicals and preservatives go into so it’s better for you! But it is also more expensive.
If you can afford to have all organic produce fit into your budget, that’s great! If you can’t, that’s okay too. You’re still feeding your family fresh fruit and vegetables and that’s what counts.
Here’s a list of the “dirty dozen” foods that you should try to buy organic.
Healthy food is normally fresh, amazing produce. It can also take the form of bags of frozen veggies, containers of grains, and can of beans. In the event that you got a little too happy at the grocery store, you might have way too much leftover or just not know what to do with it. Meal planning will be your saving grace.
With meal planning, you take a pantry inventory and use what you already have on hand before it goes bad.
Get my Meal Planning 101 guide for FREE when you sign up for our post updates! You’ll walk away a pro at meal planning and saving money on your healthy food.
Opt for a Meal Planning Service
While meal planning on our own is what works for my family, it may not for yours. You may not have the time or it just might be overwhelming. Meal planning is so key when staying healthy on a budget. That’s where PlateJoy comes in.
PlateJoy is a personalized meal planning service that caters to your family and your lifestyle. Gluten free? They do it. Vegan? You bet! Lighter meals? Check!
This is not a meal kit or meal delivery service. You control the food that comes into your home. The meals are hand picked by specialists at PlateJoy and sent directly to you. You can choose what meals to add to your weekly menu or select different ones. The grocery list is made for you. So you only have to go into the store and cook the food. The hard work of coming up with a menu is done for you!
Just look at these bell pepper nachos. Yum!
Take Your Lunch to Work
Eating out is not budget friendly. And most often, it’s not healthy either.
We make a simple lunch every week and take it for lunches. It’s healthy and cheap. Bonus: it lasts all week!
Skip Coffee Out
I love a frappa-whatever but all those calories… and the sugar… It makes me want to go for a run just thinking about it. If you make your coffee at home, you can control exactly what goes into it.
You’ll also save a ton of money if you skip the take out coffee every day. But you still get the pep in the morning.
How to Be Healthy on a Budget >> Fitness & Personal Care
Find Discounts on Gym Memberships – Only if You’ll Use It
January is the best month to find discounts on gym memberships. BUT a gym membership is only worth the money you spend on it if you will actually use it.
I go to the gym three to four times a week and take my two year old with me. The $60 a month we pay to be a member is worth it to us. Each workout costs approximately $4.60 if only I go to the gym. Childcare is free and my husband is also on the membership. We get discounts on swim lessons and other gym sponsored events.
If you get an awesome deal on a membership, make sure you read the fine print. Do you have a contract? Does the price go up after a few months? Do you have unlimited access to classes? Is childcare included?
Workout at Home
Fancy workout bikes and treadmills look amazing, but dang – they’re pricey!
Instead of purchasing large items right away, make smaller investments.
Sets of resistance bands are inexpensive. A quick search on YouTube turns up hundreds of results on how to use resistance bands and workouts with them.
You can even skip buying anything new and do body weight exercises or yoga at home. When you are on a tight budget, working out doesn’t have to cost a thing. YouTube saves the day again. Here is one of our favorite yoga workouts to do together.
Walking in the woods is free. What’s healthier on a budget (or freer) than breathing in fresh air??
Search for trails and parks in your area. You don’t need fancy shoes or cute hiking outfits… just go.
Use free apps like Map My Walk to track how far you walk. Or leave your phone at home and savor the sweet smell of fresh air.
What’s budget-friendly and will clear your mental clutter? Meditation.
Meditation focuses breathing and being conscious of your thoughts. Find a quite space (it doesn’t have to be fancy). Sit quietly and focus on your breath in and breath out. What thoughts come to your mind while meditating? Instead of fighting back all thoughts, observe them. Start small and practice for only five minutes a day – every day.
There are many apps and videos that offer guided meditations.
I love writing (it’s why I have blog!). I’ve kept a journal on and off since I was a teenager. Most often, I write down my thoughts in a partially used notebook, but in 2020 I plan to have a dedicated notebook for journaling.
Writing out your inner thoughts, hopes and dreams, stresses, and fears can release any anxiety building up within you. That’s what it does for me. Of course, you can journal for whatever reason you’d like. What you put into it is what you get out of it.
I hope you have a wonderful 2020 and become the healthiest, happiest version of you!
What are your favorite ways to be healthy on a budget?