Are you ready to make a lifestyle change but you’re worried about breaking the bank while trying to make healthier changes? The good news is that you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money to become healthier, but rather make small lifestyle changes that will make a big impact on your overall health. Here are a few ways you can improve your health on a budget.
#1 Stop Eating Out
Stop eating out. Not just at fast-food restaurants, stop eating out at any restaurants. Eating out at restaurants is an easy way to consume extra calories, because food cooked at restaurants often has higher salt and sugar content to make it taste better. Restaurant food is often prepared in batches for mass consumption, so it’s hard to modify your dish to remove excess salt and sugar. Additionally, restaurants serve 1.5 to 2x the normal portions of, enticing you to consume much more than necessary.
A good way to eliminate these extra calories is to cook food at home. There are several other ways of enjoying time with friends in a social environment that doesn’t revolve around food. Grab a coffee at a coffee shop with friends in the morning, meet friends for a mid-day tea, or grab a glass of red wine at a board game bar at night.
You don’t always have to follow this rule, especially if you have a special occasion coming up, but for the most part try eliminating eating out from your lifestyle. If you do go out for a meal, order wisely. Ask for a menu with a calorie count if they have one available or ask for ways you can make your meal healthier by ordering unmarinated meats, salads with a simple vinegar and oil dressing, and food cooked in olive oil rather than butter. You’ll be surprised at how much better you look and feel just by making this simple change. Also, you save tons of money by doing this. This tip will not only make you healthier but will help you keep more of your money in your pocket to spend on things that make you happy.
#2 Eat Whole Foods
Eating whole foods is one of the only proven ways of sticking to a long-term health change. Fad diets, diet pills, and restrictive diets are destined to fail and can even have adverse effects. Shortly after stopping the short-term diet, you will likely gain back any of the weight you have lost plus some due to eating large portions, rewarding yourself for dieting, and losing only water weight.
Eating whole foods consists of only eating foods how they are found in nature. Sticking to this rule helps eliminate processed foods, fried foods, canned and frozen foods, and overall unhealthy foods from your diet. Filling your plate with primarily produce and small portions of protein, legumes, nuts, and good fats is low in calories and allows your body to easily break down your meal as these foods are well-known to your digestive system.
Contrary to popular belief, eating mainly produce can be more budget-friendly than you might think. Obviously, this depends on your location, but for the most part you can find produce inexpensively depending on where you shop. Shop around to not just supermarket chains, but also to small independently owned grocers, produce stands, and farmers markets for the best deals on produce. Once you find where you can find the cheapest produce, make it part of your weekly grocery trip.
In addition to being well-priced, produce is easy to make mix-and-match meals with. This gets you more bang for your buck as well as cuts down on food waste. Because the average U.S. household wastes almost $1,000 in food each year, it’s important to buy foods you will eat all of to avoid leaving money on the table, or rather, in the trash can.
#3 Get GOOD Sleep
Often people underestimate the effect sleep has on overall health. We spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping. Therefore, we should focus on getting GOOD sleep to avoid spending our days feeling groggy. Not getting good sleep has several detrimental effects on our health.
So, how do we get GOOD sleep? Well, there is a large list of things that contributes to getting a lack of sleep. Not getting enough exercise, too much exposure to artificial light at night, drinking caffeine too close to bedtime, and many other factors can be responsible for one not getting enough restful sleep at night. It’s important to know how many hours of sleep you need in accordance with your age.
There are many natural ways to promote sleep health before bed. Creating healthy nighttime routines are a great way to create good nighttime habits. Try stretching for 30 minutes before bed, reading instead of looking at your phone, and crawling into bed with a cup of chamomile tea which naturally aids sleep. Getting into the habit of doing repetitive relaxing actions before bed can help prepare your body for sleep and allow you to get GOOD sleep.
Getting good sleep will help to promote healthy brain function allowing you to have a more productive next day. Getting adequate sleep each night requires you to dish out no extra cash and can be a nice way for you to create good habits as well as take the time before bed to focus on your health, rather than your phone, work, or other sleep disturbing actions.
#4 Don’t Go to the Gym
Improving your health on a budget can feel overwhelming when you see the price of a gym membership. Before shelling out hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year on a gym membership, remember that you already have all the tools to exercise at your disposal.
In today’s world it’s incredibly easy to work out for free. Instead of joining a gym, decide what exercise you’d like to do. If you like running, get outside and explore your neighborhood on a run. You can even look online for running trails around your city to enjoy more scenic routes. If you like yoga, search YouTube for a free, online instructor. You can find almost any kind of yoga on YouTube whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced yogi. If you prefer strength training, search YouTube for at home strength training workouts. If you don’t have a set of weights at home and don’t want to invest in a set, use full water bottles to add weight to your workout.
If you don’t want to feel pressured to purchase a gym membership, calculate how much it would cost you per day if you don’t use your gym. This will quickly make you realize how much money you’d be wasting by only using your gym a few times a week. This can really put things into perspective for you when planning your fitness goals.
There are many ways to improve your health that cost a ton of money without a doubt. However, you can almost always find a similar alternative, if not the same thing, for free or cheap. When trying to improve your health on a budget, remember to avoid eating out, always shop around to find the best prices on produce, create healthy nighttime habits in order to get the best sleep, and exercise at home or outside. By following these four simple tips you’ll be on your way to improving your health in no time!
Samantha Rupp holds a BS in Business Administration and is a contributing editor for 365BusinessTips.com as well as a marketing expert for an event insurance company. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys traveling, spending time on the beach and reading up on business industry trends. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.
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