How to have a healthy lifestyle on a budget
Living a healthy lifestyle significantly prolongs your life. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who implement five different low-risk lifestyle factors – such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting moderate exercise, and limiting alcohol – live 14 years longer (for women) and eight years longer (for men). On top of that good news is this good news: a healthy lifestyle is attainable without blowing your entire budget. But when thinking about your budget, start by setting your health goals, because you can’t hit a target you haven’t identified. Your priorities will vary whether you’re looking for more flexibility in your life, looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness, hoping to improve your diet, or something else.
“‘Living well’ can mean different things to different people,” says Tanya Peterson, a vice president at Achieve, a digital personal finance company, “Make a list of your expectations and goals, so you can decide how best to reach them and where to spend your money.” Once you’ve identified your goals and objectives, you can implement some of our healthy living tips from doctors, nutritionists, and other wellness experts on how to save money and live better.
Be flexible with produce
Instead of buying what you want when you want it, embrace flexibility and buy what’s in season in your area by educating yourself on when you should be buying your favourite fruits and vegetables. “Buying what’s in season is not only cheaper, but it also tastes better and can have more nutrients,” says registered dietitian Megan Casper.
In addition, buying imperfect food, such as that packaged ‘The Odd Bunch’ is a great way to get high-quality produce (and other items) that might not be beautiful or “perfect” enough to be “shelf-ready,” but that doesn’t compromise on nutritional value.
Try different cuts of meat or go meatless
When buying meat, try choosing cuts that are less pricey, like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, or beef chuck roast instead of sirloin. “Cheaper cuts of meat, like pork shoulder or chuck, may be a bit tougher, but they can be slow-cooked to a juicy perfection,” Casper says. Leaner cuts have more meat per dollar than ones with a layer of fat that will be cut or cooked away. Plus, they are one of the best meats to eat.
Because meat is often one of the most expensive items in a shopping trolley, consider trying a meatless Monday. By including one meatless meal each week, you’re bound to save money.