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16 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

16 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

One of the biggest objections we get from our clients about healthy eating is that it is too expensive. While some health foods cost a little more, it is still very possible to eat healthy and maintain a budget. Try these tips to get the most bang for your buck in the

  1. Plan Your Meals – When it comes to eating healthy on a budget planning is critical. The most effective way to do this is to plan out your weekly meals then make a list of the ingredients you need to buy to make those meals. Before going to the store check your pantry and your refrigerator to see if you have anything you can use and don’t have to buy. Only purchase what you know you are going to use.
  2. Stick to Your List – Once you’ve planned out your meals and made a list…stick to it! It is very easy to get sidetracked and end up with all kinds of things in your cart at the grocery store which can end up getting expensive. Either write down your list and bring it with you or you can use one of the many helpful grocery apps.
  3. Don’t Go Shopping When You Are Hungry – This is the easiest way to blow your budget. When you’re hungry you often crave foods that aren’t good for you or your budget. Try to have a snack before you go shopping to eliminate impulse buying.
  4. Cook at Home – Cooking at home is much cheaper and healthier than eating out. By cooking yourself not only do you know exactly what is in your food, but you’ll be able to make 3-4 meals for what you would spend on 1 meal at a restaurant. Some people find it easier to cook for 3-4 days at a time and use tupperware to keep their meals fresh.
  5. Buy Generic Brands – Most grocery stores will have a generic option for nearly any product. The generic brands are almost identical products to the brand name at a fraction of the price. You’re still getting good food, you’re just not paying for the huge marketing campaigns from national brands.
  6. Stock Up On Sales – If you have a favorite product that you use frequently you should stock up when it is on sale. Don’t buy something just because it is on sale, but if you use it and it is either non perishable or you can freeze it stock up. Make sure that it won’t expire or go bad because stocking up on something you’ll end up throwing away defeats the purpose.
  7. Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables – Frozen produce is usually just as healthy and nutritious as fresh with the added benefits of being cheaper, available year round, and sold in larger bags.  Frozen product can be great for cooking and as an addition to your protein shakes. Another benefit is you can just take out what you are going to use and keep the rest frozen which reduces waste. They are also washed and pre cut which saves you time in preparation.
  8. Buy In Bulk – Buying certain foods like brown rice, oats, lentils, and nuts in bulk can save you a lot of money. Just remember to store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
  9. Try Less Expensive Cuts of Meat – Buying less expensive cuts of meat are a great way to still get enough protein while on a budget. Try chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts and bone in or tougher cuts of read meat to save money. Organ meats are also very cheap and loaded with nutrients.
  10. Keep Your Fridge and Pantry Organized – This will help you to not buy food that you already have and make sure that you buy what you are missing.
  11. Repurpose Leftovers – Leftovers from the previous night’s dinner can make a healthy and cheap lunch the next day. Put them in a tupperware and reheat for lunch.
  12. Check Out a Local Farmer’s Market – Not only will you be getting good deals on produce but you’ll be supporting local businesses and helping the environment. Triple win!
  13. Make Your Own Coffee – If you are a coffee drinker you will save a lot of money by brewing it at home rather than spending $5/day at Starbucks. Over the course of a month a $5/day coffee habit adds up to $150!
  14. Drink Filtered Tap Water – A water filter is a great investment and drinking filtered tap water is just as healthy as drinking the majority of bottled water. Most of them are actually tap water anyway. (Dasani for instance is Atlanta city water)
  15. Shop the Perimeter – The perimeter of the grocery store is where you will find the majority of healthy, natural, and whole foods which are not only better for you but better for your budget than the highly processed stuff in the middle aisles.
  16. Use Your Phone’s Calculator To Keep Track of Spending – An easy way to stick to your budget is to add up the items in your cart on your phone’s calculator as you add them in. This will prevent you from getting to the register with more items in your cart than you have money for.

 

Mood Boosters – 10 Minutes to Improve Your Mood

Exercise has been shown in numerous studies to be an effective reliever of stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise releases the feel good chemicals in the brain called dopamine and serotonin that improve mood and help fight mental health disorders. Some experts even believe that exercise is as effective as some prescription drugs to treat anxiety and depression. It also does not need to be a long strenuous training session in the gym either to reap the rewards of the mood boosting effects of exercise. Just a 10-15 minute workout or fast paced walk around the block can have marked effects on how you feel.

Here is a sample 10 minute routine that you can do anywhere with just your bodyweight to try the next time you’re feeling down or anxious. Each exercise will be performed for 30 or 60 seconds and do as many repetitions as you can while maintaining good form in the time frame. Repeat this short 5 minute circuit 2-3x depending on how much time and energy you have and boost your mood.

The Workout

Jumping Jacks – 60 seconds

  1. Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides.
  2. As you jump both feet out to the sides, swing your arms out until your hands are above your head so your body resembles an X.
  3. Hop both feet back together at the same time as you swing your arms back to your sides. This is one repetition.

Pushups – 30 Seconds

  1. Lie on the floor face down and place your hands a little wider than shoulder width and with your arms extended.
  2. On an inhale slowly lower your body towards the floor until your chest is about 3-4 inches off the floor.
  3. Exhale as you push yourself back up to the start position using your chest muscles.

 

 

Plank – 60 Seconds

  1. Lay on the floor supporting your body weight with your forearms and your toes. Aim to have your elbows directly under your shoulders and a flat back.
  2. Keep your core tight and hold this position for the recommended time. To make this exercise harder you can lift up one leg at a time 3-4 inches off the ground.

 

 

Bodyweight Squats – 30 Seconds

  1. Start with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Begin the movement by bending your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.
  3. Continue down until your thighs are just below parallel (if you can), pause for a second then push through your heels as you bring your hips forward and straighten your legs. Focus on keeping your head and chest up.

 

 

Bicycle Crunches- 30 seconds

  1. Lay flat on your back and lift your shoulders off the floor and bring your left knee to your right elbow while straightening your right leg.
  2. Without relaxing the torso or returning your shoulders to the floor, repeat on the other side –  using a bicycle-pedaling motion, to bring your right knee toward your left elbow.
  3. Extend your legs out only as far as is comfortable without arching your back. Alternate in this pedaling motion until you finish the set, keeping the movement slow and controlled.

 

Alternating Reverse Lunges- 60 seconds

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Begin  by taking a step to the backward, bending the front knee to lower your body until the front knee is 90 degrees. The leg stepping back will also bend and stay on the ball of the foot.  Keep your spine neutral.
  3. After a brief pause, return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of the front leg to straighten the leg back to a standing position.
  4. Repeat the movement with the opposite leg and continue alternating until the time is up.

Mountain Climbers 30 seconds

  1. Start in a high plank position with your palms on the ground, head, back, and hips all in line.
  2. Drive your right knee forward towards your arms. Quickly switch feet and drive your left knee forward. This is one repetition, but this exercise can also be done for time.

This short series of exercises or even a 10-15 minute brisk walk around the block can help you shake the bad mood you’re in and recharge your body and brain to be happier and more focused. Aside from releasing feel good chemicals in your brain, exercise has also been shown to improve memory, focus, and cognition so if you have a big test or project to work on try to get some exercise in beforehand for best results.

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