When did a head of broccoli start costing $4.99? Who still eats them when they’re not really that tasty and stink up the apartment when they cook? I mean, aside from not really *loving* broccoli, it feels easier to skip the health-food resolution in order to avoid being more financially stressed about paying for things I don’t love. Especially with the increase in produce prices, I may as well keep buttering my toast and skip the egg white omelet. After all, back in November 2022, vegetables saw a nearly 40% price increase according to the Consumer Price Index. But there’s a solution for the feelings of futility and the financial stress: budget-friendly health routines.
Are you looking to get healthier without breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck!
Establishing a healthy routine you can afford will help you stay on track and maximize your savings.
Benefits of establishing a routine
Having a routine for your health will provide a variety of benefits: it helps make sure that important things don’t slip through the cracks, keeps motivation high, and can even help you save money in the long run.
Think of routine as an investment — in yourself, your health, and your bank account. Having a routine means you’re more likely to stick to healthier habits, like exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods. With routine providing structure and stability, it’s easier to make healthier choices and save money. After all, one trip to the doctor can cost a lot more than an entire routine of preventative habits! Plus, with the routine you’ll have more energy to take on life’s challenges, making it easier and cheaper in the long run. So embrace routine for your health and your wallet — it’s worth every penny!
Here are some budget-friendly healthy routines you can adopt to help you achieve overall wellness:
Budget-friendly food and nutrition health routines
Cook at home: When you make your food, you can control what goes into the food. Thus there will be no preservatives or extra salt, leaving them healthier. Cooking at home is also cheaper than dining out or ordering takeout, which saves you lots of money.
I love cooking at home, but I hate doing the dishes after. So, over time I have learned that getting everyone involved with the cooking and the clean-up makes it easier. It also provides an excellent opportunity to have fun as a family and bond. I also love involving them in deciding on the week’s menu; this way, I don’t have to deal with them refusing to eat because they don’t like the food on the table.
Plan your meals: Planning is critical to making eating at home convenient and affordable.
However, everything is expensive for several reasons, including high global inflation, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, labor shortages, and other pandemic-related supply chain issues.
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the 12 months ending June 2022, food prices in the US increased by 10.4%, the most significant increase since February 1981. The cost of eggs increased by 33.1%, the chicken went up by 18.6%, milk by 16.4%, and fruits and vegetables were 8.1% pricier. Restaurant prices grew 7.7% in the same period. Energy prices rose 41.6%.
Deciding your meals ahead of time is an excellent way to reduce the grocery bill and save money. It allows you to make conscious decisions about the ingredients that make it to your grocery list, ensuring you only spend money on the necessary ones. Meal planning also ensures you get all the nutrients required for your healthy lifestyle.
Shop using a grocery list: After deciding what you want to eat for the week, write down the ingredients you will need, and shop for the ones you don’t already have. Consider also varying your shopping list. Add more eggs; they are a great protein source and incredibly filling. Beans are another source of protein that is reasonably cheap and way healthier. Try tofu, get whole grains, and always buy what is in season. If you are buying off-season veggies, buy frozen ones.
Buy in bulk: Unlike specialty stores or general grocers, bulk supermarkets can help you save hundreds of dollars. Consider bulk-buying foods you can easily store, such as rice, canned foods, pasta, and spices. You can also buy meat and poultry in bulk; ensure you separate them into smaller portions before freezing. Don’t forget to take advantage of deals and discounts.
Hydrate: One way to curb cravings and unnecessary food spending is to ensure you’re well-hydrated. Drinking water will help you feel full. Some research suggests that sometimes when your body sends hunger signals, it might indicate that you are dehydrated or thirsty. So next time you feel hungry, instead of reaching for that snack, consider drinking water instead. Stash a reusable water bottle in your car, desk, nightstand, next to your favorite couch, or even your purse so you have on-the-go hydration all day.
Swap that cup of coffee with tea: Yes, we love our coffee, but did you know that tea is cheaper and has many health benefits? Tea has antioxidants that help boost your immune system. They also help with sleep, especially the good old chamomile tea. So before reaching for that cup of coffee today, consider swapping it with tea!
Budget-friendly fitness and movement health routines
Moving your body and getting fit and strong doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are some suggestions:
Walk or run: Instead of splurging on a gym membership that you will probably never use, consider alternatives like walking or running. Walking a few steps every day could be the start you need toward a lifelong health journey. Walking or running outdoors will allow you to soak in nature and breathe in the much-needed fresh air, which will work wonders on your mental health. You can also consider joining recreational clubs so that apart from getting a workout in, you also get to socialize.
Use the internet: There are thousands of free Youtube videos made by fitness experts or everyday people on a fitness journey. Most fitness professionals make a living posting free videos of HIIT, yoga, and pilates for all skill levels. So you can search through and try out different routines to find one that works for you. My personal favorites are the Zumba videos. I hate working out, but I love to dance, so they are a win-win for me.
Take advantage of free fitness apps: These apps make keeping fit and healthy more effortless, and the fact that some are free is a plus. An app can help you track your sleep, what you eat, how many times you exercise, and so much more. They also offer plenty of advice on changes to make to improve your overall wellness. Thus, you don’t have to spend much on nutritional advice or gym memberships.
Budget-friendly self-care and emotional well-being health routines
Practice self-care: I remember a time when self-care meant spa days. Good thing I know better now! Self-care means engaging in any activity that will leave you feeling restored. Whether reading a book, lazing in bed for hours, basking in the sun, or just going for a long walk, do whatever works for you.
Make meaningful social connections: Always make time for family and friends. Depending on your time, you can settle for a simple phone call, having a meal together, or engaging in any other fun activity. Nourishing these social connections will significantly impact your health and happiness. Research shows that hugs can have significant health and therapeutic benefits, such as decreasing blood pressure and strengthening your immune system. So make sure you find time for those warm hugs from your loved ones!
Eating expensive organic food or having a membership to a state-of-the-art gym is not the only way to build healthy routines. There are many affordable ways to eat nutrient-rich foods, get in shape and improve your mental health. Hopefully, the budget-friendly health routines highlighted above remind you that they are plenty of accessible ways to support your health and happiness.
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