Staying healthy on a budget
We’d all like to be fit and healthy, but there are often barriers to this. Sometimes we don’t have the energy, or maybe you’re dealing with an injury that prevents you from exercising. However, often the main obstacle in the way of your health is the amount of money you can afford to spend on it.
Celebrities with perfect bodies can usually afford home gyms and personal trainers to keep them fit, and they have plenty of leisure time to spend exercising. Meanwhile, if you research nutritious recipes for a diet, they often contain obscure – and expensive – ingredients that you have to pick up from a health food shop.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can improve your diet and exercise routine without breaking the bank. In fact, there are some steps you can take that will boost your health and save you money at the same time. Here are our top tips for keeping fit while on a budget.
Eat your legumes
Many meals are based around meat as the main protein source, and a healthy salmon fillet or turkey steak is a great way to get this nutrient without a large helping of saturated fat. However, vegetarian options can provide you with just as much protein, and are often a lot cheaper.
For example, chickpeas, beans, lentils and other pulses are all cheap protein sources, whether you buy them dried in bulk or in cans. They’re also extremely versatile, as you can make soups, stews, curries, dips and many more dishes with them, or simply add them to a salad to make it more filling.
Vegetarian meat substitutes can also be a great idea. They’re usually much cheaper than meat, and contain less fat. Soya mince, for example – or a similar equivalent – contains around the same amount of protein as ground beef, but only about a third of the calories and barely any fat.
Stick to a home workout
Gyms are a great place to exercise, but a membership costs money. It’s not exactly cheap to buy a machine to use at home either. Luckily, you don’t need expensive equipment to have a good workout; you can manage with nothing more than your own bodyweight.
Exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges and burpees are all great for a workout, and they don’t require anything else besides your body. You can aim for a set number of repetitions, such as 20 of each, or just see how many you can do in a minute. There are plenty of bodyweight circuits you can do, and if you find that working out from home is the right option for you, you can invest in equipment later on.
If you’d rather stick to cardio exercise, why not take up running? You’ll need to be careful about where you do it – try to avoid narrow pavements near busy roads, for example – but it doesn’t cost anything to go for a run. You can usually find organised activities like park runs if you prefer to exercise with others.
Plan your meals
One of the best ways to make sure you’re not spending any more than you need to is to make a meal plan and stick to it. This is also a great way of staying healthy, as it stops you from shopping while you’re hungry. You’ll also know what you’re eating each night, which can remove some of the temptation to get a takeaway.
When you get time, look up some healthy recipes that are within your budget, and put them into a meal plan for a week. Then you can go out and buy everything you need for the week. This makes it more likely you will save money by not wasting food; if you’re buying a big bag of potatoes, for example, you can make sure they’ll all be used in your meal plan rather than half of them going rotten.