Tag Archives: Healthy lifestyle

Eating Healthy On A Budget

I want to bust the myth that eating healthy cannot be done affordably or on a budget. Perhaps much to your surprise (and against popular opinion), you do not need to spend your ‘whole paycheck’ in order to eat and maintain a healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, healthy food can be expensive and eating a healthy diet can and likely will require some sacrifices in your life, but it can be done on a budget and it truly can become a lifestyle for you and your family. 

Here are 10 tips to eat healthy on a budget

Buy in Bulk- Buying certain foods in bulk can save you a significant amount. Items like oats, rice, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans are all great options for buying in bulk. Simply keep them in airtight containers in your pantry and they will last several months. These food items are also great staples to have on hand and can be used for a variety of meals and recipes. If you are able to front load your grocery money, shopping at wholesale club stores like Sam’s Club and Costco is another great way to save money by buying in bulk. It takes money on the front end, but you will save in the long run especially if you focus on buying staples like olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, meat, and frozen fruit/vegetables. This is truly the way to go when buying staple items that get used up quickly. Buying these items at a conventional grocery store can sometimes be close to double the price than at a wholesale store.

Buy Online- One of my favorite online grocery retailers to shop and save money is Thrive Market. Think Whole Foods meets Costco. Thrive Market carries a variety of healthy pantry items along with other household, beauty, and pet products that are all clean, eco-friendly, and mostly organic. Thrive Market has their own brand of items if you want to get an even better deal. Thrive carries some of the EXACT same brands and items as Whole Foods for less. 

Eat Seasonally- Buying produce that is in season is a great way to save money while eating healthy. It is also a great way to enjoy the best of the season and support local farmers. Seasonal produce is not only cheaper, but it is at its peak for freshness offering better nutrients and taste. 

Maintain an Organized Refrigerator/Pantry- Knowing what you have can save you a lot of money and decrease food waste. Be sure to take inventory before heading to the grocery store so you don’t find yourself questioning if you have that item at home while standing in the grocery store just to find out you already have two at home. I think we’ve all done that before…Toss any expired foods before grocery shopping as well. Speaking of tossing expired foods, along with maintaining an organized refrigerator and pantry, knowing how to store food is also important. Take some time to educate yourself on how to store fresh produce and pantry items so that you aren’t wasting precious food and money. 

Coupon & Check Sales- Take some time and look through the paper for sales at your local grocery store. If you live near a Sprouts Farmers Market you can take advantage of their double ad Wednesdays where you can shop the sales from that week’s ad as well as the previous week’s ad. There are several grocery savings apps out there so no need to clip paper coupons if that isn’t your thing. Check out Ibotta, Checkout 51, Rakuten, and Coupons.com just to name a few. If I see a favorite pantry staple item such as Banza chickpea pasta on sale, I always take advantage of the sale and stock up on a few. This is a great way to save money in the long run and you’re always sure to have your favorite items on hand. 

Buy Off Brand- Nowadays the store brand is just as good as the name brand as far as quality but for a fraction of the cost. Try shopping at a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Aldi whose entire store is dedicated to their own brand. These stores have become very popular among those looking to cut down on their grocery bill. Most big box chain grocery stores also have their own brand that is more cost effective than the name brands. 

Meal Plan- One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money at the grocery store and on your monthly grocery bill is to meal plan. Going into the store with a game plan and a specific list of items needed will help you from buying unnecessary items or over buying. Speaking of grocery shopping….also avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry. Back to meal planning…I like to sit down one day a week (typically on the weekends) and plan my meals for the week. I use this time and take inventory of my refrigerator and pantry and figure out what items we need. I like to choose 4 meals per week to cook but that will depend on the size of your family, how much you eat out, and how often you want to cook. Once I decide my meals and I know what I have and don’t have, I make my very detailed grocery shopping list. I always like to meal plan BEFORE going to the store but some people like to shop the sales at the grocery store or shop at a farmers market and then plan their meals afterwards depending on what fresh items they purchased. This can be an effective technique but does take more of a knowledge of what to cook and what to pair together versus following more exact recipes. The main goal is to take some time to plan and know what you plan to cook so you don’t overbuy and waste and to ensure you are buying what you need and not adding extras to your cart and your grocery bill.

Know What/What Not to Buy Organic- While buying organic is a great thing to do, if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget it isn’t necessary to buy everything organic. There are some items that are more important than others to buy organic. EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen is a great place to start when determining what to buy organic and what can be purchased conventionally. Check out the lists here

Cut Down on Snack Foods- I think you’d be surprised at how expensive crackers, cookies, and other prepackaged foods are considering the low nutritional value they offer. By skipping out on the snack and junk foods, you can reallocate that money to fresh, whole foods that are better for you! Oftentimes, fresh, whole foods are just as affordable if not cheaper than prepackaged, processed foods but it takes a shift in our mentality. 

Go Meat Free Once a Week- No need to go full on vegetarian but opting to do a meat free meal once a week (maybe Meatless Monday) is one way to cut down on your grocery bill because meat can tend to be expensive, especially quality organic, grass-fed meat. This is also an effective way to expand your palette and cooking repertoire by trying other healthy foods and finding different protein sources from things like beans and lentils. You don’t have to sacrifice protein just because you eat meat free…I think you’d be surprised by the amount of yummy vegan/vegetarian options out there now. 

I hope these tips will help you the next time you step foot in the grocery store and empower you to reach for the healthy items while keeping some extra money in your pocket.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
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TWSM Fitness Tips For Beginners

Fitness Tips For Beginners

It’s a new day and you’ve decided it’s time to take back your life starting with your health. You are determined to exercise and get back into shape. You signed up for that online fitness program that you heard about on Instagram, got yourself a new pair of sneakers dropped off at your door from Prime, and you’re ready and raring to go! You’re super motivated day 1, 2, and even day 3 but then you begin to lose momentum and your body is tired! What do you do? How do you maintain the momentum and motivation to stick with your fitness and health goals? Here are 5 fitness tips for beginners to help you stay motivated. The goal is to keep you in the game for not just the first few days, but for the long haul. Because it’s about creating a lifestyle after all, right?!

Tip 1: Plan ahead! When we are beginning to implement new habits and routines whether fitness related or not, it’s important to minimise the excuses that could arise and derail us from our well intentioned goals. When it comes to exercise, I’ve found the best success for myself and my clients is to plan it. Literally schedule your workout. Put it on your calendar at work, your personal planner, whatever you need to do but SCHEDULE and PLAN it or else it won’t happen. And speaking of planning ahead- go ahead and set out your workout clothes the night before or pack your gym bag and put it in your car so you are ready to go and the excuse of not having your things together isn’t even an option.

Tip 2: Set realistic goals and start slow. Slow and steady wins the race. And this is precisely the approach and attitude you should have when it comes to your fitness regiment. There is nothing wrong with easing into your program and taking it slow or taking rest breaks as needed. Here’s the thing- if you go all out in your workouts and aren’t realistic about where your fitness level is at, you are setting yourself up to potentially burn out or injure yourself, setting you further back. Pushing too hard too fast isn’t going to get you to your goals faster, in fact it could actually do more harm than good. Remember- slow, steady, and CONSISTENCY is key! Set a goal that you can gradually work towards and track your progress such as running a 5K in a certain amount of time or doing a certain number of push-ups on your toes. Start with small, attainable goals and once you achieve those and feel stronger and more confident, you can add on to those goals.

Tip 3: Listen to your body. If you are new to working out or jumping back in after several months off, be mindful of your limitations. Experiencing some level of soreness is to be expected but don’t overdo it so much that you cannot walk the next day. Harder and faster is not necessarily better and won’t get you to your goals faster as mentioned in tip #2 above. Be sure to stay hydrated, cool down, stretch, and have an active recovery day to keep your muscles from getting too sore and fatigued. You have to be feeling good in order to stay consistent so listen to your body and take care so you can continue your program.

Tip 4: Find a buddy. Accountability is HUGE when it comes to maintaining consistency and motivation and truly making fitness and health a lifestyle. There is nothing like going through the suck with someone else right by your side. Find a group exercise class to attend or ask a co-worker or friend if they want to exercise together and be your workout buddy.

Tip 5: Know your ‘why’. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing is quite possibly THE most important component to making sustainable, lasting change. Take some time to sit down and write out or think about why you want to incorporate fitness into your life? Ask yourself these questions before embarking on your fitness and health journey.

  • Why is my health important to me?
  • Why do I want to be healthy and how do I want to feel?
  • How will my life be different with fitness and health incorporated?
  • How will I maintain this lifestyle and why do I want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Once you’ve thought through those questions, it will be so much easier to re-ignite yourself and get back on track if you fall off. Knowing our greater WHY and our purpose is key to maintaining and sustaining healthy lifestyle goals.

With these 5 tips in your back pocket along with your new sneakers and online program, you are primed for success- long-term success! Now, like the popular Nike motto says, ‘Just Do It’!

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, Founder

Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us @homebodysoul