About 2 months ago I decided it was about time to wave bye to my fast-food friends and embrace the delicious and nutritious world of healthy living. I’ll admit that I am one of those victims of yo-yo dieting; the type that falls into the trap of diet fads and I rarely see any results. It took me a while to grasp what a lifestyle change really was. I had to agree that this was not to be just another temporary weight loss method for me. At first, it was really very difficult. Being a lady on the go means I don’t have much time to think about what I’m going to eat or what I could buy at the last minute as a healthy alternative. I started to get really unmotivated and even stressed. In between counting calories and avoiding certain foods, it became expensive and difficult because there was no real planning involved. I’d end up eating unhealthy just because it was convenient. I was falling victim again to the diet lifestyle and not my original goal. I found it much easier to find junk food than it was to find healthy snacks or meals.
Realizing this unfortunate truth, I knew I had to make changes to my approach. I took a moment to reassess this new journey I was on and decided I needed a new game plan. If I was really going to make this a lifestyle change then I needed to fit it into my lifestyle. You see, healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, trying to lose tons of weight to stay thin, or even depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible. Your goals can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics, expanding your range of healthy food choices and learning how to plan ahead to create and maintain a tasty, healthy and affordable diet!
Here are some tips to keep you on track and help you save some money while you’re at it.
Plan your meals in advance. Write it out; type it out, whatever floats your boat. This prevents you from stressing last-minute about what to eat. It also saves you tons of money if you cook your own meals. For example, a regular salad with protein can cost you anything from 6-12 dollars. If you buy your own produce and make your own lunches and meals, you can make 12 dollars go a long way. If you know you’re going to eat out, do some research on what you can eat, look at the menu online and pick out healthier choices or select a spot that you know has healthy meal options.
Switch to water! Always keep a bottle of water with you to refill as much as you want. Our bodies are made up of 90% water and most of the time we barely consume half of the suggested water intake replacing it with sugary soft drinks. Make it a habit of only drinking and ordering water with meals. Did you know that most of the time our bodies are actually thirsty and not hungry? Try drinking some water the next time you’re feeling hungry and see if it’s really food you need. You’ll save tons by switching and drinking water and you’ll see and feel the difference.
Keep emergency snacks. Ziplock bags and Tupperware will become your new best friend. This prevents you from running to the vending machine every time you’re feeling hungry. Fruits, nuts, yogurt and string cheeses make for great snacks and are cheaper if you buy in bulk. For example, I can buy a bag of almonds for 5 dollars and it’ll last me for about two weeks compared to buying a bag of chips or sugary pastries which could range from 1-3 dollars per purchase! Snacks that are high in fiber or protein also keep you filled up longer and prevent hunger. If you have a sweet tooth try making a big fruit salad and dividing it up into portions for 3-4 days. This will fulfill your sugar craving and keep you away from buying sweets during the week.
Exercise is free. Having a gym membership should not be a huge factor in your healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to shell out big bucks to burn some calories. You can go on long walks or take the stairs instead of jumping on the elevator or escalator. Go dancing with some friends. Do jumping jacks, crunches and other exercises that don’t need equipment in the comfort of your own living room. The whole point is to move and burn calories, and movement, lucky for us is absolutely for free.
Have some tips of your own? Feel free to post your own affordable & healthy living tips in the comment section.