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Published on June 15, 2018

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

It seems that healthy food far out prices the cheaper, faster, but much more health-destroying option. It can be really tempting to throw in the proverbial fork and think, ‘yes the drive thru is totally the easiest, cheapest and therefore best option’. But I beg to differ in that opinion.

Eating healthy on a budget is important because being your best self needn’t be the only thing you spend your money on. Gone are the days where eating healthy means that you can’t have a social life or travel. Now you can have it all; eating healthy and have spare money in order to enjoy the best things in your life.

In this article I’m going to show you how you can eat healthy on a budget so you can enjoy your body, energy and results of eating healthy whilst also having the funds to do all the other things you want like traveling and hanging with your friends.

Why eating healthy is important

Eating healthy is defined here as eating a balanced diet profile containing all three macronutrients and all the micronutrients. It has many benefits:

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  • Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer, allows your body to grow and repair and provides essential building blocks for hormones, neurotransmitters, enzyme and antibodies. By consuming adequate protein, your body with be satiated longer–therefore, needing to snack less frequently.[1]
  • Fat helps to support metabolism, cell signaling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. And by doing so eliminates cravings for fast, unhealthy foods that add up to a small fortune over the month.[2]
  • Carbohydrates help you get more lean, improve performance and/or lose weight.[3]They are a preliminary source of energy within the body – when they are broken down, they travel to the liver to replenish energy stores after which they enter the bloodstream and other cells of the body to allow for movement and concentration. Often consumed as vegetables, they can be cheap and high volume for their calories; therefore stimulating satiety quicker than their smaller, more calorific fast food options.
  • The macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) are the building blocks of your body. The micronutrients (driven from vegetables and a balanced, varied diet) are the cement holding the building together.[4]

If you’re anything like me and want to feel amazing on the inside, look great on the outside and be able to perform at your top capacity whilst remaining pain-free, eating healthy is essential.

If you want all of that and to still be able to enjoy your life, rather than simply living out of Tupperware for the foreseeable future, then doing so on a budget is the utmost tier of goal.

How to start eating healthy on a budget

Firstly, it’s important to make eating healthy on a budget a priority. I see so many people ‘fail’ when it comes to just eating healthy that adding another ‘string to that bow’ can over complicate into inaction. As I would say for anyone looking to make positive change, begin with a solid ‘why’. As Tony Robbins says,

“Find your why, find your way.”

In order to begin really committing to eating healthy on a budget, ask yourself why it’s important to you, how it will affect your life and what the benefits will be.

Once you’ve gained that clarity, I suggest looking at the points I’ve listed below and pick one or two to start with.

Eat Healthy without costing much

Figuratively and metaphorically food doesn’t have to cost a lot and doesn’t have to cost the health of the planet. Often the price of food is hiked up because of the great lengths that have gone to obtain it (think planes, agriculture, GMO, engineering, water consumption, transport, etc).

The great thing about the hacks I’m going to give you is that they won’t only help you to eat on a budget, but they’ll also have a positive impact upon Earth.

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Eating Healthy from your kitchen

This is my favorite place to start; as often when one is attempting to cut back on food spending, the first thing that goes is the ‘eating out’ part. When in actual fact we can make a big difference from our homes first.

By making these simple and easy choices first, you will see big impacts upon your spending at the weekly check out. Those extra pennies can be stored away for more outings with friends, travel or simply saving for your future.

Here are the ‘at-home-hacks’:

  • Eat slowly. Unless you’re a body builder aiming to gain weight, eating slowly will help you manage and maintain weight because you naturally eat slightly less. By taking upwards of 20 minutes to consume each meal will allow your body to notice when it is satiated rather than over-eating your budget.
  • Invest in a good foraging book or join a free foraging community group on Facebook. Foraging books such as Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers is my favorite. And forage away – I often will pick up bits and bobs (especially wild garlic in Spring) on my morning walks with my pooch to include into breakfast.
  • Make friends with your local farm shop, farmer or green grocer. The more you can connect with real people who have their hands in the ground, the more likely they will let you have the best, most fresh and abundant food available locally (i.e. anything that is over produced will be cheaper and if it’s local, there won’t be an included transportation costs). You can even pickle and preserve over-abundant food to store for later in the year when it is no longer in season.
  • Use up everything in your fridge before buying new produce. Save waste, consume everything you’ve bought – just keep an eye out for moldy stuff because you don’t want to get ill.
  • Go for walks and pick food from free plants because it’s nutritious and free. Just don’t pick the hallucinogenic type!

Eating healthy from a working kitchen

I won’t lie to you – I blooming love a good brunch. I actually feel that without an occasional brunch, I’m missing out on life. I love the act of going somewhere new, meeting friends and hanging out in cool spaces. So when it comes to eating healthy on a budget, this is one thing that I really struggle and don’t want to let go of. So I’m going to share with you now my mini-strategies I use when I go out to eat.

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Mini-eating-out-strategies:

  • Grab a light snack before you head out so that you’re not in a state of hanger and ordering a 3-course meal without realizing it until the bill smacks you in the face.
  • Go with friends and order together a few sides with the strategy to try to taste as many things as possible on the menu whilst spreading the price load between you.
  • Order a starter not a main. It’ll probably be big enough if you use that eating slowly tip I mentioned earlier.
  • Opt for tap water rather than expensive cocktails and lattes which quickly add up on your bill.

Make it work for you

Eating healthy on a budget is really about finding what works for you and keeping it simple. Try the above tips around food that you love – eat varied food that is available in abundance, use up all your left overs to make crazy tasty concoctions that’ll become signature dishes and enjoy your food with friends.

This is really what we all want with our food, at a basic level – to connect and enjoy. Just go do that as much as possible and you’re literally going to be doing all the things you need to do in order to eat healthy on a budget.

The Great Wall of China was not built in a day, and neither will your eating healthy on a budget habits. Conquer them one at a time, starting with the easiest. All the pennies add up!

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For more inspiration on budget and healthy recipes, check out this article: 40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] NL Perform: A Bit about Protein
[2] NL Perform: Fat and Health
[3] NL Perform: Carbohydrates for Weight Loss
[4] NL Perform: Going Deep – Nutrition – Part 3

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Camilla Dempster

A prenatal/postnatal expert who teaches women to ditch the binge/restrict/guilt cycle around their body, food and exercise.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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