A healthy lifestyle is something almost everyone aspires to. From eating good food to getting enough exercise to enjoying time with family, all of it can tie in together. But too often, we equate living a healthy life with spending more money. No one enjoys spending their money on food or rent. And clothes shopping may be fun, but paying for it almost never is.
So how can we strive to live healthy lifestyles, without breaking the bank? Here are some ways to minimize the impact on your wallet while changing a few things.
Choose Food Carefully
Buying organic produce and grass-fed meat isn’t always affordable, or necessary. Yes, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about pesticides or hormones in our food, or we’d be able to grow our own. But it in our military lifestyle, we need to know enough to make the smart choices, for our family and for our budget.
When looking at produce, try to budget in the cost of organic for a few items at a time. Anything that I’m peeling I don’t bother to buy organic, because I’m taking the outside off anyway. The “Dirty Dozen,” a list that includes the top produce items you should buy organic include things like strawberries, celery, tomatoes and grapes. These certainly follow along with my method of those you peel versus those you don’t.
As far as grass-fed or organic meat versus the regular stuff, this mostly comes down to money for me. There were times there wasn’t enough in the budget to do it, so we didn’t. But when we can, my first purchase is grass-fed ground beef. What I recently learned, however, is that this may not be the best option. Texas A&M recently completed a study that shows no difference in the health benefits of grass-fed cattle and grain-fed cattle. As far as organic meat, the label “organic” refers more to how the animals are treated than what they are fed. So if you can’t afford the grass-fed or organic meat, you’re not missing out on much, if anything.
Nutrition accounts for 75 percent of weight loss, as a general rule, but the benefits of exercise and fresh air cannot be discounted. For most military families, the idea of paying for a gym membership is probably outrageous. With basic facilities available on installations, most who choose to pay for a different membership do so for the benefits the offer, which may include fitness classes, childcare, or extended hours.
But walking outside can be just as beneficial as going to a class at the gym. For those with children, this can be done by walking to and from school, the playground, or around the track outside the gym while they play or practice sports nearby. Hiking, biking, and running are additional outside activities that are very affordable. (Sometimes when it becomes a hobby the equipment costs can add up, but that is not a requirement.)
While leading a healthy lifestyle is high on everyone’s lists, paying more to do so is not. So for those who want to focus on healthier lifestyle choices and keep within their budget, these ideas should get you started on the right path.Read comments