Before you spend a fortune on fitness trackers, personal trainers, activewear, chia or supplements, follow these steps to getting healthy without breaking the bank. All you really need to get on the road to better health is a balanced diet and 30 minutes of exercise at least five times per week.
1. Drink water
Any beverage other than water – including bottled water – can quickly eat into your budget. Reduce your calorie consumption and save money by replacing your daily coffee, tea, energy drinks, flavoured milk and similar beverages with tap water.
Tap water is cheap in New Zealand at 2.5 cents per litre. Besides, it is excellent at flushing toxins out of your body and providing nourishment. And if you do want a bit of flavour, add a seasonal fruit or dash of any citrus juice.
2. Get more with bulk buying
Stock your kitchen cupboards with low cost eats by buying one or two staples each week. Your pantry will always be well stocked with healthy, affordable food and plenty of variety.
In your supermarket aisles, look for long-lasting foods such as brown rice, pasta, oats, tinned tuna, canned vegetables, etc. It may seem like a lot when you pay for the brown rice at the time, but in the long run you’ll get more bang for your buck.
3. Look at alternatives to the gym
It is not uncommon for people to get gym memberships but barely go to the gym. If you’ve got a membership to a gym that you purchased with big plans, but you’re not going, maybe it’s time to reconsider your exercise strategy.
Exercise doesn’t need to break the bank. Go for a run, enjoy a bike ride or easier still, pull out a yoga mat and exercise in the comfort of your living room. If you’re stuck for inspiration or need help on how to do a workout, hit YouTube. It offers plenty of workout options – free and available at your fingertips.
4. Buy seasonal produce
Make the most of New Zealand’s fresh and seasonal produce; it tastes great and can cost less. Follow this guide to find out which fruits and vegetables are available when.
Shop around for cheaper options. Look at your local farmers market; it often has fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits that pack in a lot of flavour and nutrition. Good news, they won’t cost an arm and a leg!
5. Use your freezer
The freezer could be the most underrated appliance in your kitchen. It’s ideal to store your favourite meals. Make a big batch when you have time and store in small, freezer friendly batches for use over time. Then when it’s one of those days when you don’t feel like cooking – just reheat and eat.
6. Try one meat-free day
Meat is a fantastic source of protein, which is an essential part of a balanced diet. But they’re not the only source. Beans and legumes are protein-rich too and won’t cost as much. So, why not make one day in the week meatless? Beans and legumes also have a number of other health benefits, including reducing cholesterol, decreasing blood sugar levels and increasing healthy gut bacteria.
7. Plan your menu
According to Love Food Hate Waste, a food waste lobby group, Kiwis throw out 122,547 tonnes of food each year! Makes you wonder, what’s the point in buying healthy food if it will be wasted in your pantry or in a corner of your fridge.
To avoid getting into this situation, we recommend planning your weekly meals and preparing a shopping list based on this meal plan. This will help you spend less and avoid wastage while staying on track with your healthy food plan.