Believe it or not, healthy eating on a budget is possible! Check out these tips for whipping your beach body into shape for summer vacation and beyond!
- Plan your meals
One tip for healthy eating on a budget is to plan meals in advance, which will help you curb food spending and stick to your diet. Set aside a few hours once or twice a week to pre-cook and package your meals. You’ll be a lot less tempted to buy food on the go or accept a last minute dinner invitation when you’ve got ready-made meals in your refrigerator. Check out this 31-day healthy meal plan to help get you started. Don’t forget to bring some nonperishable, in-between meal snacks to keep you on track while you’re out and about.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water (most experts recommend you drink about half of your body weight in ounces of water per day) is not only the key to great skin, boosted energy and countless other benefits, but it can also prevent you from mistaking your thirst for hunger and eating unnecessarily. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water in between meal times and try cutting back on high-fat and high-sugar foods so that you can better distinguish your thirst. Try spacing your meal times every 3-4 hours and if you get hungry within that time, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes to see if the hunger passes.
- Share meals at restaurants
Many of us assume that we’ll have to sacrifice eating out when we become more conscious of our eating habits, but really we just have to make an extra effort to moderate our eating. Restaurants are notorious for creating too-large portions, and it can be tempting to eat all of the food in front of you, even after you’re full. One way to avoid overeating at restaurants is to make sure you don’t arrive at dinner too hungry. We often overestimate our hunger and order too much food and then feel bad about wasting it. So we stuff ourselves instead. Eat a handful of nuts or munch on some fruit before your dinner date so you can approach the menu with a clear head. Control your portions by offering to share appetizers or an entrée. You can also ask the waitstaff for a to-go box with your food and box some of it right away so you’re not tempted to eat everything.
- Cut back on sugary drinks and alcohol
Despite studies that claim a glass of red wine is equivalent to an hour in the gym, you’ll see more results when you cut alcohol and soda out of your diet altogether, especially if you’re a regular drinker. The benefits don’t stop there though. You’ll also be more alert, have more energy and sleep better. You’ll also save money by avoiding long bar tabs. Try ordering a sparkling water with lime in between drinks so that you won’t be so tempted to over-imbibe.
- Use technology to hold you accountable
Maybe you lead a busy lifestyle, and it’s difficult to count calories on the go or keep track of what you ate and when. Thankfully, plenty of technology has been invented to help you stay accountable to your fitness goals. There are wearable devices like FitBit, which counts your daily steps and reminds you to be active throughout the day. There are also apps like MyFitnessPal which help monitor your calorie intake and exercise regime. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about changing your lifestyle on your own, check out these options to help you get started.
Now that you have some tips for healthy eating on a budget, don’t forget the counterpart to a healthy diet—exercise!