5 Simple Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

4 Low-cost Exercise Ideas to Help You Stay Fit This Summer

Low-cost exercise? Yes, please! Warming temperatures and longer days are reminding us of our upcoming summer vacations and those holiday pounds we’re yet to shed. And it turns out, a healthy and active lifestyle isn’t just good for your body, it’s also good for your wallet.

A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you avoid health problems down the line and keep your medical costs low. Contrary to popular belief, staying fit doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, the right workout can even be fun!

Here are our favorite low-cost exercise adventures near our headquarters in Santa Monica and our first launch country, Vietnam. Hopefully, these ideas inspire you to find fun, affordable ways to stay fit this summer and beyond, wherever you live!

  1. Bike the Strand.

It doesn’t get more West Coast than the Strand bike path. Beginning at Will Rogers State Park in Santa Monica, the Strand offers cyclists a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean while they traverse up to Torrance State Beach, passing sights like Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach along the way. Bike rentals are available at different locations along the path. At 40-miles round trip, it’s the perfect all-day workout, and you won’t feel guilty when you stop for ice cream along the way!

  1. Explore the outdoors.

Hiking is a great way to stay fit while also taking in gorgeous sights. Filled with lush jungles, sprawling countrysides and gorgeous mountain ranges, Vietnam is a paradise for people who love the outdoors. Located in the Northwest region of the country, Sapa is considered one of the best treks in Vietnam. Sapa is home to Mt. Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam, and the area is home to several ethnic minorities who will help you discover a side of Vietnam that tourists rarely see. Cao Bang is another popular hike that offers gorgeous rivers, mountains and jungles to admire. Stop by the nearby Ban Gloc waterfall on the border with China to cool off from the humidity.

  1. Try stand up paddle boarding.

If you’re not a strong swimmer, stand up paddle boarding might be the sport for you. It’s low-impact compared to surfing, but it has the same benefits when it comes to improving your balance and giving you a full body workout. Once you get the hang of it, you can relax and enjoy the ocean views. Stand up paddle board lessons are often offered at popular beach destinations around the world and are especially popular in California and Hawaii.

  1. Stroll through urban landscapes.

Big cities are great for walking and offer plenty of historic sites If you’re visiting a new locale, try booking a walking tour to get familiar with the city and meet other travelers. In Vietnam’s two largest cities, Ho Chi Minh City (a.k.a. Saigon) and Hanoi, a variety of free guided walking tours are offered. If you opt for a street food tour, you can burn off the extra calories while you walk! In Los Angeles, you can find several staircases to help you break a sweat, such as the Culver City Stairs near Santa Monica, the Murphy Ranch stairs in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Monica Stairs which overlook the Pacific Ocean.

But remember, exercise is only half the battle! To complement these low-cost exercise ideas, next month we’ll share tips for maintaining a healthy diet without spending a fortune. Stay tuned!