Tips to a healthy lifestyle on a budget

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Rising costs and high inflation continue to take a toll on Maritimers’ wallets and their health.

According to Naturopathic Doctor Joyce Johnson, people don’t have to spend a lot of money to optimize their health, even during these uncertain times.

Johnson provides a number of tips on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle while sticking to your budget.

MEAL PLANNING

Johnson says the best tool to eating healthy on a budget is meal planning.

“Meal planning is making a grocery list of what you need, what’s on sale, there’s a lot of really great apps that you can put onto your phone that show all the sale flyers. So, you can get a little bit of a comparison and you can find what are your best prices, especially on things like dairy, and meat and protein,” she said during an interview with CTV Morning Live Atlantic Monday.

Johnson also suggests “shopping your pantry first.”

“So, go to your pantry before you go to the grocery store. See what some of the basics are that you have on-hand, what potatoes and starches you have. Do you have pasta? Do you have rice? These types of things. Look at your proteins, look at what’s sort of hiding in your [fridge] crisper,” she said.

Johnson said it’s also important to think about what leftovers can be turned into new meals.

PROTEIN REPLACEMENTS

The cost of certain meats are out of reach for some Maritimers. Johnson says there are lots of other options to make sure you are getting your fill of protein.

“When it comes to protein, for example, we know chicken breasts can be pretty expensive. Chicken thighs are still just as nutritious and they tend to be a little less expensive,” she said. “They still have things like iron, zinc and protein in there. The same as flank steak compared to strip loin.”

“You can get protein sources from eggs, also beans and lentils, and look to canned [items]. Canned tuna, canned salmon. These are other great sources.”

INCORPORATE VITAMINS, SUPPLEMENTS

Johnson says taking vitamins and supplements can also help fill a gap in someone’s nutritional intake.

As some can be quite expensive, she says Vitamin D and Omega-3 are the top two she would recommend.

“Vitamin D is pretty inexpensive when it comes to a vitamin. It has so many good important properties to it. Everything from bone building, it’s that sunshine vitamin, it can be important for supporting your immune system, helping to boost moods even for people that are afflicted or affected by seasonal affected disorder,” said Johnson.

“And Omega-3. So, this is one of those nutrients that the majority, a lot of people, are deficient in. They’re not getting enough Omega-3 from their diet. So, you’re looking at either a fish oil or a flax seed oil, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.”

BETTER SLEEP SCHEDULE

Johnson says getting a good night’s sleep is also important.

Some tips she provided to help include:

  • Take a hot bath before bed to help relax
  • Incorporate some deep abdominal breathing
  • Look for some guided sleep apps
  • Drop the phone time before bed

EXERCISE

Getting a form of exercise is also important when it comes to your health.

“Exercise doesn’t have to be super expensive. It doesn’t have to be a really expensive gym membership or classes,” said Johnson. “Whatever works in your budget. Things that you could do at home, there are thousands of free videos, different types of classes, even pick up yourself something easy like resistant bands. You can use these for a full-body workout. You can train every part of your body with something as simple as this.”

Johnson says there are also many different kinds of body weight exercises that cost nothing to achieve at home.

“I know sometimes the classes are a little bit extra motivation, but you know what, there’s a lot of free trials that you can look into as well. There’s options for you,” she said.

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