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7 ways to get healthy on a budget

Here are a few ways to get fit without breaking the bank

A young woman chopping healthy food in the kitchen
A young woman chopping healthy food in the kitchen

Fitness trackers, superfoods, personal trainers, activewear, supplements – when did getting healthy become so expensive?

Before you start adding chia seeds, a Fitbit and compression tights to your shopping list, listen up! Despite the superfoods and fitness fads making waves across the country, all you really need to get healthy is a balanced diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

It takes careful planning and a bit of dedication, but everyone is capable of taking control of their health – no acai berries needed! Here are seven ways you can get fit and healthy without breaking the budget today.

1. Drink H20

Coffee, soft drink, juice, flavoured milk, bottled water, tea – you can easily blow your budget on drinks alone. Save calories and cash by replacing drinks throughout your day with tap water.

In addition to nourishing your cells and flushing out toxins, tap water is cheap as chips at only 1 cent per litre. If you’re looking for a flavour hit, add seasonal berries or a splash of citrus juice.

2. Buy in bulk

You don’t have to fill your kitchen cupboards to the brim in one go, but if you buy a staple or two each week, you’ll be able to build your pantry options and have a variety of cheap eats available.

Look for supermarket specials on bulk items that will last such as brown rice, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, oats, baked beans and tinned tuna. A big bag of brown rice is initially going to cost you more than a takeaway meal, but you’ll get more meals for your money in the long-term.

3. Ditch your gym membership

Research shows Australians are spending almost two billion dollars a year on gym memberships they barely use. If you’re paying a premium for a gym you hardly step into, it might be time to ditch your membership and look for a new way to workout.

Dust off your bike, lace up your joggers and lay out a yoga mat in your living room; exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing. With plenty of YouTube exercise videos and apps offering everything from yoga to run training and Tabata, there are a heap of free workout options at your fingertips.

Check out fitness expert Cassey Maynard’s tips and tricks for the best ways to get active – no gym membership required!

Credit: nib health insurance

4. Buy in season

When fruit and veggies are flown in from other countries, they’re understandably more expensive. That’s why it’s best to buy food that’s in season.

Visit your local farmers’ market for in-season produce that’s generally cheaper, fresher and packed with nutrients and flavour.
For a complete overview of the fruits and veggies that are at their peak at different times of the year, check out the Sustainable Table’s seasonal produce guide.

5. Make friends with your freezer

When it comes to kitchen appliances, your freezer wins the award for most underrated. When you have time, consider making a double or triple batch of your favourite freezer-friendly meals.

There will be days where the last thing you feel like doing is cooking, and if you have healthy meals at hand, you’ll be less likely to hit up the drive-through. Here are a few options to help you get started.

6. Go meat-free on Mondays

Protein-rich foods are an essential part of a balanced diet, but don’t be fooled into thinking the only way you can get protein is through meat. Beans and legumes are high in nutrients and low in cost, so why not give Meatless Monday a try?

In addition to being a great meat replacement, beans and legumes can also help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels and increase healthy gut bacteria.

7. Map out your menu

According to nib foundation partner OzHarvest, one in five shopping bags ends up in the bin which equates to $3,800 worth of groceries per household every year. There’s no point buying a bunch of healthy food if it just ends up wilting and mouldy in the bottom of your crisper.

Before you hit the shops, spend some time creating a meal plan for the week ahead. By carrying a shopping list and sticking to it, you’ll spend less money and stay on track with your healthy meal plan.

For plenty of delicious and nutritious food ideas, head to the recipes section of The Check Up.

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