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Dieting and/or eating healthy foods have preoccupied the American psyche for more than two generations.
There have been enough books, newsletters and magazines devoted to this topic to deforest the Redwood National Park several times over.
Every day we hear the most recent revelations regarding the dangers of a high body mass index (BMI), the perils of consuming this fruit or that vegetable, and the inherent benefits of others.
The stream of information seems endless and conflicting views abound. Further complicating our lives are the very real costs of maintaining a healthy lifestyle … costs which extend to exercise.
Readers of MSE are, by definition, interested in saving money and although studies have shown that eating healthy is a more costly alternative, I have a few suggestions to mitigate that expense.
Organic foods can be a real budget buster. They are understandably more expensive because of the lengthy certification process and lower crop yields due to the absence of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The fact that organics are more expensive does not automatically make them more nutritious or even safer for your family.
For example, root crops like potatoes and carrots are going to be washed and peeled before they are consumed. This eliminates pesticides and residual chemical fertilizers. Many fruits meet the same criteria. Save your money and skip the organic version.
Meats, especially chicken and fish are less expensive if you do the butchering at home. It is less expensive to buy a whole chicken, for example. The same is usually true for fish. The whole is less expensive than the sum of its parts. When it comes to beef, pork or lamb, most of us haven’t the skills or storage capacity to deal with the “whole,” but buying a pork loin roast and slicing into boneless chops is an option we can all take advantage of. A prime rib roast can be reduced to several rib-eye steaks … you get the idea!
Buying local foods, in season, is a great way to eat healthier and reduce costs. Transportation costs are not a significant factor in locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats, so they usually sell for less than foods that are out of season or grown in distant locations.
A gym membership is a luxury we can do without. For the same price you would pay for a couple of months at the gym, you can buy exercise bands, a yoga mat and an exercise ball. There should be enough left over for a couple of good videos or books on the subject. Better yet, scour the web for free!
Many of the most effective exercises require no equipment! Push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, running, jogging and burpees will cost you nothing but your time. Gym memberships may be the right choice for some, but for most of us, they end up being underutilized or abandoned altogether.
A healthy lifestyle, which I believe we can all agree is a combination of proper diet and exercise, doesn’t require a big slice of your budget to be effectively accomplished.
H. D. Carver is an American who currently resides in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He has years of experience in the financial services sector and has served as a manager for Fidelity, as the vice president of a large regional bank, as the president of a financial services company, and as the Manager of Administrative Services and Support for the Aon Corporation. He has worked as a freelance writer for 4 years. Currently, he writes for Your Finances Simplified.