For the second year in a row, diet and exercise have topped the charts as the most common New Year’s resolution for Americans. But spending less money to save is not far behind. It takes time and effort to live healthy on a budget, but just like anything else, it becomes part of your everyday routine with constant practice. If living healthy on a budget is on your resolutions list this year, we’re here to give you a few tips to help you stay on top of your goals.
Eating Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthy does not mean that you need to break the bank, so we’re sharing some of our top tips to help you save on your groceries and make your resolutions to eat healthier more fun!
- Don’t Shop Hungry: We don’t know about you, but when we go to the grocery store with a growling tummy, we have already set ourselves up for failure. A hungry bear will eat anything that looks good—like sugary cereals and bags of potato chips that are high in sodium and fat. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is the number one thing we make sure not to do when trying to eat healthier on a budget.
- Meal Planning and Prep: Knowing what you are going to cook and how much of it you will need is key for saving money on food, which means you’ll need to take time to plan and prep a meal plan each week. For example, if you’re planning to take a salad to work with you each day for lunch, write down the ingredients you will need. After buying them, take some time to chop your veggies and cook your protein ahead of time for quicker assembly. Stick to your grocery list to help avoid buying grocery items that you will not end up using. You can cook in bulk to eat the same thing all week or use your leftovers to get creative with other dishes throughout the week.
- Treat Yourself to One Night Out—ONLY: Let’s say you eat out every night for an entire week and spend an average of $10.00 on each meal, that equates to $70.00 for the week. Dollars add up when you eat out; in fact, the average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out. And the truth is, if you set your mind to it, chances are you can make the same meal you purchase from a restaurant at home—for a third of the price! But people eat out for various reasons like socializing with friends or trying new restaurants. These are both great reasons to eat out in our book, but limiting your night out to once a week can help save you money and stay on top of your budget.
Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be boring, either. Creativity helps keep the fun in your cooking, especially when you’re trying to put a healthy spin on some of your favorite recipes. To help get your creative juices flowing, check out our recipe for Huevos Rancheros on Cornbread Waffles. This simple recipe uses our Kodiak Cakes Cornbread to boost the nutritional value with whole grains and protein—and the best part it is, each serving only costs $1.52!
Here is a closer look at the estimated cost breakdown for the ingredients used in our Huevos Rancheros on Cornbread Waffles:
1 box Kodiak Cakes Cornbread Mix – ($4.99)
1 ¾ cup water – (Free!)
3 Tbsp. oil or melted butter + extra for greasing – ($0.25)
1 [16 oz.] jar your favorite salsa *no sugar added – ($1.99)
1 [16 oz.] can low-sodium refried beans – ($0.99)
6 eggs – ($0.95)
Optional toppings: cilantro, pico de gallo, feta cheese, avocado slices
Cost per serving: $1.52 (This cost doesn’t include optional toppings)
How to Stay Fit on a Budget
At Kodiak Cakes, the first place we go to work out for free is outside. Whatever outside activity suits your fancy, exercising outdoors will give you a dose of fresh air and help you meet your recommended daily intake of Vitamin D.
Another easy way to stay fit on a budget, without a pricey gym membership, is by working up a sweat in the comfort of your own home. Here are a couple worthwhile investments to help you reach your fitness goals at home:
- Resistance Bands: Resistance bands are designed for any fitness level and will help you get the most out of your workouts, regardless of what your fitness goals may be. They can also be used for a number of things other than exercise, like rehabilitation or stretching. So if you are looking to buy one piece of exercise equipment that does it all, resistance bands are a great place to start.
- Dumbbell Set: Dumbbells are another worthwhile investment if you plan to workout at home. The weight you choose to buy depends on your experience and goals. If you’re trying to tone and maintain strength, five to eight pounds might be enough for you. If you aim to build muscle mass, you’ll want to invest in a lighter set, to help warm up your muscles and avoid injury, and a heavier set for your workout. You can often find an affordable set of dumbbells online.
While investing in some basic exercise equipment can seem like a big chunk of money at first, creating your own home gym will help you save money in the long run. Resistance bands and dumbbells are a great place to start, and you can think about purchasing other things like a yoga ball or kettlebell over time. Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to buy all your equipment at once. Try to get creative with your workouts by using milk cartons to add weight to your step-ups and lunges or fill up a few water bottles for your set of bicep curls. The stairs or an old jump rope are also great ways to get in some cardio.
Here is a great lower body and core workout by Kiwi & Carrot to help you get started on your home workout routine:
Living healthy on a budget is a whole lot easier when you have someone to support you along the way. Whether it’s someone saving along with you, or just someone who you can check in with once in a while, a lot of people do better when they have a buddy to hold them accountable. This could be a friend, family member, co-worker, or just someone you trust to help you reach your goals.
What are some of your favorite ways to live healthy on a budget? Share them with us on Instagram at @kodiakcakes!