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12 Frugal Ways To Get Healthy in 2024

Hispanolistic / iStock.com

Hispanolistic / iStock.com

So often, the concepts of health and affordability do not go hand in hand. We’re not just talking about the soaring costs of healthcare coverage, but also the rising prices of healthy food. Processed foods, including junk food, are generally much cheaper than more nourishing options. Getting fit can also be pricey, with the average gym membership costing $40 to $70 a month.

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If you’re looking to get healthier in 2024 without breaking the bank, consider these expert tips on frugal ways to make it happen;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas” class=”link rapid-noclick-resp”>frugal ways to make it happen.

Drink Less Alcohol

Ditching or reducing alcohol intake will make your wallet and your body happy. “Not only will you save on calories and hangovers, but you will also save on inflated [bills] in restaurants, bars and liquor stores,” said Jonathan Valdez, registered dietitian nutritionist at E-Health Project.

“If you still want some, consider following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation,” Valdez said. “At most, one liquor serving is for women and two for men. One serving of alcohol is 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), five fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol).”

Cook Up a Storm

You may already have connected the dots that cooking is far more cost-effective than dining out, but making your own meals is also an empowering move for your health.

“When cooking at home, you have the power to choose high-quality, fresh ingredients,” said Dr. Gil Blander, founder and chief scientific officer at InsideTracker. “This enables you to make healthier meals by incorporating whole grains, lean proteins and a variety of fruits and vegetables without added preservatives or unhealthy additives.”

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Meal Plan and Prep

“Meal planning one to two weeks at a time allows you to purchase only what is needed, allows for better portion control and cuts down on eating out,” said Yelena Wheeler, registered dietitian nutritionist at NCHC.

To make cooking at home more manageable, prep and plan your meals on a regular basis.

Invest in an Instant Pot or Crockpot

To help you with meal prep and making more long-lasting dishes, purchase a crock pot or instant pot if you don’t already have one. It will cost you some money up front, of course, but it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

“These will be essential because they can cook a meal instantly, or when you return from work, you can have a meal ready with a crockpot,” Valdez said. “Or you can have that meal cooked overnight to be willing to consume it for breakfast and take it to work for lunch.”

Buy Frozen Foods

Frozen foods (namely produce) are generally far cheaper than fresh alternatives — and just as healthy.

“Purchasing frozen produce is also another way to reduce costs while also consuming foods at its peak freshness,” Wheeler said. “Oftentimes, produce is flash frozen at peak season and sold year round. Utilizing frozen produce is a great way to obtain nutrients year round, while also preventing food and money waste of spoiled produce.”

Know What Produce Is in Season

The prices of produce fluctuate, and are cheaper when they’re in season. “Knowing which produce is in season will save you money and will also promote consuming foods at its peak freshness, which allows for more and better nutrient intake,” Wheeler said.

Buy Ugly Fruits and Vegetables

We may be most tempted by the prettiest, most symmetrical fruits and veggies on display — but don’t be fooled. Less attractive produce is just as healthy and often marked down in price.

“Oftentimes, grocery stores only feature beautiful fruits and vegetables, but they often have a stand toward the back of the produce area of bruised fruits and vegetables,” said Blanca Garcia, registered dietitian and nutrition specialist at Healthcanal. “These are often grouped into mesh bags and sold for significantly lower prices. These items are still edible but maybe not the best looking. The fruits can be used in smoothies, and the vegetables can be used in soups.”

Walk or Bike Instead of Driving or Ubering

The cost of transportation can be high. Save money and get in better shape by walking and cycling to your destinations if you are physically able.

“These activities can help counteract the energy depletion often experienced after long flights or car rides,” said Blander. “Secondly, walking or cycling can help break up periods of sitting, which has been associated with improved health and longevity. Even short periods of these activities can lead to lower waist circumferences, blood pressure, triglycerides, blood glucose, insulin and higher HDL cholesterol levels.”

Additionally, walking and cycling can boost your energy and promote healthy aging.

Trade In the Gym Membership for the Great Outdoors

Weather conditions may not always enable you to do your workouts outside, but when the climate allows, this is a financially smart move.

“Free or inexpensive outdoor activities are a great way to obtain exercise while not stretching the budget,” Wheeler said. “It is a great way to breathe fresh air, improve cardiovascular health and obtain vitamin D from the sun.”

Do Rigorous House Chores Yourself

Cleaning your home can be a real drag, but guess what? It’s free and can actually help you burn calories and boost your mental health.

“Mowing the lawn, tending to the garden, vacuuming and mopping are all activities that burn calories and save money when you are not outsourcing those tasks to paid professionals,” Wheeler said. “It is also a great way to boost mental health. A sense of accomplishment when the home is orderly and clean can increase endorphins. Also, a clean home can decrease stress hormones such as cortisol, especially in women.”

Grow Your Own Food

“If you’re lucky enough to have some garden space, a balcony or even some planters in your home, you can grow all kinds of fresh veggies, fruits and herbs,” said Avery Zenker, registered dietitian, MAN at EverFlex Fitness.

Not only will this save you money, but it will encourage you to eat fresh because you’ll be motivated to use these homegrown foods before they go bad.

Sleep 8 Hours Every Night

Getting good sleep in is crucial for your health. And, wondrously, sleeping costs nothing.

“Sleeping better is arguably the most important step someone can take to improve their health,” said Cesar Sauza, registered dietitian nutritionist at EHPproject. “Improved sleep will pave the way to improve all other aspects of a lifestyle like nutrition, physical activity, and stress.’

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 12 Frugal Ways To Get Healthy in 2024

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