Does a healthy lifestyle REALLY have to be that expensive (Part 1)?



It is often thought that a healthy lifestyle costs too much however, this is not the case. The purpose of this blog is to highlight areas of our lifestyle where can get lots of benefit but without it costing a fortune. The first part of this blog will focus on our food and diet and the second part will focus on exercise and how we can relax.


So what is a healthy, balanced diet? In terms of our food and drink choices, there are lots of cheaper, nutritious as well as delicious ingredients that we can include as part of a healthy, balanced diet. No single food contains all the nutrients that we need, therefore it is really important to eat a wide variety of foods so that we can make sure we are consuming a healthy diet. In the UK, to ensure we get a balanced meal, we can use the Eat Well Guide.



Consuming a healthy diet provides us with a number of benefits including:

• Provide energy to stay active throughout the day

• Help our bodies grow so that we can stay strong

• Maintain a strong immune system

• Achieve a healthy weight

• Reduce our risk of developing certain medical conditions such as strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure

If terms of food choices, there are lots of simple swaps we can make;

Carbohydrate (Yellow section)

• Oats are a very cheap and very versatile ingredient that can be used to make a range of meals such as porridge for breakfast as well as energy bars to take with you as a snack

• For things like bread, rice and pasta consider switching from the branded versions to basic or supermarket own, there is usually very little difference in taste but can be a great way to save money


Fruit and Vegetables

• Choosing fruit and vegetables on a seasonal basis can make them a lot cheaper. To see what is in season at various points of the year, visit https://stopfoodwaste.ie/resources/planning-shopping/seasonal-calendar-planning-shopping

• Using other forms of fruit and vegetables such as frozen, tinned or dried can be a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake as well as reducing food waste and cost


Dairy

• If on offer, freeze dairy products such as milk until required to save money

• Natural yoghurt is a low cost ingredient that can be added to create your own sauces to be used with curries and pasta dishes or as a snack with some fruit.


Protein

• Adding other vegetarian sources of protein to meals such as beans and lentils are a cheap way to bulk out meals and counts towards your 5 a day

• Tinned fish, eggs, beans and lentils are great sources of protein that can be bought at low cost, particularly when bought in bulk


Other tips for our food choices include:

• In the supermarket, look for cheaper cuts of meat can help save money; look above, behind and below the shelves. You can usually find cheaper cuts of meat that are just as good quality and may have a longer use by date.

• Register with supermarket reward schemes and use any coupons to save money

• At the start of the week, plan your meals for the week ahead – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks as well as drinks so you know what you are going to have and when

• From your weekly meal plan, create a shopping list. If you have a list with you, you are more likely to stick to it.

• Look for supermarket versions of products, they taste just as good but are often much cheaper





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