Maintaining a healthy diet and workout routine on a budget

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:28 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Staying healthy on a tight budget can be complicated.

Often, the healthiest foods are the most expensive. However, Dr. Jennifer Derby with Sentara Timberway said is very possible.

“Being healthy on a budget is completely doable. We forget how cheap it can be. It actually can be cheaper than, say, going out to eat. Think: if you go to Chick Fil A, it’s going to cost you ten bucks for a meal,” she said.

Since healthy or pre-prepared foods are often more expensive, consider sticking with the basics. Make stew and sauces from scratch. Most of all, don’t fall for labels and marketing that make trick you into thinking one food is better than another.

“The marketing is out there, and they’re like ‘oh you need this super high cold pressed flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil.’ No, you need just your off-the-shelf olive oil,” Derby said.

Sarah Martin with Augusta Health suggests eating more plants and less meats.

“Meats are expensive to buy but you can get proteins from nuts, peanut butter, eggs, lentils, and milk products,” Martin said.

Martin suggests looking into apples, grapes, carrots and celery because they last the longest.

Since gym memberships are often the first thing cut from budgets when finances are tight, consider investing just a small amount of money each month to a home gym.

“If you’re spending $20 on weights, you can do the same thing and build your gym at home. Even if you have a few square feet, if you spend invest $20 in weights, then you have your own home gym,” Derby said.

Regardless, working with what you have is important. If you have lots of space to go for walks, take advantage of that. If you just have a small apartment, use that, too.

“It really depends on how much space you’ve got. Some people have wide open fields and they’re going to walk in a field. Some people are going to do it on the bed with body weight,” she said.

Derby suggests looking at workout videos on YouTube. It’s free, and you’ll likely find something you enjoy.

Martin with Augusta Health said walking is simple, but it has many benefits.

“Aerobic exercise such as walking is a wonderful way to get oxygen into your blood stream and increase the release of feel good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin to help promote happiness, positive self-esteem, improves sleep and stress relief,” Martin said.

Martin said to keep in mind household chores, playing with children or pets and walking across parking lots are all physical activity. She also suggests calling your insurance company because some offer deals on gym memberships.