4 Essentials to Stay Healthy on a Budget

One of the hardest parts of staying healthy in cities (or eating in cities, or, overall, surviving in a city) is, of course, the price! Eating healthy can particularly cost a pretty penny. The salad I like from Fresh & Co. around the corner from my midtown Manhattan office is $13 and I would personally rather not spend $65 a week for healthy lunches. So, I’ve found other ways to stay healthy. Other than overall better livelihood, my biggest incentive to eating healthy is that I genuinely have more energy and can focus better.

Staying healthy is so important to success, but so is saving. If you're a budget-watcher and/or health aware, these tips will be great for you!

Frozen Fruit

It took me a while to warm up (cold up?) to the idea of frozen fruit because it was hard to imagine something in the frozen section of the grocery store having the same nutritional benefits as fresh produce. However, after newer studies soothed my doubts, I took the plunge and haven’t ever looked back.

I use them in smoothies in the morning, which are a great way to get fruits and vegetables in before my day begins. Not only is frozen fruit less expensive than fresh, but you don’t run this risk of your fruit going bad, an all too real risk in conditions of humidity and cooking for one (enjoy it while you can!). 

I’ve included my favorite (very affordable!) smoothie recipes in my City Gir’s Survival Guide. Get your free copy below!

Chia Seeds

I originally got into chia seeds when reading the oh so inspirational Born to Run. I thought, “Hey, I bet that those amazing runners totally have chia seeds to thank. Why can’t they make me run, too?!” Turns out it there was a little more to it than that. But! While chia seeds didn’t magically turn me into a runner, I did figure out how to work the power of chia seeds into my life and I swear by them. They make me full and they are easy to add protein. Add them to yogurt, cereal, milk (for chia pudding), or even just water. They’re nearly tasteless but oh so powerful.

No Meat

This is a very personal choice, but cutting meat out of my diet has been a great change in my life. There are many reasons people chose to go vegetarian. Mine are health and environmental reasons. Cutting meat out alone is not necessarily going to boost your health. You can easily just turn to more pasta or pizza. But, if you’re careful about replacing meat with protein, it can be healthier and less expensive. I’ve stuck with an increase in eggs and fish. From this, I feel less tired, less full, and less lethargic. Plus, substituting veggies for meat when out to eat is nearly always less expensive.

No Coffee Shop Drinks

One of the more fun parts about transferring from student life to office life is that most of them have a Keurig. It really is the little things in life.

Keurig coffee doesn’t match up to Starbucks or many of the fabulous coffee shops urban jungles offer. But, those warm cups of yummy come at quite the cost. You’re looking at about $100 a month in coffee if you get it daily, and that’s only coffee (no lattes). $100 isn’t on its own actually that much. I’m a firm believer in selecting ways to treat yourself. So, if your daily Starbucks gets you going, I get it.

But! A big reason I refrain from coffee as a splurge is because the lack of daily coffee has also made me feel healthier and more energetic. This result will differ for everyone depending on how you react to caffeine. I personally prefer to drink tea with caffeine as I find it’s longer lasting and less jittery. Then, on the rare occasion that I do need that extra caffeine push, my coffee tolerance is down. One Keurig cup of the stuff makes me feel ready to move mountains.