When it comes to staying healthy without spending a fortune, summer spoils us. We’re outside most of the time, playing games and staying active without even thinking about it, because we’re having so much fun. And a lot of the most popular fresh fruits and vegetables are at their lowest prices because they’re in season.
Of course, we all know what’s coming: WINTER
I hate to bring it up, but the calendar did just tick over into August, school is starting back up, and soon it will take more conscious effort to stay healthy. Luckily, we have all been through this before. And if you’re like me, you have a few tricks up your sleeve!
Here are some of my favorite tips for staying healthy through the winter without spending a fortune.
1. It’s Freezing Outside! Get Out there Anyway
Spending some time outdoors is essential, even in the winter. Researchers say that being outside improves mood and increases energy. Whether you opt for a 20-minute walk in the morning, or a snowy game of flag football in the park on Saturday, I know firsthand that incorporating some time outside pays off in spades.
In most climates, bundling up and picking your moment are enough to ensure you can spend at least an hour or two outside each week, even in the coldest months.
2. Question Loyalty
It’s easy to get attached to a gym or a cross-fit or yoga studio. But ask yourself if you are really happier at that location than you would be somewhere else. If the answer is no, you can save a lot of money by being a workout opportunist. Lots of businesses offer a free week of classes to newcomers, and there are always Groupon and Living Social deals for exercise.
If you live in one of the cities where it’s offered, the Passport to Prana is a great deal for yoga classes. Be up front with the business that you’re trying it out. Then, if you really love a class or a gym and you stick around, you’ll know you’re paying for something that’s worth it to you.
And if you truly are attached to your current gym or other exercise spot, ask if you can save money by paying ahead, or if you can have one-time access to any newcomer deal they might be offering. As my grandma used to say: Don’t ask, don’t get. So ask.
3. Eat in Season
There’s a reason that strawberries are exorbitantly expensive (and not very tasty) in November. You know this. So just stop buying them. This was a tough lesson for me, because I love certain foods, but is it really worth paying an arm and a leg for something that isn’t going to be that good anyway? Learning to eat in season is not only frugal, it’s fun. The Food Network guide is one of my favorite resources.
4. Eat In
Eating out is one of the biggest drains on the wallet, and is almost never good for your health. Luckily, winter meals are some of the easiest to make and the most share-able! I like to invite friends over for a casual meal of pizza or slimmed-down macaroni and cheese with a winter vegetable salad.
Cooking Light has a wide selection of easy recipes for those who aren’t that comfortable in the kitchen (and those who are!). They also have healthy versions of classic comfort foods.
5. Spend Time with Friends and Family
This one is most important of all. Being healthy is not just about eating right and exercising; it’s about being happy and feeling good about where you are in life. Family and friends will encourage you, help you get back on track, and give you a dose of honesty when you need it. Share your goals with them. There’s nothing more rewarding than having someone share in both your setbacks and your successes—and doing the same for them in return. So make sure you set aside time to be a good friend and to enjoy time with your family and friends.
Those are some of the ways I nurture my health and my wallet in the winter. What are your favorite tips for staying healthy without spending a fortune?