The food you eat significantly contributes to your body mass index (BMI), which is an overall measure of your body fat ratio. While exercise and portion control can help, the most important factor when it comes to weight loss and food is eating the right foods. Unfortunately, there is a common belief that eating well means spending your entire paycheck at the grocery store. The good news is that this simply isn’t true. Below, we will take a look at a few of the benefits of changing your diet, but first, here are a few tips on how to manage your nutrition on a budget.
Your first and most important priority when it comes to shopping well on a budget is to determine where to get the best deals. During the spring and summer, this will likely be your local farmers market. However, if you do not live near one of these local co-ops, it’s wise to stick with budget stores like Walmart. If you shop online, you can find Walmart coupons and cashback opportunities (ebates.com/walmart.com is one great way to get cash back) that can help you keep your budget under control. The retail giant also offers grocery delivery from many locations throughout the US, and the delivery fee was recently cut to $4.95. Shopping online, whether for shipping or direct delivery, is the best way to save you from impulse buys.
The Effects of Food
It’s well accepted that eating fewer calories and exercising is the best way to lose weight. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing Contributing Editor Eva Selhub, MD, the food you eat affects how you feel on a neural level. Part of this is because your intestinal tract produces a chemical called serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates, among other things, mood and appetite. Further, eating certain foods and taking a probiotic supplement, has been shown to reduce anxiety levels. Fortunately, probiotics are relatively inexpensive. If you’d rather not add an extra pill to your daily routine, you can pick up buttermilk, yogurt, and sauerkraut for less than five dollars each at most grocery stores. All three of these foods are proven powerful probiotics that can improve gut and overall health.
Losing weight can lower your risk of diabetes and other diseases. This can also improve your financial situation since you will be less likely to require more than routine medical care and preventative services. Once you establish healthy eating habits, your weight will likely stabilize, meaning you can get more use out of your wardrobe. The money you save on junk food, doctor visits, and clothing can be used to pursue other health-related endeavors, such as investing in top-notch hiking equipment or exercise gear.
Speaking of exercise, when you pay attention to your diet, you are more likely to want to engage in physical activities. If you don’t have the extra cash to hit the gym, there are many free ways to up your activity level. TheEveryGirl.com suggests clicking around YouTube for videos from personal trainers or practicing yoga from the comfort of your own home.
Still Not Convinced?
If you are still not convinced that you can eat well without blowing your budget, consider the actual cost of your current diet. By some estimates, eating poorly will run you more than $16,000 per year while eating like a fitness model will cost you less than half of that. To compare: a breakfast of donuts, a meat bagel, hash browns, and coffee is just under six dollars versus a breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, and fruit, which totals about a dollar. As you can see, the less expensive meal not only cost less but is also full of protein, whole grains, and fruit.
Remember, you aren’t saving anything — including yourself — but eating poorly. Changing your diet one meal at a time is the best thing you can do for yourself, and sticking to your new healthy menu will help you enjoy a lifetime of wellness.
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