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Healthy eating on a budget

One of the most common things I hear from people is that they can not afford to eat healthy or start a fitness regime. And with this I will ask them to create a quick spreadsheet of their income and expenses to find out where they are allocating

their money. More often than not, a big chunk of funds are going to groceries, fast food, restaurants, coffee shops and weekend entertainment.

One of the main things you need to keep in mind is that your body and your health need to be a top priority and you need to think of your wellness as an investment.

If you made simple changes throughout your daily routine you would be surprised on how quickly you can reallocate funds. For example - make your coffee at home before you head to work. This alone can save you upwards of $20-40 a week depending on where you get your coffee.

Here are some other tips that can help you build up that bank account:

1) Meal Prep

Yes 'meal prepping' might seem like a time consuming pain, but in reality it can be done once or twice a week and will only take an hour or two. You can do it as you watch TV, listen to music, chat with your family, etc.

Once it's complete you'll have all your meals and snacks ready to grab and go so that you don't need to stop and 'grab a quick bite', saving you $10-$30 and a bunch of extra calories.

You can prep easy things like cut up vegetables, baked sweet potatoes and veggies, salads and protein.

*Tip: Keep a couple protein bars and single serve packages of high quality meal replacement protein powder in your vehicle and desk drawer so that they're readily available when needed. If you need a high quality, nutritionally packed shake then give me a shout for my top recommendations. This meal replacement works out to be $2.00 for your meal and will keep you full until you're next break.

2) Eat More Veggies

Pound for pound, organically grown meat is many times more costly than organically grown veggies. As such, this cost difference means we often go without meat and opt for more plant-based meals.

3) Discount Shopping

Check when your local grocery stores are offering their 'discount shopping days'. These days generally occur once a month and offer around 15% off, including items that are already on sale.

You can also get a membership at your local bulk shopping store, such as Costco. A lot of items can be frozen so they don't go bad. I buy the jumbo bags of spinach and freeze it to use in soups, smoothies and sautés. Frozen fruit can be used for smoothies, parfaits, homemade jams and preserves.

4) Homegrown

If you have the available space (even a planters box on your balcony) then it may be time to test your green-thumb and try growing your owns veggies, herbs and fruits.

If you do not have space then check your local community garden.

No green-thumb? Check your local farmers to buy their produce, meats and eggs or head to the farmers market on the weekend to see what is available.

If you opt in for eating meat and have family near you or some friends who want to split with you then go in together on bulk orders and contact your local farmer/butcher to purchase a quarter or calf cow.

5) Drink tap water

Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times. At home/work you can purchase a Brita if you do not like tap. This will save you from wasting money on bottled water, juice and soda. It will also save your waist line since you won't be ingesting all those empty calories and sugars.

6) Supplement

Obviously a completely whole foods diet is preferred but sometimes you just need something to make life a little easier. Check the clearance section of www.supplementsource.ca and www.bodybuilding.com to see if they have Omega/fish oil, multivitamins, protein bars, protein powder and other snacks on clearance. Also, sign up for their emails since they will normally alert you of extra deals and free shipping days.

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