Exercise and Diet
Many people have become more health conscious in recent years. By exercising and eating a healthy diet, we know we’ll live happier and longer lives. Unfortunately, processed foods tend to be cheaper than lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s due in part by government subsidies to farmers growing corn, soybean, and wheat, the main ingredients in processed foods, which keep those prices down.
You’re Busy, So How Do You Do it?
When you’re on a tight budget and always in a rush, it’s sometimes easier to hit a fast food restaurant or just microwave a frozen dinner– meals full of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. So how can you eat more healthfully? Here are a few tips:
- Slow down. Eating healthy requires a little time and attention. Many people rush through their days, wolfing down their meals mindlessly, so they can hurry to the next appointment. Give yourself a little time to shop mindfully, prepare your food, and fully savor your meal.
- Buy produce in season and freeze it. Fruits and vegetables cost more when they have to be shipped from far-away sunny lands that can still grow produce in November. Buy these items locally, in season, and freeze them for use in the winter.
- Start your own vegetable garden. You can easily grow lettuce and tomatoes in small planters on a balcony or, if you have a yard, stake out a few feet to grow even more. With Central Oregon’s climate, choosing the right vegetables and growing situation is very important. To learn more, read this Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service publication. Once you’ve decided, you’ll even get a little exercise while you do it.
- Buy in bulk. Many grocery stores offer dry goods in bulk, saving you the usual packaging costs. You can also save on meat by buying in larger quantities and rewrapping in smaller, meal-sized portions. Freeze those portions to use for weeks to come.
- Check your dining-out habit. If you eat at restaurants often, the habit is taking a big bite out of your wallet. On average, a restaurant meal costs almost 5 times more than a home-made meal. Save dining out for special occasions.