Far too often people to want to make healthy food choices but can’t because of their bank account. It can be hard to eat right while pinching pennies, but it’s not impossible.
Here are seven ways, tips and tricks to get your bank account to STFU and bring your abs out of hiding.
1. Have a heart-to-heart with your grocery list.
What you eat is 80-90% of thebattle, but eating healthy is a luxury of people who have much, much more in the way of money than the average broke college kid. While we may not get to be quite so fancy as they, with their organic, grass-fed, free-range special, special blah blah blah—you get the picture—we have opportunities like BOGO frozen fish, chicken, vegetables, fresh vegetables, beans, rice and all that jazz (and with some you get cool sh*t like gas points, yay).
Take advantage of things like Winn-Dixie cards and weekly catalogues and the like. My roommate last year planned a weeks worth of meals around Aldi and Winn-Dixie catalogues, and I never saw her spend over $20 unless she needed a non-grocery item.
2. Get around gym memberships.
There are gyms on campus, but you’re not always on campus. When you go home for the winter or summer, search around for gyms near you, and use every free-week-for-first-time-customers pass you can find.
Last winter, I used one such pass at a local, 24-hour gym. After a few days of chit chat with the owner, (it wasn’t a very busy gym) he offered to extend my free week trial for the entire duration of my winter break, absolutely no charge. That man was a saint.
Seek out others like him. A lot of locally owned gyms will make a deal with you if you can’t quite afford what they charge. (Right now I’m using a CrossFit gym for over 70% off—thanks to another God-sent man.)
Swallow that pride, and you can make a lot of things happen.
3. Get around gyms altogether.
If you’re not hungry to swallow your pride, or just don’t like gyms, you can avoid them altogether. Pretty much any physical activity you enjoy, you can use to get fit with. You don’t have to workout by anyone else’s definition.
Personally, you won’t catch me dead on a treadmill, unless someone has chained me to that rat-wheel-like torture device. The best workout plan is the one you’ll actually do.
4. People make a living out of fitness stuff, and they put it on the internet.
Just make sure you get credible information. Don’t listen to the dude in the size XS spandex shorts screaming at you to do six sets of 20 repetitions in anything. Look for anything from technique, to what the hell you should do when you walk in a gym, to diet if you’re picky about where you get your information.
5. Cans freaking rule.
They’re hella cheap, versatile, last forever and always go on sale. Last night, I made burrito bowls for less than ten bucks (sales on frozen chicken are dope), and now I have leftovers I can use in other dishes or for more burrito bowls because let’s be real, I’m kinda lazy. Get some canned black beans, corn, tomato, whatever else you want, throw some chicken and salsa on there, and you’re good to go.
6. You can put chicken and/or rice in almost anything.
They’re cheap, healthy (yes, even the carby rice) and make anything more filling. A big downfall in attempting to either lose weight or gain muscle is not eating enough, plus you can make these two taste pretty much however you want.
7. Don’t go kale crazy.
When kale became the king super food of all super foods? Why do people always now say that if you don’t eat it twice a day you’ll gain 15 pounds?
Don’t worry about extreme vegan, organic, paleo, fancy anything food rules, unless your belief in them is based in something other than peer pressure. You’ll likely be healthier and richer if you don’t. Love simple solutions, and you don’t have to be 100% perfect all the time.
Living cheap and living healthy are not mutually exclusive. See how far you can make your money go. Compete with a friend, or make a pact to stick to both your budget and your goals.