How To Live a Fit and Healthy Life On A Budget

It’s time to refocus on fitness goals. It’s always fun to try new workout classes, state-of-the-art fitness equipment and fresh recipes featuring the latest superfood. But it can be a balancing act between being adventurous and staying within your budget.

With the rising cost of personal trainers and fresh water salmon, some diet plans and exercise regimens just aren’t practical. Is it possible to live a healthy and happy life without spending too much money, time and effort?

The answer is…DEFINITELY, YES! And today, I’ll show you 4 ways to get started.

If you live in the Boston area, check out the recently-opened Daily Table, a new grocery store concept launched by Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s. Daily Table receives donated surplus food from grocery wholesalers and markets and sells it at greatly reduced costs. A recent sampling included two for $1 canned vegetables, a dozen eggs for 99 cents, potatoes for $.49 per pound and bananas for $.29 per pound.

1. Dedicate A Corner To Fitness

When it comes to increasing your activity level, you don’t need a gym or fancy equipment. Keep moving by taking small exercise breaks during your normal daily routine. Keep workout equipment underneath your bed or desk. Nothing fancy…nothing big, nothing too expensive…just a few pieces of equipment such as kettlebells, a resistance tube, a step, mat and a ball.

When you have an area of your home dedicated to small pieces of fitness equipment that are on display, you have a constant reminder that they’re right there, ready to go. And that makes it even easier for YOU to be ready to go, too.

2. Dance In The Kitchen

If you dread it, you won’t do it. Instead of joining a gym because it has cardio equipment that you won’t use, take a walk or hike with friends. Choose movement that aligns with your personality. If you enjoy listening to music and moving with the groove, then crank up your favorite playlist and dance in your kitchen!

3. Use Your Sundays Wisely

Investing time into planning your weekly menu pays off with savings at the grocery store – no impulse buys! Stock your pantry with healthy fare and use Sundays as your food-planning day for the week. Prepare chicken breasts, mason jar salads or soups that can be frozen and pulled out later in the week for healthy and easy on-the-go options. A week of nutritious meals will boost your energy and motivate you to keep working toward your fitness goals. Remember to shoot for 5-9 daily servings of daily vegetables, and eat all colors of the rainbow to incorporate a variety of nutrients.

Mason jar salads are all over Pinterest these day. The dressing-on-the-bottom approach ensures that your veggies stay crunchy and fresh until the second you’re ready to enjoy your meal. Simply flip over the jar, and your dressing will drizzle on top. Start with this recipe:

Mason Jar Salad

Delicious Quinoa Mason Jar Salad

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/3 C. zucchini
1/3 C. red peppers
1/4 C. peas
1/4 C. radishes
1/3 C. cooked quinoa
1/2 C. spinach

In the bottom of the mason jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and honey. Mix together until the oil and vinegar combine. Layer in zucchini, red peppers, peas, radishes, quinoa and spinach.

4. Use your blender

Kathy Smith Protein ShakeA simple way to whip up a quick, inexpensive and nutritious meal is to blend a fruit and vegetable smoothie with my NEW Kathy Smith Protein Shake! Between spinach, blueberries, celery, and array of fruits and vegetables, you can create your own signature blends that are filling and nutritious. Buy vegetables in bulk for maximum cost savings.

There are a few steps to create your protein shake. First of all, choose your base (8 oz) of either:

• Unsweetened coconut milk
• Unsweetened cashew milk
• Unsweetened almond milk
• Unsweetened green tea

Then, choose your form of fiber and omegas (1-2 Tbsp) of either:

• Chia seeds
• Hemp seeds
• Freshly ground flaxseeds

And next, the most important part…choose your protein (1 serving of either):

• Whey (vanilla or chocolate)
• Pea (vanilla or chocolate)
• Paleo made from beef (vanilla or chocolate)

And finally, choose your flavor from any of the following:

• 1/2 C. mixed berries
• 1 C. mixed greens

Remember, when you prepare you meals, you control what goes into them! This allows you to make the best food choices for YOU.

5. Heathy Foods For Under $1

From Greatist
Note: Prices under $1 are based on units per serving and are followed by national average retail price. Pricing is approximate and will vary by brand and location.

Price: $0.30 per cup, $5 per melon
This feisty superfood might have Viagra-like effects, but it’s guaranteed to be packed with vitamin C, a cancer-fighting antioxidant that helps strengthen immunity and promote bone health. Slice and enjoy (or make these simple watermelon popsicles).

Canned Tomatoes
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $1.80 per 14.8-ounce can
Tomatoes retain exceptional amounts of the antioxidant lycopene even after cooking and canning. Canned tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces and stews, but be on the lookout for cans with no added sodium or sugar (and that are preferably BPA-free).

Price: $0.19 per egg, $3.50 per dozen
When in need of some protein, eggs are a quick fix. Scramble with veggies, add to a crepe, or make a frittata.

Chicken Breasts
Price: $0.75 for 4-ounces, $2.99 per pound
Forgo fast-food nuggets: A small, fresh chicken breast is cheaper and filled with healthy, lean protein. Make your own gyro with tzatziki or try any of these other nonboring ideas.

Garbanzo Beans
Price: $0.30 per 1/2 cup, $3 per can
These little beans (also known as chickpeas) pack a serious amount of fiber. Roast them with olive oil and your favorite spices (think: cumin, paprika, or curry powder) to use as a crouton replacement or blend into DIY hummus.

Price: $1 per pound (in bulk)
Oats are high in fiber, low in fat, and may even help lower cholesterol. You probably already know about oatmeal, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with one of these overnight oats recipes instead.

Cottage Cheese
Price: $1 per 1/2 cup, $5.50 per 16-ounce container
This clumpy, mild cheese is surprisingly high in protein, and tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. Like yogurt, cottage cheese typically comes in full-fat, low-fat, and fat-free varieties, so choose whichever fits best into your diet. Try it topped with sliced pineapple and berries or make it savory in a creamy pasta sauce.

Price: $0.35 each, $1 per pound
These magenta gems are filled with betalains, an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases. They are also packed with folate, fiber, and vitamins galore—making them one of the best health bargains around. Roast with olive oil for salads or as a side dish, or add to a smoothie.

Sweet Potatoes
Price: $0.50 each, $1 per pound
Try this healthy alternative in place of a bread slice the next time you’re whipping up an avocado-on-toast recipe. Sweet potatoes have high levels of vitamin A and calcium, plus they’re lower in carbohydrates than their white counterparts (just in case you’re counting). Studies also show the root veggie has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic activities.

Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $3 per 10-ounce frozen package
Skip the chips and enjoy edamame steamed with a touch of salt. These bite-size legumes are filled with fiber and protein, which make for a great afternoon snack.

Here’s to your health!