Why being healthy doesn’t have to be expensive

One question I’m asked a lot, especially now I’m vegan, is whether it is expensive to be plant based.  It’s funny really, as I was veggie for several years prior to going 100% plant based and no one ever questions if vegetarianism is more expensive, but as soon as you mention following a vegan diet most people will assume it’s a more expensive lifestyle.

In fact, many people think lea­ding a super healthy lifestyle is an expensive way to live and I often hear people comment on how ‘healthy’ food should be cheaper.  I’m not sure where they are shopping as the last time I went to the supermarket I managed to buy a banana for 12p, yet a chocolate bar was nearer to £1. Choose the banana and you might save pounds in more than one way!

Tips to save money when being healthy

Like anything, being healthy can be expensive, or it can be cheap and affordable – the same as most things in life.  In this blog post I am going to share some of the ways you can be healthy without being out-of-pocket.

Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables

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I believe it’s a common misconception that healthy foods are more expensive.  It’s often mentioned in media and I see it in comment threads on health articles and in forums where people keep saying ‘if you want us to eat healthier then make healthy food cheaper’.  Honestly, it already is.

Yes, organic food is at a premium and I totally think that is wrong.  We do buy organic in our household as I believe it’s an investment in our health, the planet and wildlife and I do agree organic produce is more expensive, sometimes five times more expensive.  I do think this is wrong and that organic food needs to become the norm and accessible to everyone.  So I do choose to make our own healthy food shops more expensive by choosing to buy organic.

But that doesn’t mean you have to.

Vegetables are actually super cheap

You can still buy non-organic fruit and vegetables that are still loaded with vitamins and minerals that you need.  Just wash them thoroughly and if you can, choose to buy the ‘dirty dozen’ organic and the rest non-organic.  Otherwise choose all non-organic if it’s what you can afford.  It’s still going to be much healthier for you to eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can, even if non-organic, compared to not buying them and eating a load of processed and pre-packaged food (which is still going to be non-organic anyway unless you’re choosing organic versions!).

Choose an organic veg box to cut costs

One way to get better value on organic fruit and veg and to ensure you get a good variety is to order a fruit and vegetable box each week.  These are usually picked from farms as local to you as possible and work out cheaper than buying the items individually.  Read my blog post the benefits of an organic fruit and vegetable box delivery for more information.

Non-organic vegetables, especially, are super cheap.  Over Christmas our local Tesco was selling big packs of veg such as a 2.5kg bag of potatoes or big bags of carrots for just 29p!  I believe most in-season fruit and vegetables (vegetables especially) are very cheap to buy and are especially cheap if you check out the offers.

Use cheap fresh vegetable to make the bulk of your meals

Make your foods using these fruit and vegetables as the main bulk of the meal and eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive.  If you start buying processed ‘healthy’ foods such as pre-packaged meals, dried fruit bars, meat alternatives and so on, then sure, eating healthy can start to add up.

Instead, keep it simple and stuff your diet full of as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to keep costs down.    Use vegetables as the bulk of your main meals instead of prepared food and sauces which are costly.  Snack on fruit instead of costly chocolate bars and crisps.

Get discounts on kitchen gadgets

Sure, there are also loads of expensive kitchen gadgets you can buy that promise to make you healthier , but don’t get carried away and buy a bunch of stuff that you’ll only use once and will then gather dust!  It’s always a good idea to buy a cheaper version of something to test if you will really use it lots, before investing in a big purchase.  If you don’t use it lots as expected then you haven’t spent a lot of money and you can always choose to pass it on or donate it.

If you do need to purchase equipment for your healthy journey then keep costs down by checking sales, for discount codes and online deals websites before making any purchases.  This way you can save money on health equipment, sports clothing and kitchen appliances to avoid paying the full cost.

Exercise for free

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Again, I will admit that we do pay for a local health club membership.  This is because we can afford to and decided we wanted to spend the money on the club.  We get so many benefits from the club as the children are members too and are able to go to their own exercise classes so Ben and I can have one hour to use the adult gym kid-free a few times in the week.  Plus we use the spa and I use the business lounge to work.

Go back even just a couple of years and there was no way we could afford to pay for a gym membership before I was working full-time.  This didn’t mean I couldn’t be healthy though and there were plenty of options for me to exercise for free that I did back then and still continue to also do today alongside using a gym.

If you can’t afford to use a gym, or don’t want to, then follow these tips to exercise for free:

  • Use the streets – go for a walk or run around your local neighbourhood for free!
  • Check out play-parks – lots of kids play-parks now have adult exercise equipment installed which can be used at no cost. Use it when you take your kids to the park to play!
  • Use your garden – if you have some outdoor space then get outside and use it! Perhaps the kids have a trampoline or skipping ropes – you can use them too and create your own workout.
  • Do online workouts – YouTube is full of amazing workout videos and channels with all sorts of routines you can do in the comfort of your own home at no extra cost to you, providing you already pay for an internet connection anyway.

Related:

How walking is a great way to stay healthy and active with your whole family

Tips to stay healthy when you work from home

How to stay active and exercise as a busy mum

Bonus tip

Another tip is to always remember to check for cashback too once you have found something you want to purchase, including health related purchases.  It amazes me how many people I know who still don’t use cashback sites.  It’s basically money back for all the things you already buy!  Sign up and always check for cashback at Top Cashback and Quidco for cashback at major retailers.  Or try your luck at Boom25 for a 1 in 25 chance of winning your entire spend back with many retailers and even when shopping on eBay.

Leading a healthy (and plant-based) lifestyle can be as expensive or as affordable as you need it to be!

 

What to read next

21 easy vegan sandwich filling ideas for lunchboxes (without soy or added sugar)

Top tips to get kids to eat healthy foods

Why everyone should eat organic food

The problem with refined sugar

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