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Living Healthy on a Budget

Living Healthy on a Budget

Join us in celebrating National Nutrition Month! While nutrition should be a priority all year round, this occasion serves as a good reminder of how important it is to make informed food choices and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. This year, we would like to specifically focus on tips for those who are trying to live healthy on a budget. If you would like more information about nutrition, we urge you to call our Nutrition and Diabetes Center to see if you can benefit from meeting with a Community Care Nutritionist. Please call (518) 452-1337, opt. 1.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Create a game plan for grocery shopping

Getting your grocery list ready before your head to the store can help you stay organized, save money, and choose healthier foods. Planning your weekly meals before your get to the store will help you buy only the things you need, and you will make fewer shopping trips. You can also look for coupons and non-name brand items to save even more. Eating before you shop is always a good idea as you will be less likely to make impulse purchases while you're at the store.

Shop smart when you're at the store

Fruits and Vegetables When choosing fruits and vegetables, looks for what's in season as they are usually less expensive and at their peak flavor. You could also look for canned or frozen fruits and veggies to save money and you don't have to worry about them going bad as quickly as fresh produce. Just be sure to look for low- or no- sodium options when purchasing canned goods and choose frozen goods that don't have added sauces or butter.

Grains When choosing grains in the store, rice and pasta are budget-friendly options. Also, make sure half of your grains are whole grains by checking the food labels.

Proteins Purchasing your meats in family-sized or value packs are a great way to get more for your money. You can simply freeze what you don't need to use at a later time. Eggs are also a low-cost protein option that is easy to prepare. And don't forget that beans count as protein too and can be used in a variety of different ways!

Dairy Be sure to choose low-fat or fat-free options. Yogurt can be a great option when you buy a larger size of plain and adding your own flavors by mixing fruits in at home. When purchasing dairy, it is always important to check the sell by date to ensure you're getting the freshest products.

Physical Activity on a Budget

To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you also need to incorporate physical activity into your schedule. How much physical activity you need is dependent on your age. Adults (ages 18-64) should be doing at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level. Being active 5 or more hours each week can provide additional health benefits. Adults should also include strengthening exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and weight lifting throughout the week. Children and adolescents (ages 6-17) should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Children often have active bursts of time rather than sustained periods of time, and these short bursts can add up to meet their activity needs. The good news is there are many ways to reach these activity levels without having to spend money on a gym membership or buying expensive equipment for your home.

Walking Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of exercise – all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes! You can add walking to your day by walking your dog or with family/friends; walking during your breaks at work; walking indoors when the weather is bad.

Home Gym You can easily create a home gym without purchasing expensive equipment. You can use cans or bottles as weights or, depending on the exercise, use your own body weight. Use stairs and stools instead of weight benches or stepping machines. You could also look for used exercise equipment to save money. Fitness apps and DVDs are also a great way to get exercise ideas and support without spending too much.

Sports Try joining a local sports club or look for places offering free fitness classes. Many communities have public tennis and basketball courts. Swimming is also a great form of exercise – look for a public pool or a local lake that you can swim safely in. Hiking, biking and ice-skating are all excellent forms of exercise as well.

For more tips on keeping physically active, or if you have questions about what kind of activites are safe for you, please speak with your primary care practitioner (PCP). If you are in need of a PCP, we urge you to call Community Care's Patient Concierge who can match you with the right office. Call (518) 782-3800.



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