How eating healthier & getting active can actually save you money

You can actually get healthier, burn more calories and save money by walking more and starting a healthier eating plan. Walking is a healthy, easy and essentially free activity that’s a great way to pass the time and burn calories effectively. Eating healthier can actually be cheaper with the right planning, and it helps save calories that you’d otherwise have to burn off through walking. These 6 tips will help you get your 10,000 steps, eat better and save some money at the same time.

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How Walking Can Save You Money

We all want to get healthy. Most people in modern society could stand to eat more fresh food, exercise more often, and we would all enjoy feeling a little healthier from head to toe.

Get Your Workout by Walking

Woman going for a fitness walk in the countryside
Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

All you need to start a walking (or jogging) routine is a good pair of shoes. While joining a gym or signing up for fitness classes can be beneficial for many people, you can achieve most of the same results by using bodyweight strength workouts and intense, fitness walking. Power-walking, walking hills and walking up and down stairs are all great ways to increase your calories burned by walking, get your heart rate up and increase your body’s overall health and strength.

One of the main reasons why fitness classes are effective in making you sweat is that they usually get you moving in a varied and interesting way for longer than you might work out on your own. Think of a dance class or cardio boxing. You can replicate that same feeling by mixing up your walks and challenging yourself to walk longer.

A side affect of walking or running frequently is that you may want to eat lighter so that you don’t feel bloated or weighed down during your exercise. Keep up your routine and you’ll start losing stubborn belly fat just as fast as you might at a gym. With a little gadget-assistance like Pacer, you can track your progress and make healthy exercise plans easily without the hassle or expense of a gym.

Exercise Instead of Morning Coffee

Woman tying shoes and getting ready to walk
bbernard / Shutterstock

10 minutes of moderate walking gives the same energy boost as half a cup of coffee! Starting your day with a brisk, 15-minute morning walk is cheaper and healthier than grabbing a coffee on the way to work. You can also do a quick at-home cardio workout instead to get some exercise in the morning. Start with something easy like squats or kicks or running in place; just enough to get your blood pumping. You might be surprised how energized and awake you feel after a few minutes of morning exercise.

You can use this energy-boosting effect later in the day by taking a short walk when you would be tempted to grab a coffee. You’ll also save the calories from milk, sugar, and syrups and actually burn calories instead. Your head will be clearer, your body energized for the day, and your stomach more ready to eat than if you’d started with a cup of coffee. 

If you’re tempted to hit the vending machine and grab a snack or a soda, skip the soda and take a short walk instead. Often you’re just looking for an energy boost, and walking is better for you than a sugary, carb-filled snack.

Walking as a Free Activity

Family hiking together near lake
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

You can walk anywhere, any time. Try coming up with unique, interesting places to walk in your free time in place of other activities and you’ll save money while burning calories. Get outdoors and take a walk through a scenic park or go for a hike instead of going shopping. Alternatively, find a fun, free indoor walking location like a public library or art museum.

A great way to keep yourself entertained is by passing the time listening to audiobooks, or for a free option listening to podcasts. With a little creativity, you can spend an entire day on the weekend walking and enjoying yourself without having to pay for much of anything.

How Eating Better Can Help You Save Money

Make your own snacks instead of buying them

chocolate mint smoothie protein shake
Neat Nutrition

Making your own snacks, smoothies and other items instead of buying them can save you money and also save you calories because you know exactly what you’re putting into them.

If you’re into smoothies, they’re both expensive and often extremely high in calories. Many smoothie shops charge a huge markup, and add sugary juices, ice and syrup to create more of a milkshake or dessert than a fruit drink. Most fruits are actually fairly cheap if you buy them fresh. Instead of drinking smoothies to get your fruit, buy fresh fruit yourself and eat (or blend) them into your own healthier versions of smoothies. Or, just take a banana with you to eat as a quick snack. Frozen bananas also make a great smoothie base for do-it-yourself blends.

With a little searching online and some trial and error, you can make your own energy bars, yogurt parfaits, and other tasty snacks that are cheaper and lower in calories and sugar than what you’d buy at a restaurant or supermarket. Here are some great under 100-calorie snack ideas you can start with.

Cook at home instead of eating out

Family cooking a meal at home on the stove
George Rudy / Shutterstock

In addition to being more expensive than home-cooked meals, restaurant food is often served in gigantic oversized portions and full of extra salt, oil, and sugar to make dishes tastier. Even “healthy” salads may actually contain hundreds of calories of salad dressing and toppings.

Fortunately, you can cook inexpensive, tasty meals at home that both save you calories and save you money. Learn to cook your restaurant favorites or nostalgic recipes at home with light seasoning and lean substitutions. With fresh ingredients and a clear understanding of what is and is not healthy in a meal, you can significantly lower your restaurant (and overall food) costs while trimming extra calories and stacking up your healthy nutrients.

Create a snack-free nighttime routine

Woman walking on the roadside in the evening
Rido / Shutterstock

Night time is where many healthy eating plans fall off the rails. After eating a large dinner, it’s easy to slump down on the couch, watch TV and reach for sugary snacks. Instead, start an after-dinner walking routine that gets you active and encourages eating a lighter dinner.

You should also put a bit more work into optimizing how you actually fall asleep. Do you need a cup of tea, a luxurious bath, a rented movie to wind down? If you’re spending on bedtime supplies, there’s a chance your bedtime could be more efficient for sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every day, and start building a pre-sleep routine that helps your mind prepare for sleep. Turn down the house temperature, then take a hot bath or shower. Enjoy that one cup of chamomile tea and a little light reading, or meditate in your bed until you sleep.

Not only will you sleep better with such a routine (making it easier to start a calorie-burning morning walking routine), but you’ll be less likely to eat a bunch of unhealthy snacks as well.

Final thoughts

It is more than possible to boost your health and save money at the same time. No need to splurge on expensive premade health foods or gym memberships when you’ve got walking shoes and fresh groceries at home. For more great insights on personal health or to get started with the Pacer App’s many lifestyle supporting features, contact us today!

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