First Coast News already gave you some tips on how to save money on fitness before the New Years' resolution crowd starts filling up the gym.
But half, if not more, of the effort toward better health and fitness, is your diet.
And there’s a common misconception that eating healthy is more expensive than eating fast food, or so-called junk food. That's not always the case.
“You’ve got to recognize the real cost of being unhealthy, because when you realize that it makes it a little easier to spend money on healthy food,” said Jared Graybeal, fitness coach and CEO of meal prep company Superfit Food in Jacksonville Beach.
In the long term, the costs of health care and medication from a life of bad diet will certainly outweigh the costs of a healthy diet.
But sometimes it’s hard to look at the long term like that, especially in a paycheck-to-paycheck situation.
He suggests avoiding any sort of fad diet or feeling like you have to buy organic to be healthier. He says very often, the words “healthy,” “organic,” “green” are just clever marketing tools.
Graybeal says balance is the best way to eat inexpensively and healthy.
“You don’t need to eat organic, you don’t have to be plant-based, paleo, you certainly don’t have to be keto,” Graybeal said, referring to the different types of diets you may see out there right now. He said eating healthy, especially if your goal is weight loss, is looking at the nutrition labels on the back of your groceries.
“This is about creating balance,” he said. “You need to stay within a healthy caloric range.”
And healthy caloric ranges vary from person to person.
On a personal note, while we’re talking health, I’m a big fan of trainer and fitness expert Michael Matthews’ website Legion Athletics. He has a fantastic calculator that tells you exactly how many calories you should be eating to be in a deficit, and lose weight.
I’ve had success with his content, however, there are plenty of calorie calculators online.
When you’ve figured out what you need, then you can move into step three from Jared: Make a plan.
“If you know you need ten meals this week, only buy enough for ten meals,” he said food waste will lead to the most burned cash," Graybeal said.
“And cook from home,” he said. “Even if the healthy stuff at the store seems more expensive at the checkout, you’ll wind up only spending $3, $4, $5 a meal when you are preparing food yourself.”