5 low-cost ways to get healthy

You don't have to join a gym or spend a fortune on food to make healthy lifestyle changes. Help your family get healthier by using these simple ideas.

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  • Helping our families get healthier doesn’t have to mean costly gym memberships, stylish workout wear, overhauling all of our eating habits and reinventing our recipes.

  • Taking small, simple steps can transform poor habits and actually save money.

  • Take a walk

  • Zumba and yoga are fabulous forms of exercise. The music, ambiance and social aspect of working out in a class or gym are motivating and fun. But if you don’t have the budget for a gym membership, exercising this way can be costly.

  • I love exercise classes, but I’ve found that working out at home really simplifies things. First, I don’t have to look cute. I don’t feel as hard-pressed to don stylish workout gear. Second, I get my workout accomplished faster. The drive to and from the gym is cut out, saving minutes in my day. Third, by walking, running or biking at home, I save money. And when I exercise with a neighbor, I still get to chit-chat and socialize.

  • Exercising with our kids is another win-win. We can help them develop healthy habits and enjoy spending time together.

  • Be more active

  • There are always little things we can do to burn a few more calories each day. Walk or bike to work if that’s feasible. Park in the far-flung spaces of a parking lot. Engage your kids in a game of chase at the park or at home.

  • Tackle the more physical household chores, like mowing, raking or shoveling outside, and vacuuming, mopping or scrubbing inside.

  • If your home has stairs, hold a mini workout by running them or taking them two or three at a time. Your children or neighbors might think you’re crazy, but you know better: you’re toning your legs and rear end.

  • Choose water

  • Stock your fridge with sugary juice and soda, and it’s doubtful your kids will fill their glasses from the tap. Limit the options to encourage your kids to drink water.

  • Stick with H2O at restaurants, as well, to save lots of money on your dinner bills. Save money at home and at restaurants by drinking water.

  • Bypass grocery store goodies

  • Packaged cookies, candy, donuts and ice cream from the supermarket weigh down our grocery bills. They also teach our kids poor eating habits.

  • My family has a sweet tooth, but I try to limit what I buy and not serve treats every single day. Plus, when goodies aren’t in the kitchen kids are forced to look for other snack options.

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  • Shop smart for produce

  • Unfortunately, most kids don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies can be expensive to buy and time-consuming to prepare in meals. But the nutrients they offer are essential for families.

  • Buy fruits and veggies that are in season. Stock up and freeze, or can what you buy. Shop at farmers markets or roadside stands to find good deals, especially at the end of the day before vendors pack up to go home. Plant a garden and fruit trees to grow your own produce.

  • Living a healthier lifestyle is all about forming new habits and tweaking old ones. It can be both easy and inexpensive to make simple changes.

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Megan Gladwell, a freelance writer and sometimes teacher, lives in beautiful Northern California with her husband and four children.

Website: http://www.bookclub41.blogspot.com

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