Posts Tagged ‘health’

10 Examples where Healthy = Cheap when Dining Out

eat healthy to save money dining outAccording to the Bureau of Labor, Americans spent 2.6% more at restaurants in September of this year than last year, but at the same time, the price of food at supermarkets is up 6.2%. Dining out doesn’t have to be bad for your health or your wallet. Below you’ll find our top 10 ways you can lower cost and boost your health when eating out:

Drink Water – soda, juice and alcohol all add money and calories to the bottom line. Eating out is a great time to prioritize getting your daily fill of water (~2L for women, ~3L for men) while cutting costs. For more on why hydration is so important, check out our h2O 101 blog.

No Dessert – skipping dessert when you’re eating out has positive implications for both your waistline and your wallet. Reducing or eliminating simple sugars from your diet is a good way to lower your risk for excess weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, baked goods served in restaurants can contain loads of trans fats, which have a negative impact on your cholesterol and your heart.

Steamed Rice instead of Fried – when you’re eating out at an Asian restaurant, especially those that offer hibachi grilling, you often get to choose between steamed and fried rice. This is a perfect opportunity to save between $3-$5, and cut about 300 calories.

No Extras (dressing, bacon, etc.) – We all love extras. Adding bacon to a burger, or extra ranch dressing to a salad can add lots of flavor, but these extras can add dollars and lots of empty calories to your meal.

Split Big Meals – Portion size is at an all-time high in America. If you have a hankering for steak and potatoes, or are craving something that’s only offered as a big entree, split your meal! Saving half your money and half the calories every time you eat will add up quickly!

Eat More at Lunch – When you eat your largest meal of the day earlier, your body has time to process the nutrition you consume more effectively than if it were eaten a few hours before bed. When choosing when to eat out, opt for making your dining out experience a lunch time one. Lunch menu items are often drastically cheaper than the same items on the dinner menu. Do yourself a favor by eating earlier for less.

Take it Home – If there’s more food on your plate than you’re hungry for, don’t eat it all. A recent study compared the eating habits of those in France vs. Americans and found that lower obesity and heart disease rates among the French may be because they know when to stop eating. Americans rely more heavily on visual cues than their own bodies’ signals to tell them when to stop eating, a trend that may correlate with our rising obesity rates. If there’s more on your plate than you’re prepared to eat in one sitting, listen to your body and wrap it up and take it home. You’ll get more bang for your buck and will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm by not weighing it down with excess food late at night.

Get it in a Salad – Ever noticed that restaurants often offer almost the same meal as both a salad and an entree? You could opt for the grilled chicken (with potatoes, bread, fries, etc.) for $15, or the grilled chicken salad, for $10. You could opt for the buffalo shrimp po boy for $11, or the buffalo shrimp salad for $9. Either way, you’re usually getting about the same amount of protein, but when you opt for the salad, instead of filling up on heavy carbs, you support that protein with loads of vitamins and minerals, and often, save some money in the process.

Substitute – Many restaurants will let you swap out a side for no extra cost. Fruit instead of fries or grits? Salad instead of a baked potato or pasta salad? When you have the option, swap your side for a lighter and healthier one than the standard option. This is a great free way to make every meal more healthy.

Think Local – food that’s available to restaurants locally is fresher and also often cheaper, since restaurants don’t have to incur added costs for shipping. Favorite local dishes are also often cheaper, because restaurants must compete with others in the region serving up the same dish (i.e. – clam chowder in Boston, gumbo in New Orleans, etc.). Go local for increased freshness and lower prices.

Any other examples you can think of? Share them with us in the comments below!

Top 5 Ways to Get Back to the Basics for Better Health

Back to Basics for Better HealthThere’s a lot of hype around health care. For example, there’s been tons of recent chatter around fad dieting and the potential for trendy yo-yo diets to have negative health impacts. Recent news stories have also frightened many about the potential for cell phones to cause cancer. Obesity is at an all time high, with over 34% of Americans now considered to be obese, according to the CDC. Not to take away from any of these issues or the hype around them, but what happened to the basics? What happened to focusing on living healthy, happy lives and taking proactive steps to make this a reality? All too often, it seems, we get caught up in health hype and forget to prioritize healthy living. With that said, below you’ll find some of the easiest ways you can prioritize your health and wellness.

     

  1. Breathe Deeply

  2. Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both on a voluntary and involuntary basis. It is also the key to lots of immediate health benefits. Abdominal, or diaphragmatic breathing can have a tremendous impact on stress levels, and according to the AMSA1, can also help prevent infection of the lung and other tissues and improve the venous return of blood back to the heart.

  3. Nap

  4. As a culture, Americans are becoming more and more sleep deprived. There are countless negative side effects of sleep deprivation, but an easy remedy for most of them– napping! Alertness and physical performance can be improved by napping, and so too can our psychological well being. Remember, no matter how busy you are, sleep is not a luxury, it is a priority.

  5. Drink More Water

  6. We recently did a blog post on hydration and benefits one can realize via sufficient hydration. Weight loss, younger and fresher looking skin, increased mental and physical energy, and disease prevention are just a few of the many benefits of staying hydrated. Learn more on hydration and its benefits and the harms of dehydration.

  7. Think Visually When it Comes to Your Plate

  8. ChooseMyPlate.govAs was mentioned above, it’s easy to get caught up in health hype. One easy way to prioritize health from a nutritional standpoint is to focus on color. In general, the more colors on your plate (not via food coloring), the better. Did you know that white produce, such as garlic, parsnips and brown pairs have respiratory, heart & health benefits? Or how about that red produce, like tomatoes, watermelon, and beets can help lower risk for prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease? For a boost to your health, think in color! Additionally, the dreaded food pyramid, which most of us never used and certainly couldn’t remember, has been updated! Now, you can simply visualize your plate to help you determine how much protein, dairy, produce, and grains you need in your daily diet!

  9. Laugh & Smile…Genuinely

  10. When you were in school, a friend or parent may have advised you to smile while walking into a test to improve your performance. It is true that smiling releases endorphins and can boost your mood, but according to more recent evidence, the smile must be a genuine one. This is good news for you! It means that just by surrounding yourself with people, places, and things that make you happy, your health could be improved. According to recent studies, smiling boosts positive emotions, and “those who experienced high levels of positive emotion were able to recover from a heart attack more quickly.” Furthermore, research conducted in Australia demonstrated that “those who genuinely smiled for a group photo had greater well-being and were healthier, even 30 years later.”2 So smile, it does a body good. And as for laughter? Laughter can improve blood flow, increase infection fighting antibodies, and even burn calories. I don’t know about you, but if happiness can be used to improve my health, I’m by all means going to prioritize smiling and laughing more regularly.

These are just a few of the simple ways we can improve our health. What else? What do you do to decrease stress and improve your emotional and physical well-being? Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

1http://www.amsa.org/healingthehealer/breathing.cfm
2http://mentalhealthnews.org/a-genuine-smile-found-to-improve-health-happiness/84834/