There always seems to be a negative association with healthy living and saving money. You feel great about yourself, but one trip to Whole Foods and your whole paycheck is gone. But don’t worry, there are many choices that we make on a daily basis that impact our health, and these (sometimes very small) choices are what can help make us better off financially in the long run.
With the world moving a mile a minute, it’s often hard to find the time to cook yourself healthy meals. While it’s super easy to grab convenient pre-packed foods or go out to dinner and not lift a finger, you’re sacrificing control of what you’re eating and paying a premium for convenience. Did you know that about 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet? The only way to know exactly what you are putting into your body is to cook at home.
Plan Meals Ahead
Many people may argue that eating healthy is just too expensive, but the real challenge is finding the time, not the money. One helpful trick that is often overlooked is cooking extra. Next time you make chicken for dinner, cook a little extra. Then save it for a chicken salad for lunch the next day. It’s about planning ahead and cooking smart. So try to set a time each week to plan your meals. Not only will this help you save money by avoiding last minute frozen lunches and takeout, but you can make big moves toward a healthier lifestyle.
My mom used to always tell me that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but in reality just eating healthy doesn’t cut it. Eating a healthy diet is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle, but it is only half the battle. According to CBS News, 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week. What Americans aren’t seeing is that this is making them way more vulnerable to years of health complications. “Physical inactivity was linked to more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year, more than those caused by smoking.”
Not only does daily exercise tone your body and keep it running efficiently, but it can improve your mood and boost your energy. If you’re not sure where to start, start small. Try going for a 10 minute brisk walk each day. Then work up to longer walks or another activity until you are getting the recommend amount of physical activity for adults. Studies show that physical activity can help both your mind and body stay strong as you age, and also reduce inflammation.
Get your annual check-up
When life gets busy it’s easy to put off getting your annual check-up. However, those check-ups are opportunities for you to stay on top of your health and potentially address health concerns early. Even if you believe you are in good health, be sure to check in with your doctor (and dentist) and stay on top of preventative care.
Leading a healthy lifestyle may help you prevent or manage certain health conditions. Many people don’t want to spend the time every year just so that their doctor can tell them everything looks great, or tell them something they don’t want to hear. But the fact of the matter is, it’s important to keep up with preventative health check-ups and screenings. And if you do have any health issues, you have been ignoring—make it a priority to address those. By checking in each year, your doctor can tell you if you are at risk for developing certain conditions, and help you manage your health.
An ounce of prevention
Proactively managing your health and avoiding certain health conditions can potentially save you big money. For example, “People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenses of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.”
When you enjoy a healthy lifestyle—you may find not only your energy levels improve but also your mood as well. Not only will your mind and body reward you with running strong but you will be saving money too. One other lesser-known benefit to healthy living includes getting better pricing on your life insurance. Watch this video to learn about how we determine life insurance premiums (the underwriting process) here at National Life Group. Learn more about medical conditions that can affect the underwriting process.
Take small steps to healthier living
There are little things that can be done each day that might seem tedious, but are in your best interest. If you just take an hour out of your Sunday to cook food for a whole week’s worth of lunches, it will save you money. This not only saves time but a lot of money you would’ve spent on “on the go lunches.”
Life is all about planning ahead. Remember, taking small steps today can set you up for a healthy tomorrow that is not only great for you, but your body (and wallet) will reward you later.