Do you know the real cost of leading an unhealthy lifestyle?
Increasing your waist size not only puts your body at risk of serious illnesses, but it also jeopardises the health of your bank account. When it comes to diet, we’ve found that a lot of people believe that eating healthy, nutritious food on a daily basis is too expensive. This simply isn’t the case. Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to cost you the earth, that’s why we have created an insightful infographic which demonstrates just how much our unhealthy habits are actually costing us.
As you can see from the statistics in our infographic, Britons are wasting a colossal amount of money on convenience food and takeaways. Our wasteful ways are sending the majority of our fresh food to the landfills and we are also squandering our wages on pre-packed lunches.
To accompany our infographic, we have put together some practical advice to help you to eliminate bad habits and lead a more affordable and healthy lifestyle.
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Kick the takeaway habit
There is one thing that promises to shake every ounce of willpower from even the most determined dieter’s core - the takeaway.
What is it about fast food that we find so hard to resist? If we are ever going to become healthier, physically and financially, we need to go cold turkey and kick our takeaway habit for good.
The majority of us eat healthily during the week, but start to fall off the bandwagon as the weekend approaches, and convenience foods and treats start to sneak in. While we’re all entitled to a treat now and again, indulging in a takeaway or something sinful on a Friday, Saturday and even a Sunday can mean that you eat unhealthily for the equivalent of 12 days straight over the course of a month - that’s almost half of the month spent eating unhealthily. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how the pounds, in both senses, soon add up.
We don’t want you to feel like you can’t reward yourself over the weekend, but making healthier food choices will make a significant impact to the weight of your pockets and your waistline. Here are a few tips to rein in your takeaway habit.
- Only have a takeaway every other Friday night, or just once a month. Don’t make it a weekly thing.
- Cook your own versions of your favourite takeaway, otherwise known as a fakeaway. We have a few fakeaway recipes for you to try here, but you can get really creative and make your own healthy versions of virtually any food that you like.
- Instead of ordering everything from a takeaway, why not order a main dish and top up with your own extras, such as serving boiled brown rice at home? This will not only make your meals healthier, but much cheaper too.
- Order in person and collect your takeaway, this will make you less likely to over-order and you can burn some extra calories by walking to the restaurant.
In the current economy, the majority of us are looking to eat well for less. Supermarkets will try anything to get you to spend more money in their stores, with captivating offers that leave you with cupboards full of food that you don’t need, or more accurately, a bin full of food that you didn’t eat.
One of the most common reasons for throwing food away was that it wasn’t used it time. Nearly one-fifth of avoidable food waste is salad and veg, while 87% of the fruit that we throw away has surpassed its use-by date. By acting more conscientiously we can avoid unnecessarily wasting food and start saving more money.
● Shop online and use comparison sites such as MySuperMarket to get the best deals.
● If you do a physical shop, stick to a pre-planned list that has details of meal portion sizes, for example ‘buy chicken for five meals’.
● Shop around the perimeter of the shop first so you can stock up on fresh vegetables and fruit before being lured by any offers.
● Try and buy meat in bulk, visit a butcher’s shop if possible or buy online from websites such as Muscle Foods.
● Separate your meat into individual portions and freeze so you can take portions out of the freezer and defrost when needed.
● Buy frozen veg if you are using it in soups, casseroles, or any other hot dishes. The vitamins will remain locked in and you will get more for your money.
● Wrap celery, broccoli and lettuce in tin foil before storing it in the fridge to preserve freshness.
● Make a large bowl of salad, add salt and rest a large paper towel over the salad leaves, then cover tightly with cling film. The paper towel will soak up any moisture that causes the salad to wilt and it will stay fresh for up to 7 days.
● Keep potatoes with apples to stop them from sprouting, but don’t store onions in the same place or they will spoil faster.
Try not to throw away food just because it is past its expiration date. These are usually guidelines for shops so they know what levels of stock they have. The general rule is, if the food is only a day or two past the expiration date and looks and smells normal, then it should be ok to consume. Although, be careful when it comes to meat, as there is no point in visiting the hospital for the sake of saving a few pennies.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
As you can see from our infographic, we are guilty of wasting a huge amount of money simply by not preparing our meals. The average UK office worker spends £2.83 each day on lunch, according to Ofgem, this small figure soon adds up to almost £60 a month!
Failing to prepare encourages us to opt for expensive convenience foods, where the choice is limited and the quality is often lowered. With a little extra thought, you can plan exciting and delicious lunches and dinners for an entire week. Prepping your meals in advance will not only save you time, but also a great deal of money as it should help you to minimise wastage.
● Look for healthy recipes and make a weekly meal plan of dinners and lunches. Choose meals that you can make in large batches and can be frozen.
● Dedicate one day a week to cooking the majority of your meals, this could include cooking meat and fish, making stocks and sauces, and preparing vegetables. Put the meals into individual portions, freeze them and microwave when needed.
● Take a packed lunch to work with you. Include crunchy vegetables to snack on, like carrot sticks and celery, and apples, peaches and berries to eat as a sweet treat for dessert.
● Switch from cereal bars to bananas. Filled with potassium and energy-boosting carbohydrates, they will provide you with an abundance of nutrients and vitamins.
While you can’t eliminate a bad diet with exercise, staying active will certainly help you to get fitter and healthier. Eating a takeaway on Friday night? Why not squeeze in an extra half an hour at the gym on Saturday, or opt for a Sunday session as well.
Sign up for a membership with Fitness First Clubs and start creating a healthier future today. With state-of-the-art facilities, a variety of inclusive categories and expert personal trainers, DW is the ideal place to achieve your fitness goals. You can join online, or find your local branch and take a tour.