By Marisa Hochberg :

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking to prioritize your health and live a more cost-conscious life, you don’t need to give up your favorite things just because it costs more. There are plenty of ways to eat healthier without breaking the bank — or sacrificing anything you love. Here are some healthy habits that won’t bust your budget:

Eat breakfast every day

Eating breakfast is one of the best ways to start your day, boost your metabolism, and curb your appetite so you’re less likely to snack later in the day. Research has even shown that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than people who skip it. If you eat breakfast every day, you’ll also be more likely to choose healthier foods, like fruits and veggies, instead of high-calorie options like bagels or cereals. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, or your portion control isn’t great, skipping breakfast may be an easy way to save a few bucks. But eating a healthy breakfast will not only give you more energy throughout the day, but it will also keep you healthier and save you money in the long run.

Always cook at home

Heeding the call of takeout might be tempting while you’re trying to save money, but you’ll be much happier, and your wallet will be happier, too, if you learn to cook at home more often. There are many financial benefits to cooking at home, including earning an extra $140 per month by cutting out the cost of eating out. If you don’t have to spend money on food if you don’t have to buy it first. Cooking meals at home can also be a great time-saver. Instead of standing in line at a fast-food establishment, you can save time and money by preparing your own meals. Cooking also offers a whole host of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and weight gain. If you have the time and energy, cooking at home can be a great way to save money, too.

Drink more water

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is by buying less water. Most people don’t drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, so you might not even notice the difference. But without enough water, your body doesn’t function at its peak and you’re more likely to make bad food choices. Not only will you be more likely to skip snacks and drinks high in calories, but you’ll also be more likely to take medications that have side effects if your body is dehydrated. If you drink more water, you’ll be less likely to reach for high-calorie options like soda and energy drinks, eliminating a significant amount of waste from your wallet. You might also find that you’re more alert when you drink enough water, so you can get the most out of your day.

Walk daily

Walking, especially for walks lasting 10 to 15 minutes, is a great way to save money and get fit at the same time. You don’t have to commit to a 5K or marathon to reap the benefits of walking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that most adults aged 18 and older walk as little as 2-3 miles per week to stay healthy. That’s not much, especially when you consider that walking burns calorie at a slow pace, and you’ll burn more calories than if you were sitting or lying down. Walking is also a great way to socialize with friends and meet new people, to get more out of your day and find new hobbies. Walking can even be a great way to earn some extra cash, by walking through neighborhoods or a park near your work or school.

Don’t snack in between meals

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to eat smaller, more frequent meals, and that’s especially important if you’re trying to save money. If you snack in between meals, you’re probably eating more calories overall — and more calories from unhealthy sources — than you would if you simply ate smaller meals. If you’re looking to save money, limiting your snacking will help. You’re less likely to reach for high-calorie treats like cookies, ice cream, and other sugary snacks if you don’t feel hungry. A 2016 study in the journal Appetite found that when participants ate only two meals per day and snacks, they consumed an average of 200 fewer calories than when they ate three meals and two snacks.

Avoid buying specialty food

If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, you might be tempted to splurge on specialty foods that are healthier than the rest of your groceries but also cost more. You don’t have to do that if you simply forgo that temptation. Opting for cheaper, more common foods is a great way to save money and eat healthy at the same time. Many healthy foods are cheap and commonly found in most grocery stores. Fresh produce, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, and low-fat dairy are all cheap and nutritious, making them great options to keep on hand while saving money.

Final thoughts

Healthy living doesn’t have to break the bank. These habits will help you eat healthier, save money, and spend less on groceries. The best part? They don’t require much effort, so you can easily fit them into your busy schedule while still eating delicious food.