Staying healthy this year

(NC) It can be extra difficult to grow or maintain healthy habits when the cost of living is high. With an overloaded healthcare system, it’s also a benefit to stay in shape.

Here are a few budget-friendly ways to help you stay healthy this year.

Choose in-season produce: We all know fruits and veggies are a core part of any healthy meal plan. So, learn to love some cheaper staples as they rotate through the season. Winter squash is a delicious choice that can feed a crowd and be incorporated into everything from baked goods and pasta to casseroles and winter salads.

It’s okay to go frozen: If you crave summer favourites like berries or green beans even in the winter, opt for frozen varieties. Depending on the brand, they may be cheaper since you can use them over a longer period of time. Frozen foods have all the nutritional benefits of fresh produce, plus they’re usually frozen at peak quality.

Store food right: We already spend so much on food, so it pays to store it properly for lasting freshness. Check the temperature of your fridge to make sure it’s set to 4°C (40 °F) or lower, and set your freezer at -18°C (0°F) or lower so your ingredients are stored safely.

Protect your sleep: Sleep is precious for your health, but it can be hard to come by. Skip the pricey home remedies and consider adjusting your routine instead. Plan to go to bed at roughly the same time every night and wind down with a library book or podcast. It’s easier said than done, but if you can just let it go, you might start to fall asleep.

Build activity into your day: Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or subscribing to costly programs. Take advantage of the movement you get day to day, like choosing a hilly route when you take the dog out or doing a little dance while you wash the dishes. You’ll be more likely to fit in free activity if it’s a simple extension of your routine.

Get help for your teeth: Dental care can be expensive – especially if you don’t have insurance. But a healthy mouth is a crucial part of overall health. It helps you avoid more costly, uncomfortable and long-term problems down the line – so it’s not something to put off. If you don’t have access to private dental insurance for your kids, look into the new Canada Dental Benefit that provides up to $650 a year for the next two years to cover dental services for kids under 12.

Find out if you’re eligible and apply for the benefit at

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