In a city filled with fancy boutique fitness classes, trendy spas and CBD-infused baked goods, healthy living can get expensive. As a self-proclaimed “health nut,” this was one of my biggest challenges when I first moved to New York six years ago. $20 per semester for fitness classes at my local gym was no longer a reality. (It was nice while it lasted!) Something as simple as a bag of carrots was pitifully expensive the first time I ever walked into a grocery store. *Cue eye roll.*
So, I did some research, got creative and figured it out. Today, I can say that I’ve discovered a handful of tips and hacks that make healthy living doable in this city. The following recommendations span several categories, including fitness, self care and food. I hope that these will benefit you in some way and I would love to hear your tips as well in the comments! 🙂
- Learn to meal prep. If you make most of your breakfasts, lunches and dinners ahead of time for the week, not only will you save money, but you will also be more likely to eat healthy. I love going to Pinterest for inspiration. You can also peruse hashtags like #mealprep on Instagram for ideas.
- Do all (if not most) of your grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. All hail TJ’s! I don’t know what I’d do without them in NYC. Seriously. It’s the most affordable grocery store option here, and best of all they have TONS of incredible healthy products. Did you know that they even feature product lists of their gluten free and vegan products on their website? A few of my favorite overall healthy products include: the raw creamy almond butter, frozen cauliflower gnocchi. red lentil pasta, frozen Brussels sprouts, organic sweet Italian chicken sausage and sparkling spring water (my favorite flavors are the grapefruit and blood orange!).
- Walk. Walk everywhere. I like to check my mileage at the end of the day (especially when I know I’ve walked far). Just pull up the Apple health app.
- Take your workout to the park! New York is filled with so much fabulous green space. Some of my favorite spots include Hudson River Park, Riverside Park, Battery Park, East River Park and Fort Tyron Park. (Can’t forget Central Park, too!) You can find a full list of all parks across the five boroughs here.
- Check out ClassPass, as well as the many options for discounted introductory class packages at fitness studios throughout the city.
- For affordable yoga, check out Yoga to the People. They offer reasonably priced classes and have studios all across the city. You can also search for community classes at various yoga studios, which are usually either “suggested donation” or free.
- In the summer, simply Google “free NYC summer yoga classes,” and you’ll surely find a good deal of options. Last year, I discovered and attended free classes in Long Island City in the park on the waterfront on several Saturday mornings. (They were wonderful! I went at least two or three times.) I’ve also attended free yoga classes in Hudson River Park, but there are so many other options throughout the city, too. Most of them are free. All you need is your own mat. (And don’t forget water and sunscreen!)
- Buy deals for massages on Groupon, Gilt City or Living Social. I’ve been getting massages once a month now. I used to think they were frivolous and expensive. Now, I consider them a non-negotiable part of my self-care routine. Most of the deals I find are $40 or less. *Pro tip: search for coupon codes on Google before checking out. Usually you kind find a 20% off deal.
- Manicures and flowers are both infamously cheap in New York. There are probably more nail salons than Starbucks locations in Manhattan. I like to search on Yelp before trying a new one just to make sure it’s clean and reputable. For flowers, you can easily find beautiful blooms at corner bodegas. Farmers markets like the Union Square Greenmarket also offer gorgeous options. And, let’s not forget Trader Joe’s!
- Check out the Aveda Institute in Soho for affordable hair cuts, facials and more. I am a HUGE fan of this salon and have been going for years! All of the services are performed by students, which is why they’re so cheap, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re just going for a simple hair cut or skin or body treatment, I highly recommend it!
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