Leading a healthy lifestyle in New York is possible and it CAN be affordable, too! This was one of the first challenges I tackled when I moved to the city eight years ago. I quickly realized that $20 per semester for fitness classes at my local gym was no longer a reality like it was during my college years. Even a box of cereal was shockingly expensive the first time I ever walked into a grocery store.
So, I did some research, got creative and figured it out. Today, I can confidently 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 locations across the city and offer TONS of incredible healthy products. Did you know that they even have 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. I try to walk at least 3 miles every day. It’s pretty easy to do in the city without even realizing it!
- Take your workout to the park! Pack up your yoga mat or simply lace up your shoes and hit the park for a nice walk and a dose of mother nature. 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.
- Try a free virtual fitness class through NYC Parks. This is something I usually take advantage of in person during the summer. I just noticed that due to the pandemic, these classes are now offered online and for free. Take a look at the schedule here.
- Check out a virtual fitness class from a local studio. There are many options for reasonably-priced virtual fitness class packages at studios throughout the city. A few of my favorites include Mile High Run Club, Sky Ting Yoga and Y7 Yoga.
- For free yoga, look no further than YouTube. One of my favorite fitness YouTubers is Yoga with Adriene. Sometimes on days when I can’t exercise outside, I’ll roll out my yoga mat and do one of her classes in my apartment. She offers tons of different options at varying class lengths and difficulty levels like Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Weight Loss and Yoga for Office Workers.
- Manicures and flowers are both surprisingly 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!
* Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. More info here.