A quick tally in my head tells me back in New Zealand my weekly ‘wellness’ spend was over $150 (around €95). I was a member of the flash inner city gym, had weekly personal training sessions, was a member of yet another gym specifically for boxing, and had netball club fees on top. Add buying all my produce and supplements at the local organics shop and it was one hefty price tag in the name of health.
Moving to Mallorca and leaving the cushy corporate job (and paycheck) meant I had to swiftly change my ways. But how could I stay healthy without all the bells and whistles I was used to? I had to improvise before my mentality (and waistline) began to suffer! Luckily it was a lot easier than I expected. Here are some thrifty tips and tricks I’ve picked up over my two years on the island.
Plan, plan, plan
I love to sit down at the end of the week and plan what I’m going to have for meals the following week (yes, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food). I rifle through my favourite healthy cookbooks, Instagram posts I’ve saved, and write down anything nutritious and delicious that comes to mind.
Whittle down a meal plan to cover you for the week, and then write out your shopping list. Now this is important – do not buy ANYTHING that is not on your list! Mindlessly wandering the supermarket aisles picking up whatever takes your fancy is a sure fire way to blow your budget, and end up with unhealthy impulse items in your cart.
Eating seasonally is eating smart, not only for your wallet, but also because of the added nutrients in fresh local produce that hasn’t travelled miles to get to you whilst slowly deteriorating. There are plenty of fantastic farmers markets here on the island where you can grab fresh, well priced, often organic produce, and you’re supporting local at the same time. Win win!
Frozen vege is also underrated. Cheap and snap frozen at peak nutritional value, having frozen on hand is your next best alternative to seasonal local produce.
The dirty dozen and the clean 15
I went through a slightly obsessive stage after working at a health retreat, where I was convinced organic fruit and vege was all that would pass my lips. This ain’t a cheap way to live let me tell you. Lucky for me I was made aware of the dirty dozen and the clean 15. Basically the dirty dozen are the 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to have harmful pesticide residue. These are the ones you might want to spend the extra dosh on buying organic. They are:
- Sweet bell peppers
Conversely, the clean 15 are the fruits and vegetables that are safer to purchase conventionally grown, as their toxic residue is not so high. They are:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet frozen peas
- Honeydew melon
Pro Tip: Does the fruit or vegetable have an inedible skin (e.g. banana, avocado)? Then don’t bother buying organic! Think about it, the pesticides are mostly on the surface of the plant, if you’re not ingesting that part then the harmful effects are somewhat negated.
A different kind of ‘bulking’
Once home from your market haul, hit the kitchen. I like to spend a day in the weekend cooking up a storm. I use my pre-planned recipes and cook enough for extra portions that can then be frozen individually. Cooking in bulk and portioning out your meals before eating is also a great way to avoid overeating.
Embrace the plant-based trend
Plant proteins such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, nuts, seeds, and quinoa are all the rage as savvy eaters move away from meat focused meals in the name of health. Embrace this trend, as these items are often very affordable compared to meat, especially when buying generic brands.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol
I used to buy far too many barista made coffees not realising that they all add up to a sizeable monthly bill. Now I allow myself a delicious café con leche in a gorgeous café once or twice a week as a treat. I budget for it and stick to it. The same goes for alcohol. Do you really need that glass of wine with dinner every night? Try saving your tipple for special occasions and enjoy that ‘oh so virtuous’ feeling!
Gyms without the fanfare
Yes, a gym with inbuilt televisions on every machine, fancy shower products, and hair straighteners is a wonderful thing. But listen to me. You. Don’t. Need. It. Find a gym with adequate weights equipment and cardio machines and you’re good to go. A gym with the bare essentials will have your body looking exactly the same way as the fancy gym for half the fee. Promise.
Make the most of Mallorca
Why even spend all your time at the gym when we have what we do on our doorstep? Mallorca is the ideal place to get your hike on. The Tramuntana’s offer an abundance of fantastic trails for all levels of fitness, plus you get your vital dose of nature to boot.
Also try upping your incidental walking. I haven’t purchased a vehicle since living here – I walk everywhere. Unlike New Zealand, the weather here doesn’t wreak so much havoc on your carefully laid out plans. Save your petrol/bus money and set out a bit earlier. Get that daily step count up!
Apps for everything
There are so many health and wellbeing apps out there now, many for free or a small fee. You can access home workouts created by professionals, guided meditations, yoga playlists, food trackers, step counters, you name it! Put your phone to work instead of forking out for classes and special practitioners for every craze under the sun.
And there you have it. It is totally possible to be and feel healthy without spending your entire paycheck on the latest health foods, gadgets, and memberships. Sure I still splurge occasionally on a good ‘green powder’ but I get by day to day on a fraction of what I used to spend. In fact I would consider myself healthier now that I’m spending less. It’s about being smart with your money, and conscious about where it’s going.
Written by Ché Miller
About the author
Ché has always had a passion for hospitality having completed a conjoint Bachelors Degree in International Business and Hospitality Management. She has spent the last 15 years working in the hospitality industry. When this passion led her to working in a premier health retreat in Australia in her twenties, she found the knowledge she gained there inspired her to start living a healthier life.
Now Ché loves to combine her two favourite things, hospitality and wellbeing, by scouring the island for the best nourishing restaurants, products and services. She has been living in Mallorca since early 2017, having moved from her home in New Zealand. She absolutely loves the energy of the island and everything it has to offer.
Ché’s other interests include ashtanga yoga, boxing, reading, writing, and really good coffee.