Pocket Friendly Healthy Living


Did you know that many Malaysians perceive cost to be one of the barrier in achieving a healthy lifestyle (Sharkawi, Mohamed & Rezai, 2014)? Many of us think that it is expensive and time-consuming to be healthy, be it in diet or exercise.

But, there are so many ways that you can adopt to kick-start any healthy habits. With a bit of time, effort and a sprinkle of creativity, you can be healthy and fit without having to sacrifice your wallet. Here’s how:

  • Cook it Up!

Malaysians loves to eat out, that’s a fact we can’t deny. But why not try changing your routine eat out once in a while?

Let’s do this: Instead of going to your favourite place tomorrow night, let’s stay home and cook up a hearty chicken pasta with steamed broccolis. Sounds tempting? It has been found that people who spends time preparing a meal at home were more likely to engage in higher diet quality with more intake of fruits and vegetables in the meals compared to those who often eat out (Monsivais, Aggarwal & Drewnowski, 2014).

When you cook your own meals, it also gives you the power to take charge of what you eat and control the process your food goes through before filling your stomach. Having the choice to determine what you eat can also give you a sense of autonomy and competence which in turn increases your self-efficacy to stay healthy (Patall, Cooper & Robinson, 2008)

  • Go Local

Imported foods are great, but it can cost you more. You can always opt for local, home grown foods and gain as much nutrients your body needs. For instance, carrots, lime and papaya are rich in Vitamin A.

Unfortunately, local foods are not given enough credit for their nutritious values compared to imported goods. Instead of buying pre-packed salads at the grocery store, try going for a variety of local greens such as spinach, brinjals and okra. The more colourful your salads are, the better. Instead of salmon, opt for Ikan Kembung or Tenggiri which are also high in Omega-3. Supermarkets may sometimes not provide as much local foods, so try head down to your nearest night market and feast your eyes on the vast array of freshly local produce that comes in a variety of shapes and colours.

  • Release those Endorphins!

You don’t have to go to the gym or buy trendy sportswear gear to get fit and healthy. And plus – a workout doesn’t have to be done in a specific place, you can be flexible and creative. Taking a walk at the park or playing tag with your children can also be a form of workout too! If you like going for marathons – then try to fit in time once a week to join one with your friends. The key point is to start small and start with something that you enjoy doing. As long as it gets you moving, then you’re ready to release those feel- good endorphins hormones which can help boost your mood.


Healthy living doesn’t have to be expensive. You can always utilize the resources around you. At the end of the day, engaging in a healthy lifestyle habit should be enjoyable and practical. So, enjoy it and have fun experimenting and trying out different things!



  1. Lawrence, D. & Bolitho, S. (2011). Stress: exercise plans to improve your life. London: A&C Black Publishers Ltd

  2. Moreno-Murcia, J. A., Belando, N., Huescar, E. & Torres, M. A. (2015). Social support, physical exercise and life satisfaction in women. Latin American Journal of Psychology, 49(3), 194-202.

  3. Sharkawi, I., Mohamed, Z. & Rezai, G. (2014). Healthy eating: The preventive factors among Malaysians. Journal of Economics, Business & Management, 2(4), 257-261.

  4. Monsivais, P., Aggarwal, A. & Drewnowski, A. (2014). Time spent on home food preparation and indicators of healthy eating. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47(6), 796-802

  5. Patall, E. A., Cooper, H. & Robinson, J. C. (2008). The effects of choice on intrinsic motivation and related outcomes: A meta-analysis of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 270-300