The SparkPeople Blog

17 Budget-Friendly Dinner Recipes for $3 or Less per Serving

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/29/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  33 comments   :  8,734 views

For three dollars, you can get a cheeseburger and a large order of French fries at McDonald's. It will also buy a Gordita Supreme from Taco Bell, or an order of chicken nuggets and onion rings from Burger King.
 
Easy on the wallet, sure—but you'll pay a steep premium in terms of calories, fat and lack of nutrition.
 
What if we told you that for the same amount of money, you could prepare a healthier and far more satisfying meal at home? While it might cost a bit more to assemble all of the ingredients, when you break it down to the per-serving price, the creators of these budget-friendly recipes say they won't cost any more than a drive-thru value meal.

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Spark Spotlight: Jennie (SADIEMYERS)

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/26/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  31 comments   :  5,470 views

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
 
This Week's Spotlight: Jennie (SADIEMYERS)
Age: 40
Location: Spring Creek, Nevada
 
Small Success of the Week
 
Jennie posted a terrific before-and-after photo to the Community Goal Feed, showing what a difference four years can make. She says she feels so much healthier now, and "slow and steady" got her to where she is today.

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Why No One Needs to Know About Your Weight-Loss Plans

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/26/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  64 comments   :  12,547 views

After years of unsuccessful weight-loss attempts, you've decided that this it. No more fad diets or extreme amounts of exercise—now you're focusing only on slow and steady, healthy choices. You've learned from past mistakes and vowed that they won't be repeated this time. Surprisingly, one of those mistakes wasn't related to your food or fitness plan. No, it was the decision to tell others you were about to embark on a weight-loss journey.

Most weight-loss programs stress the need for support, whether that comes from friends, family or others in your community. When you're surrounded by people who want you to succeed, you're much more likely to follow through, right? When you tell everyone you're trying to lose weight, it helps you stay accountable, correct?

That's not always the case. Is it possible that making a Facebook announcement about your goals hasn't led to success in the past, and this time, it's better to go-it alone? It might seem counter-intuitive, but for some, keeping their weight-loss goals to themselves has helped them be more successful.

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26 Simple & Satisfying Slow Cooker Soups for Chilly Nights

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/21/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  96 comments   :  156,708 views

Soup is one of those delightfully versatile foods that can be enjoyed year round—but if we had to pick a favorite season to spoon it up, winter would be the winner. There's nothing like a steaming hot bowl of bisque, broth, chowder or stew to chase away the chill and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Plus, soups are a great way to sneak some extra veggies and lean proteins into your daily diet, particularly during a time of year when there seems to be a not-so-healthy temptation lurking around every corner. If you're filled up on nutritious soup, you'll be less likely to succumb to all of the cookies, cakes and cocoa that will inevitably cross your path.  
 
Soup is great on the stovetop, but when paired with the slow cooker, you get the ultimate in crave-worthy convenience. Just add your ingredients, turn it on and go about your day—and when you arrive back at home, you'll have a hearty, satisfying meal to warm up your night. And if you have an Instant Pot, you can curl up with a bowl of your favorite soup in a matter of minutes.

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Spark Spotlight: Juli (JULIHC82)

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/19/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  31 comments   :  5,253 views

willAt SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
 
This Week's Spotlight: Juli (JULIHC82)
Age: 36
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
Small Success of the Week
 
This week, we are excited for Juli, who posted to the Community Goal Feed that she finally hit "onederland" for the first time in 15 years!

What's your overall goal?

Onederland is actually one of many goals that I have set for myself, but my overall goal is to lose 125 pounds and weigh around 140. I am almost 60 percent of the way there. I find it very helpful to make multiple attainable goals to really encourage myself to succeed. On my SparkPeople page, I keep track of every step of the way and mark the date each time I reach a goal—it really helps me stay accountable.

What's your biggest challenge right now?

Unfortunately, my biggest challenge is that I have a rare, incurable muscle disease. Though painful and very difficult at times, it's certainly not the worst disease to have, so I'm lucky in a way. It is what it is, so I try to stay positive. My biggest challenge besides my muscles is trying to eat enough quality nutrition. Sometimes I get complacent and make poor choices because I'm being lazy and choosing the easy options.

How is SparkPeople helping you get there?

SparkPeople helps me stay accountable. This community encourages me to be a better version of myself and transform into the person I am supposed to be.

What advice do you have for someone who just joined SparkPeople?

I would encourage a new person to SparkPeople to just be open to this community and really embrace this place where you can just be honest without judgment. Doing that will ignite the spark in you [and] success will follow! It took me longer than I wish it would have to finally embrace my truth and true self. But, thankfully, SparkPeople helped me do that.

Want to be the next small success we spotlight? Share your successes on the Community Goal Feed or in the comments below, and you might be the next person we contact!

How to Stop Feeling Guilty for Losing Weight

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/19/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  46 comments   :  9,696 views

We talk a lot about all the good things that come with weight loss. There's the lower risk of heart disease, improved cholesterol, increased mobility, renewed confidence, reduced chance of diabetes—the list goes on (and on and on). But parting with pounds can also come with some not-so-positive side effects, many of which go unspoken, disguised or overlooked.
 
Like weight loss guilt.

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