The SparkPeople Blog

100 Healthy Habits to Add to Your Life

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/20/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  33 comments   :  4,368 views

Along your journey, you’ve probably heard the term “healthy living” more times than you can count—including here at SparkPeople. You may have a general idea of what it means: Something along the lines of eating better foods, exercising more often, seeing your doctor regularly and taking better overall care of your body. But what does that look like on a day-to-day basis? What specific habits constitute a healthy lifestyle?

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Spark Spotlight: Sandra (SILVERSPARROW04)

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/16/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  36 comments   :  4,910 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.

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You're Never Too Old to Hike: Trail Tips for Seniors

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/12/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  40 comments   :  9,918 views

You’re never too _______ to  ________.
 
There are countless ways to fill in the blanks. You’re never too slow to run. You’re never too heavy to do yoga. You’re never too weak to lift weights.
 
And you’re never too old to start hiking.

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6 Places to Find Cheap, Healthy Groceries

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/10/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  76 comments   :  19,666 views

My sister is a thrifty shopper. She knows where to find deals and is constantly comparing prices, especially when it comes to groceries. When I mentioned that a new Aldi store opened near my house, "You have to check it out!" was her immediate response. "You'll be surprised how many healthy foods you can find there at a fraction of the cost you're paying at the regular grocery store."

Skeptically, I decided to make the trip, assuming I wouldn't find any of the foods I normally purchase and it would likely be a wasted effort. I was completely wrong. For example, the bags of nuts I buy almost every week were two dollars cheaper. The organic apples I pay $2.49/pound for were $5 for a five-pound bag.

Eating healthy on a budget doesn't have to be more expensive than a diet full of processed foods. By planning ahead and comparing prices, you can incorporate inexpensive, healthy foods into your diet for less than you might think. You've probably heard money-saving tips like "buy in bulk" and "shop in season," but are there really certain stores that provide deeper discounts than others?

Bargain Shoppers, Rejoice!

  1. Aldi       
Registered dietitian Jodi Danen frequents Aldi to find good deals on specific items.  "Aldi's pricing on things like organic milk, kefir and specialty cheese is great—along with peanut butter, bread and butter.  Aldi also offers a "Double Guarantee," meaning if you're not satisfied, they will give you a replacement product and your money back. SparkPeople member LADYREDCOMET is a regular Aldi shopper, finding that the prices are consistently 20 to 50 percent less than the grocery store in her area. "For example, I pay $1.49 for a 10-ounce bag of spinach at Aldi," she explains. "A similar (or smaller) bag is usually $2.79 to $3.29 elsewhere."
  1. Costco 
Julia Nickerson, founder of the website Savory Tooth, says that Costco is a great place to find good prices for a number of items. "They have great deals on nuts. Walnuts and pine nuts are usually quite expensive, but you can find them at a great price at Costco. I've also bought pecans, macadamia nuts and flavored almonds from them," she explains. "Costco is great for buying large and cheap bags of almond flour. They also have a lot of low-carb snacks like roasted seaweed, protein bars and cheese crisps. If you don't live near a warehouse, you can buy online from Costco's website." Costco also has a very generous return policy. If you aren't fully satisfied with your purchase, you can bring it back for a full refund.
  1. Trader Joe's      
Talk to anyone who loves frozen foods, and chances are Trader Joe's will come up. The brand known for items with cult followings (cookie butter, Everything But the Bagel seasoning) is also one of the best places to find affordable fare for your meal-planning calendar. Jamie Lopez, a registered dietitian and food blogger, loves Trader Joe's for affordable groceries and says she can buy a week's worth of food staples for around $30. "Some of the basics that are consistently cheaper at Trader Joe's include eggs, yogurt, milk, frozen goods and peanut butter," she says. Trader Joe's is a frequent stop for BATGURL250, too, who says they have cheaper organic produce. "A lot of times you can get organic apples for $0.99/pound, as opposed to $3 or more per pound at other stores. Their organic nuts are usually cheaper, and they have frozen organic produce with prices comparable to conventional frozen produce at regular grocery stores," she explains. 
  1. SuperTarget      
SparkPeople member MLAN613 finds big cost savings at SuperTarget. "I love using their Cartwheel app in combination with the RedCard. Their store brand, MarketPantry, is fairly tasty and I think they have the best deal on frozen fruit," she says.
  1. ShopRite and Wegmans              
SHERYLDS is in the habit of shopping the store circulars and stocks up when there is a good sale on items she buys regularly. "I have found that the two stores with the best prices in my area are Shoprite and Wegmans. My suggestions are to learn prices and try the store brands. I have found that the store brands are just as good as the more expensive name brands," she recommends. 
  1. Online Options
If you live in an area without a variety of stores from which to choose, don't think you're stuck with the options at your only grocery. When in doubt, head to the internet, where you can often find more variety and compare prices before buying. 

TEDDYBEARDONNA orders frequently from Vitacost because she lives in a small town without many choices. "I often get 20 percent off my order and they have specials all the time. I am gluten-free and find I save a lot by using them." Similarly, AJDOVER1 relies on Thrive Market, noting that even though there is a membership fee, the savings make it worth it. "They have a huge selection of organic foods, baking ingredients, spices, sauces, condiments, vitamins, nutritional supplements, nuts and dried fruit," she says.  Amazon's Prime Pantry offers free shipping on orders over $40 (or a flat $7.99 shipping fee on smaller orders.) Although there is an annual membership fee, this is another convenient way to purchase groceries at a reasonable cost.

Protect Your Wallet with These 4 Money-Saving Tips

  1. Buy in bulk. When you see good deals, stock up. Many fresh foods can be frozen to prevent spoilage, and packaged foods that have a long shelf-life can be stored until you're ready to eat.
  2. Shop with a list. When you go in with a plan, you're less likely to get distracted by spur-of-the-moment impulses calling your name from the "deal of the week" aisle.
  3. Know your prices. If you know a good price on the peanut butter you buy weekly, stock up when you see a sale or shop other stores to compare. You might not have the time to visit multiple stores every week, but if you've got time for just a few, it could save a lot of money in the long run.
  4. Check out the sales ahead of time. Gone are the days when you had to wait for the circular to be delivered to your house or had to pick one up when you entered the store. Now you can do that prep work ahead of time by checking out store websites (which often have digital coupons to download) for weekly deals. Many stores even have Facebook pages where they will post deals of the day or week.
Groceries are a significant part of most people's budgets, so it's worth the time to compare prices, look for deals and watch the savings add up. Do your homework and your wallet will thank you!
 
Where do you find the best deals on groceries? Share your finds with us!
 
 

Spark Spotlight: Michelle (SHELLEYMCELROY6)

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/9/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  33 comments   :  5,830 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.

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Fitness Feats and Foodies in This Month's Go Get It Guide

By: , – Alicia Capetillo, Editor-in-Chief
4/6/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  46 comments   :  6,534 views

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
 

Sweat: Jump, Jump!

 
When I was in elementary school, I remember thinking the kids in the jump rope club were a cut above the rest. Here they were shredding double unders, leg overs, double Dutch and criss-cross moves during their annual assembly about exercise and heart health held in our gymnasium while the rest of us watched on in awe. I tried to give it a go myself, I really did, but after snapping my back and the back of my legs until they were bright red one too many times, though, the jump rope beat me down and I gave up.
 
That is until this year. As someone who is none too fond of running, I'm always looking for ways to increase my heart rate without a treadmill or the open road. When I noticed the aerobic-jump-rope prowess of fitness guru and Instagram star Kayla Itsines, I was taken back to those elementary school days with a renewed sense of purpose. Her skipping warmups are advanced, featuring a number of different jumps and a faster pace, all of which she does, literally, without breaking a sweat or missing a step. I knew it would take some time to even get close to Itsines' level, but I wanted to start small and see if I could commit to jumping for one full minute without whipping myself silly in the process.  

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