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7 Easy Snack Hacks That Everyone Should Know

7 Easy Snack Hacks That Everyone Should Know

Reaching for a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies can seem like the easiest option for those times in-between meals, but there are healthier ways to snack, even for those who hate the thought of cooking. Preparing snacks are always healthier than their store-bought counterparts, because they have less preservatives, salt, and sugar. Here are six recipes that will suit the couch potato in all of us.

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    1. Strawberry banana smoothie

    This filling frozen treat takes only a few seconds to make and is a great healthy alternative to ice cream or frozen yogurt. Add one cup of vanilla yogurt, one cup of frozen strawberries, one cup of frozen bananas and 1/4 cup of orange juice. Blend until smooth. You can also substitute different frozen fruit according to personal taste, such as this simple mango smoothie recipe for the perfect tropical treat.

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      2. Sweet bagel chips

      Do you have a few stale bagels lying around? Don’t throw them away. Instead, turn them into yummy bagel chips that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Cut the bagels in half and lay them on a baking tray. Spread butter on each half and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake in the oven at 325 F for 10 minutes. Flip the halves over and repeat on the other side with the butter, cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 10 minutes and let them cool a bit before you dig in.

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        3. Fruit skewers with yogurt dip

        For a delicious, healthy snack, look no further than these easy-to-construct fruit treats. Cut a variety of fruit into bite-sized pieces (strawberries, pineapple, bananas) and put them one-by-one on a wooden skewer. For the fruit dip, mix one cup low-fat sour cream and two teaspoons of brown sugar and lime juice. For a finishing touch, sprinkle the dip with cinnamon sugar.

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          4. Cheesy Chex Mix

          This recipe is a great alternative to cracker mixes that are filled with extra preservatives. Best of all, it only takes only a few seconds to prepare. Mix 3 cups of Chex cereal, 1 cup of cheese crackers, and 2 cups of mini pretzels with 3/4 cup grated parmesan, a pinch of garlic powder, and 1/2 stick of melted butter in a mixing bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking pan and bake in the oven at 325 degrees F, occasionally stirring it to avoid it from getting burnt. Let it cool off a bit before eating it.

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            5. Caramel popcorn

            This delicious treat is a twist on the traditional movie night snack and is bound to please those major sweet cravings. Melt 1/3 cup butter with 1 tablespoon of honey and a dash of salt. Mix with 12 cups of popcorn and add 1 cup of pecans. Lay on a parchment-lined baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F, occasionally stirring it to avoid it from getting burnt. Make sure it cools off a bit before eating.

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              6. Pita nachos

              Nachos can be quite a calorie bomb, but this snack is a healthier alternative without sacrificing the taste. Use whole wheat pita bread instead of white pitta to be extra healthy. Cut a pita bread into 2 round halves and then divide further into smaller wedges. Broil until they turn golden brown, and then sprinkle with shredded cheddar and salsa. Broil once again until the cheese melts. Garnish with sliced scallions if desired.

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                7. Nutella egg cream

                Sometimes there’s nothing better than a cool, chocolate drink to quell a cocoa craving. This recipe is great because not only is it delicious, but it is a great source of calcium. Mix 3/4 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of room-temperature Nutella in a glass. Stir quickly and then pour in 1/2 cup of cold seltzer.

                Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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                Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                1. Work on the small tasks.

                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                3. Upgrade yourself

                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                4. Talk to a friend.

                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                7. Read a book (or blog).

                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                8. Have a quick nap.

                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                10. Find some competition.

                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                11. Go exercise.

                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                12. Take a good break.

                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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