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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 September 16, 2019

                How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                • (1) Research
                • (2) Deciding the topic
                • (3) Creating the outline
                • (4) Drafting the content
                • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                • (6) Revision
                • (7) etc.

                Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                2. Change Your Environment

                Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                6. Get a Buddy

                Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                Reality check:

                I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                More About Procrastination

                Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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