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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 January 21, 2020

                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                  Why You Need a Vision

                  Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                  How to Create Your Life Vision

                  Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                  What Do You Want?

                  The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                  It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                  Some tips to guide you:

                  • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                  • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                  • Give yourself permission to dream.
                  • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                  • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                  Some questions to start your exploration:

                  • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                  • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                  • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                  • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                  • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                  • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                  • What qualities would you like to develop?
                  • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                  • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                  • What would you most like to accomplish?
                  • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                  It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                  What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                  Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                  A few prompts to get you started:

                  • What will you have accomplished already?
                  • How will you feel about yourself?
                  • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                  • What does your ideal day look like?
                  • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                  • What would you be doing?
                  • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                  • How are you dressed?
                  • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                  • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                  • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                  It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                  Plan Backwards

                  It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                  • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                  • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                  • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                  • What important actions would you have had to take?
                  • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                  • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                  • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                  • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                  • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                  Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                  It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                  Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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