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Quick And Easy: 15 Tasty Ways To Replace Junk Food

Quick And Easy: 15 Tasty Ways To Replace Junk Food

After a long day at work, you just want to fall down on the couch and eat all the junk food you can find. Understandably, working hard gets you tired so you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen just to have a quick snack to eat. But are you really going to be happy after you eat all the sugary, salty or unhealthy food? Most likely you will feel bad about the decision and the food itself won’t make you feel better or give you any energy. What you need is some healthy ways to snack!

Here are 15 delicious foods to replace your lazy snacks!

1. Zucchini Chips

zucchini-chips

    Let’s start with that bag of chips you got waiting for you. It’s easy and delicious, but there are quiet a few replacement possibilities. Try zucchini chips.

    It’s easy to make: just cut the zucchini in thin slices, season to your liking and bake them. Easy as that!

    2. Apple Chips

    apple-chips

      So I also looked up a sweeter version of chips. So try these apple chips. They are super easy and delicious. I promise you won’t eat store-bought chips any more after this.

      All you do is cut an apple in thin slices, possibly with a mandolin slicer. Than you line them on a plate and leave them in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Enjoy your apple chips!

      3. Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn

      rosemary_parmesan_popcorn

        Popcorn is the next easy-to-buy  and also easy-to-make snack. It’s so good to just buy ready-made popcorn… But does it really taste that much better than homemade? I personally love it when it’s fresh, crispy and warm.

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        So here is the option to make it at home. First you pop the popcorn, than add the parmesan and end with drizzling the rosemary oil over. Let is rest for about 5 minutes and you can enjoy delicious fresh made popcorn!

        4. Frozen Banana Bites

        frozen-banana

          If you ever researched for healthy snack options, I’m sure you have seen these. The perfect combination of banana, peanut butter and chocolate. But this time you can make it a little more fancy by adding almond butter instead. Little tip: On the page with the recipe, you’ll find a way to make almond butter at home!

          So how can you make these heavenly bites? Well, put some almond butter between two slices of banana, Freeze the bites. Melt chocolate and dip them in it. And freeze again. Your frozen bites are ready to be enjoyed!

          5. Mini Pizza

          cauliflowercrust-pizza

            You want to know how healthy they are? You want to know the secret? The crust is cauliflower. Yeah, I said it. You are going to enjoy these babies without a worry.

            First you make the base by shredding cauliflower, heating it and combining with egg, mozzarella and herbs. You bake the crust first. Than you add toppings and bake again. And that is all, delicious and healthy mini pizzas!

            6. Ants On A Log

            Ants-on-a-log

              Yeah, you most like have had these before. But not with this twist. I think we left the junk food behind and moved on to the good foods.

              Try the beans on a stalk version. Cut up some pieces of celery, add guacamole and black beans. Healthy, quick and very tasty.

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              7. Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bites

              frozen-yogurt

                This is one of those great ideas where you can add your own twist. You can use any fruit you like or whatever you have left over.

                Simply place some yogurt in a silicon cup, press fruits of your choice in and put it in the freezer. Let is there overnight and done are your frozen yogurt treats.

                8. Trail Mix

                trail-mix

                  Easy to make at home and adjust to your own liking: trail mix! Mix and match all kinds of nuts and add you favorite extras.

                  Try this version with walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and dried cranberries. Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix it and it’s ready to go!

                  9. Cucumber Roll-ups

                  cucumber-roll

                    On the warmer summer days, you probably want a refreshing snack to eat. Cucumber is one of the best refreshing foods out there. These roll-ups will make you very happy.

                    You start by making slices of the cucumber. You top it with some humus, feta, red pepper and season it with some salt and pepper. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Refreshing, delicious and healthy.

                    10. Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip

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                    peanut-butter-honey-yogurt-dip

                      Yep, all the ingredients for this recipe are in the title. I think if you simply want to eat fruit and want to all a little something to it, a dip is a great option. It doesn’t take long, but you might just enjoy your fruit that little bit more.

                      Combine the peanut butter, honey and yogurt in a bowl. Stir until smooth. Dip in your favorite fruit.

                      11. Yogurt Ranch Dip

                      greek-yogurt-ranch-dip

                        If you need a healthy dip for fruit, you also need a healthy dip for vegetables. Or for anything else. Just add it when you want, because it’s healthy.

                        Combine yogurt, garlic, parsley, chives, dill, onion powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Let is chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite vegetables.

                        12. Chocolate Mousse

                        healthy-chocolate-mousse

                          I had to add this. Chocolate is my favorite thing in life. And I have had this healthy version before too. I can tell you it is the best thing in life.

                          Combine maple syrup, vanilla, avocado and cacao in a blender. Mix for about 30 seconds. Add some water and set in the fridge.

                          13. Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

                          healthy-banana-peanut-butter-ice-cream

                            You can make almost any ice cream healthy at home, but this seemed like a good basic recipe. Everybody loves banana and peanut butter.

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                            Combine frozen banana, peanut butter, almond milk and cinnamon in a blender and mix till smooth. Freeze for one hour and serve with toppings.

                            14. Oatmeal Cookies

                            oatmeal-cookies

                              The smell of fresh baked cookies is possibly the best smell ever. So why not bake some? Here are some healthy oatmeal cookies.

                              In one bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In a different bowl, combine egg, oil, sugar and vanilla. Combine all the ingredients together. Line up balls of the dough and bake for 15 minutes.

                              15. Granola Bar

                              granola-bars

                                Make this and you got a to go snack for a week. Healthy and filling granola bars.

                                Combine oats, sunflower seeds and almonds and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add honey, sugar, butter and salt and heat it on medium heat. When the oat mixture is done, add it in the honey and mix all the ingredients together. Bake for 25 minutes.

                                Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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