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Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

When it comes to eating healthily, snacking has a bad reputation. It’s usually synonymous with unhealthy food, habitually eating between meals and gradually putting on weight.

But is snacking always an unhealthy habit? Could it actually help us lead a more healthy lifestyle?

Why Does Snacking Have Such a Bad Rep?

Snacking is a term used to describe eating between regular meals but it doesn’t automatically mean bad foods.

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Snacking is primarily motivated by hunger which is when our blood sugar levels are low. This causes the body to crave fatty or sugary foods that will help bridge the gap until our next meal and get the blood sugar levels up in the quickest time. Therefore, snacking has been associated with weight gain.

However, many studies have shown that if a person has a generally balanced, healthy diet, snacking has no effect on weight[1]. The idea that eating extra calories can only be detrimental to weight is another flawed premise. There are many ways that snacking can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Why Snacking is Actually Good For You

So why should we look at snacking as a positive rather than a negative? Is it time to make snacking a habit in our diet?

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As long as you’re mindful of what kind of snacks you’re eating, snacking can be used as a way to lose weight and keep you feeling balanced throughout your day. Here’s how…

It Prevents Overeating

While snacking can be seen as adding extra calories, it makes sense that if you’ve kept yourself topped up through the day, you won’t overeat when you finally come to sit down for dinner. Hunger is the culprit here and, ironically, is the main cause for putting on weight. Feeling ravenous will make us eat up to 20% more than we need to eat so snacking to curb the hunger will keep you eating normal portions. Just make sure the snack is calorie controlled because you don’t want to fill up on processed foods only to not want to eat your healthy dinner.

Helps To Get More Nutrients

Smart snacking can be an advantage when it comes to getting all the goodness your body needs. It can be hard to get all the nutrients you need in three main meals especially if we have a busy day. This is where snacking can provide you with an extra healthy boost. Almost everything that isn’t processed can give us much-needed nutrients – nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit or vegetables. Low calorie snacks that fill you up can help your body power through the day more efficiently.

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Keeps Your Energy Levels Up

We’ve all had that feeling of weakness and loss of energy when we feel hungry. This ultimately doesn’t lead to a productive day and causes concentration levels to waiver and irritability to rise.

Snacking basically prevents this from happening and helps maintain a positive healthy mind as well as body. In other words, snacking can keep us happy and prevents dips associated with negative feelings.

Healthy Snacks Can Create Smart Food Choices

Not only does it prevent overeating but it helps us make better choices when it comes to meal times. If our blood sugar is maintained, we are less likely to reach for the pizza or burger and instead consider a healthier choice.

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Choosing or planning healthier snacks can also convince the brain that we want to carry on the healthy options well into the evening. So snacking on high protein, low fat foods such as protein shakes, plain yoghurts, raw vegetables, or nuts and seeds, can mean you don’t want to spoil your good work when it comes to lunch or dinner.

Snack Smart and Reap the Benefits

So, snacking is far from bad if you’re mindful of the types of snacks you choose. Maintaining your sugar levels and curbing your hunger will go towards eliminating unhealthy choices when it comes to your meals. Try not to over snack, just think of it as tiding you over and giving extra love to your body until your next meal. If you’re aiming to lose weight, snacking will help in your quest for weight loss if done in this smart and mindful way.

Remember to only snack if you’re genuinely hungry. Boredom snacking is very common, generally unnecessary and tends to happen just before a big meal. Try to avoid this and snack when you feel your body needs it not when your irrational mind is convincing you to. Avoid this and you can snack in a positive, healthy way.

Featured photo credit: Oluwaseun Duncan via pexels.com

Reference

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985

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Samantha Aloysius

Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology and has experience in diabetes care counselling.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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