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9 Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep Your Diet on Course

9 Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep Your Diet on Course

Sticking to a diet can be difficult. A reduction in calories, changes to eating habits, and missing out on treats can all make it tough to maintain. Cravings for something to eat between meals can often be a tripping point, especially when the only snacks available to buy are unhealthy and full of sugar and bad fats.

Certain times of the day can be particularly difficult. Mid-afternoon is a common time to feel hungry, as blood sugar and energy levels start to drop as the work day winds to a close. This is when there is a tendency to desire a pick-me-up, a craving for something full of carbohydrates and sugars, to boost the blood sugar levels. Cakes, candies and cookies are common culprits when breaking a diet, as they contain high levels of what the body is craving. The trick to avoid failing with the diet is to have a prepared list of great tasting, healthy snacks that will satisfy the cravings but that are also easy and convenient alternatives to the sugar laden treats.

Here are 9 healthy snack ideas that will satisfy your hunger between meals while keeping your diet on course.

1. Bananas

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bananas

    Naturally healthy and low in fat, bananas are filling snacks. Wrapped up in their ‘carry case’ they are a perfectly designed take-with-you snack. Bananas are rich in potassium which is essential for good heart function and they are also full of fiber for a healthy digestive system.

    2. Nuts

    nuts

      Nuts have a variety of nutritional benefits, so a handful of mixed nuts will provide you with many different vitamins and minerals and they are also packed with essential oils, fiber and protein. Just a handful of nuts can stave off hunger, releasing energy slowly and leaving you satisfied for longer. Nuts are an ideal snack to keep in your bag or on your desk, to tuck into whenever you get hungry between meals. Avoid the salted or flavored varieties and instead choose nuts in their natural form to gain the benefits without the additives.

      3. Korean sesame seed and seaweed snack

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      SONY DSC

        These are very low in calories and fat and full of nutrients so are a tasty alternative to potato chips. Research has shown that seaweed slows down gut transit, releasing its energy slowly which makes you feel fuller for longer. Sesame seeds contain oleic acid which helps lower bad cholesterol, as well as being full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

        4. Popcorn

        popcorn

          Popcorn can be a healthy, filling snack as long as you avoid pre-prepared options coated in salt or sugary coatings and prepared in lots of oil. Either look for organic, low fat alternatives or better still, make your own in a pan or in the microwave. Just remember not to add any high calorie ingredients. Enjoy freshly popped and warm; they taste great just as they are!

          5. Low fat yogurt lollipops

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          yogurt-fen-elder lolli

            A great treat for hot summer days! Buy plastic lollipop molds, fill with yogurt, and pop in the freezer. You’ve now got a tasty treat to enjoy, that you can grab from the freezer whenever you fancy.

            6. Oatmeal

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              Oatmeal, or porridge, is a popular breakfast staple but can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is easy to prepare in a couple of minutes in a microwave, and you can either make it with low fat milk or water. You could add some fresh fruit or honey. This a snack that can be enjoyed at home or work and is an ideal choice in the cold months of the year when cravings for warm stodgy foods are stronger. It is a great food for the immune system and lowering cholesterol and it’s also full of antioxidants and helps stabilize blood sugar which reduces the cravings for snacking on sugary foods

              7. Veggie batons and low fat cream cheese

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              shutterstock_106255229

                For a tasty treat that gives you all the benefits of fresh vegetables; cut carrots, cucumbers, sticks of celery, red bell peppers and spring onions into batons and dip into low fat cheese. The bright colors of the vegetables are an indicator of high levels of phyto-chemicals which are believed to help prevent cancers and cardiovascular disease. For a healthy vegan alternative, replace the cheese with low fat humus. For a heart friendly choice, choose a salsa dip. Tomatoes are full of an antioxidant called lycopene, which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Make your own salsa to avoid the higher levels of salt and sugar found in many manufactured brands.

                8. Smoothies

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                  Make your own smoothies easily at home with just a large glass or jug, a cheap handheld blender and your chosen ingredients. Just add pieces of frozen fruit to a glass of fruit juice, add a banana to thicken and blend together. The result is a refreshing, tasty snack that will satisfy a hungry appetite, and is full of healthy fruit. These are easy and quick to make, and there is a never ending variety of different fruit flavors and combinations to try. For a creamier alternative, you could add low fat yogurt.

                  9. Homemade vegetable soup

                  shutterstock_78620938

                    To make homemade vegetable soup, mix stock to water, add an onion and your favorite vegetables (peeled and chopped) to a saucepan or slow cooker and cook. When done, blend the contents, and you can now enjoy your homemade soup. You can cook larger amounts and freeze into portions, so you can have them available quickly and easily and avoid reaching for an unhealthy option. Soup is an ideal snack for work as you can take straight from the freezer and microwave when required, or heat up and pour into a thermos flask to take with you.

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                    Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                    1. Create a Daily Plan

                    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                    3. Use a Calendar

                    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                    4. Use an Organizer

                    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                    5. Know Your Deadlines

                    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                    6. Learn to Say “No”

                    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                    7. Target to Be Early

                    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                    8. Time Box Your Activities

                    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                    11. Focus

                    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                    12. Block out Distractions

                    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                    13. Track Your Time Spent

                    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                    15. Prioritize

                    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                    16. Delegate

                    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                    For related work, batch them together.

                    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                    2. coaching
                    3. workshop development
                    4. business development
                    5. administrative

                    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                    19. Cut off When You Need To

                    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                    More Time Management Techniques

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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