Advertising
Advertising

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

Advertising

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

      Advertising

      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

          Advertising

          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

            shutterstock_106614251 (1)

              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

              Advertising

              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

                shutterstock_1111264731

                  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.

                    More by this author

                    How to Wake up Immediately in the Morning How to Forget Someone You Really Hate 30 Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately 7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know about 30 Best Workout Songs to Keep You Pumped

                    Trending in Health

                    1 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It) 4 How to Practice Guided Meditation for Sleep to Calm the Mind 5 How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2)

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                    1. Cat Camel Stretch

                    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                    Here’s a video to guide you through:

                    Advertising

                    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                    3. Jumping Jacks

                    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                    4. Abductor Side Lifts

                    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

                    Advertising

                    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                    5. Balancing Table Pose

                    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                    ablab

                      6. Leg Squats

                      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                      7. Push Ups

                      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

                      Advertising

                      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                      8. Bicycle Crunches

                      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                      9. Lunges

                      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

                      Advertising

                      10. Bicep Curls

                      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next