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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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                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

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                    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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                    Jennifer Smith

                    Life Coach & Personal Growth Blogger

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                    Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                    I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

                    If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

                    1. The Inner Critic

                    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                    • Other people’s words—many times your parents
                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

                    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                    2. The Worrier

                    This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

                    The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                    3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

                    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                    This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                    How can you control these squatters?

                    How to Master Your Mind

                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                    1. For the Inner Critic

                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

                    This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                    • They rile up the Worrier.
                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                    2. For the Worrier

                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                    • Muscles tense

                    Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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                    Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                    For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

                    Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                    3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                    Breathe in through your nose:

                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                    Breathe out through your nose:

                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                    4. For the Sleep Depriver

                    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                    2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

                    From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
                    • Shut down your thinking
                    • Calm your feelings
                    • Simply focus on the present moment

                    The Bottom Line

                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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                    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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