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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

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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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                    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                    1. Breathe

                    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                    2. Loosen up

                    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                    3. Chew slowly

                    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                    4. Let go

                    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                    It’s not. Promise.

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                    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                    5. Enjoy the journey

                    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                    6. Look at the big picture

                    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                    Will this matter to me…

                    • Next week?
                    • Next month?
                    • Next year?
                    • In 10 years?

                    Hint: No, it won’t.

                    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                    8. Practice patience every day

                    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                    Final thoughts

                    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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