Smarter Snacking

It is possible to enjoy snacks without ruining your diet or gaining weight. If you follow these tips, then you will be able to choose healthy, low-fat snacks.

Cupcakes, cookies and potato chips are some of the things that may come to mind when you think about snacks. That is one of the reasons that people try to avoid snacks completely. However, healthy, low-fat snacks can make a nice addition to any diet plan. Healthy snacks can keep you feeling full, which can prevent you from overeating during mealtime. Jennifer E. Seyler, RD, president of the Chicago Nutrition Association, has the following to say about healthy snacking, “From a dietitian’s perspective, all foods within moderation can fit in a healthy meal plan.” “The key is the serving size of each food, with the realization that the foundation of the plan is based in variety.”

Top tips to Try for Healthy Snacking

*Exercise portion control.* Some people think that it is okay to eat healthy foods in abundance. However, Seyler warns people that 1,000 calories is still 1,000 calories, regardless of whether the calories come from fruit or chips. She also cautions people that eating that many calories in a short amount of time can lead to weight gain.*

* Make wiser food choices.* Seyler says that making healthy snack choices is one of the things that people can do to avoid overindulging on food. Low-fat cheese sticks, vegetables with a small amount of ranch dressing and fruits are examples of healthy snack choices. Vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, and they also contain water, which can help keep you feeling full longer. As a result of this, you will naturally consume fewer calories. Low-fat cheese snacks are an excellent snack choice because they have adequate amounts of fat, carbohydrates and protein, which are the three macronutrients.

* Start planning ahead.* It is very easy to say that you will eat vegetables and fruits. However, if you are not prepared when hunger hits, then you can very easily get into trouble. Sue Decotiis, who is a physician in New York, urges you to plan ahead of time. You should bring your lunch to work and have two snacks in your car. Decotis also urges that you eat a healthy snack before you to go the party. You will be less likely to spend all of your time at the hors d’oeuvres tray if you eat something before you attend an event.

*Intelligent eat low-fat snacks*- You are bound to see a lot of low-calorie and low-fat options if you take the time to peruse the snack aisles. Seyler says that low-fat, low-calorie snack options can be great options if you consume the recommended serving size. She also reiterates that the key to snacking healthy is to exercise portion control. There are 100-calorie packs available now, but many people consume more than one pack. That really defeats the whole purpose of choosing a 100 calorie pack.

* Find good replacements.*- It is very hard for some us to give up ice cream, chips and cookies because those are some of our favorite foods. That is why Decotiis recommends that you satisfy your cravings with healthy replacements. Below are some of the healthy replacements that she recommends:

*Sweet potato chips* *Walnuts or almonds* *Protein bars *Low-fat yogurt *Yogurt dip

You will be prepared for a snack attack if you have a couple of healthy choices available.

Antioxidants from 10 unexpected sources

Some foods, like tea, spinach, and blueberries, get all the praise for their antioxidant properties, but they’re not the only ones that bring a high number of antioxidants to the table. Registered dietician Alexandra Caspero, owner of Delicious-Knowledge.com, did some research and came up with 10 lesser-known healthy superfoods.

Cocoa powder

This is the part of the cacao bean which is left once the fatty cocoa butter is removed. Up to 10% of a portion of cocoa powder consists of flavonoids, which help protect against strokes and heart attacks. Cocoa powder also contains calcium and magnesium. You can add some to your diet by including a small amount in savory sauces or chili or by making a Mexican mole sauce.

Raisins

The little boxes of dried grapes so common in lunchboxes may be healthier than suspected. All types of raisins contain boron, necessary for healthy bones. Dark raisins are also full of energy-boosting anthocyanins. Try including some in your oatmeal or cereal, or just eat them plain.

Kidney beans

You might know these as red beans or chili beans, but whatever you call them, they’re a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. A quarter cup of kidney beans contains over 6000 antioxidants, not to mention loads of protein and a full three grams of fiber. You can try mashing them and mixing them into ground beef or turkey for burgers or meat loaf. Bean soups and red beans and rice are also good ways to get a serving of kidney beans.

Barley

Even though it’s often overlooked, barley is full of nutrients and incredibly versatile in cooking. Barley contains fiber to help lower cholesterol, not to mention folate, manganese, and molybdenum. It can be used in place of rice in a risotto, added to soups, or sprinkled on salads for texture.

Watercress

The antioxidants in this dark leafy green can help gym-goers recover from their workouts more quickly by neutralize the free radicals which can damage DNA, according to a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition. There are only four calories in an entire cup of watercress, but it contains lutein and zexanthin, which keep the eyes healthy, as well as vitamins A, C, and K. Watercress has a light peppery flavor and can be substituted for lettuce in salads and sandwiches.

Sorghum

Sorghum resembles wheat berries in texture and flavor, but the grain is gluten free. It contains a balance of carbohydrates and protein which make it a reliable energy source. Sorghum is full of B-complex vitamins and helps lower cholesterol. It can be used in place of bulgur wheat in dishes like tabbouleh. The syrup can also be used as a substitute for honey.

Ginger root

Nine chemicals in ginger are known to help improve digestive health. Ginger can also ease muscles sore from exertion. It has a spicy, citrusy flavor. Ginger is common in Asian cuisine, but the flavor pairs well with many different dishes.

Coffee

Coffee is the most common source of antioxidants for most Americans. Whether it’s regular or decaf, coffee contains many antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acid, which helps neutralize bad cholesterol.

Eggs

In spite of the scaremongering, eggs do not raise the risk of heart problems. In fact, eggs contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food. They also provide choline, which helps the body burn fat. As long as you don’t cook them in unhealthy fat, eggs in any form can be part of a healthy diet.

Surprising ways to keep your brain and memory sharp

Memory enhancement has become a hot topic in modern society. A quick Internet search reveals long lists of specially designed memory-enhancing games created by psychiatrists and dozens of pills and supplements the manufacturers guarantee will improve memory. Experts on talk show after talk show recommend intellectual stimulation: difficult crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, or strategy games like chess.

However, while research shows that cerebral activities do have plenty of benefits to memory and cognition, many other studies reveal that a strong social life and a sense of fun give a person’s memory definite advantages.

Humans are and have always been social animals. Even the most curmudgeonly of us generally want someone to socialize with on occasion. It has long been accepted that a satisfying social life helps a person stay emotionally healthy, but new research is showing that social activity also benefits a person’s cognitive health. A recent study done by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that the most socially active subjects had the slowest rates of memory decline, and that’s just one study among many suggesting the same conclusion.

Increasing social interaction is not as difficult as you might think. Try joining a club that relates to your interests or finding a volunteer association. The Internet has made it a simple matter to reconnect with friends and find times to meet up. Even people who find making and keeping friends difficult can get plenty of cognitive value from having a pet, especially very social ones like dogs.

Having a good laugh conveys benefits to the memory as well. A standard emotional response will cause neurons to fire in only a specific section of the brain, but laughter actually causes many areas throughout the brain to activate. Listening to jokes and trying to figure out punch lines uses areas of the brain important to creativity and learning, much like solving puzzles.

Try increasing laughter in your life by finding fun people to spend time with, whether adults or children. Their playful attitude towards life will lighten your heart as well. Learn to laugh at yourself and take yourself less seriously. Surround yourself with fun items, such as small toys, pictures of yourself and your friends having a good time, or amusing posters. Seek out laughter whenever you can; most often the cheerful people will be more than happy to let you in on the joke.

Six Tips for People Who Hate to Exercise

If you hate exercise, then following these tips will help you get the most out of your workout.

Set Small Goals

If you set the bar too high, then you will probably end up getting frustrated. Start with small goals. For example, you can set a goal to exercise 15 or 16 days out of the month. You will feel really good about yourself if you set a goal to exercise for 15 days out of the month but end up exercising for 20.

Keep A Record of Your Workouts

Every day, write down whether you have or have not been active. You can also keep an online log. When are working out, keep a journal of what weight you used and how many reps you could do. If you have trouble staying on track, then you should get your friends or online workout buddies to hold you accountable.

Be Mindful of Willpower Drains

Listening to a speaker or making decisions can drain the willpower that you need to exercise. That is why you should schedule exercise during the times when your willpower is at its peak. Morning workouts are a great way to start the day. You will feel stronger and be in a better mood throughout the day.

Put More Emphasis on Initiative

Starting an exercise program is hard, and you may get frustrated at first. However, once you have been working out for awhile, it will become easier for you to find a couple of minutes to exercise every day. Who knows, you may even begin to enjoy it!

Forget About Failures

Do not deal on failures. You should view them as the obstacles that you must overcome in order to reach your goal. Failure is not an option.

Adapt Your Workout So That It Fits Your Lifestyle

If you are a parent, then you may want to consider coaching your child's team or going for bike rides with your family. You can go for a run with your dog if you love animals. Best friends or coworkers are great workout partners and motivators.

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