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Health and Life Style.


Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia

for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046.

VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam Veterans.


Veterans’ Health.


Much has been spoken about Veterans’ mental health in recent months. If you or your family or friends think that you may have a mental health issue, instead of "self-medicating" on booze or pills, please seek some assistance. It really is easy to access the system. Treatment is provided for the following problems:


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder;  Depressive Disorder;  Anxiety Disorder;  Alcohol Use Disorder;  Substance Abuse Disorder.



Treatment is provided under the DVA Non-Liability Health Care Scheme which basically means you are not required to prove that your condition is service-related. All that is needed is for you to have had a period of full-time service. No minimum duration of service is specified. The use of this scheme will not affect further claims for compensation. (If you do, however, lodge a claim for compensation, be aware that all accepted disabilities will be reviewed. Speak to a Pensions Officer at your Ex-Services Organisation before proceeding with a claim.)


There is no need to lodge a formal application form. The easier way is to email a request for Non-Liability Health Care to NLHC@dva.gov.au or phone 1800-011-046. If you are not in the DVA system (e.g. white or gold card) you may be required to show proof of ID, but don't let that deter you. - For complete info please see HERE.






There has been a lot written and said about transgender people over the past few months, some of it enlightening, some absolute rubbish. Some of it was meant to be helpful and to advise, some meant to be harmful and to divide.


Here are the facts:


The word "transgender" encompasses more than you might realize. It covers a range of gender identities and expressions that might fall outside of the idea that all people can be classified as only one of two genders — male or female (gender binary). Transgender is an umbrella term used to capture the spectrum of gender identity and gender-expression diversity. Gender identity is the internal sense of being male, female, neither or both. Gender expression — often an extension of gender identity — involves the expression of a person's gender identity through social roles, appearance and behaviours.


People who are transgender include:

  • Those who have a gender identity that differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.

  • Those whose gender expression (the way gender is conveyed to others through clothing, communication, mannerisms and interests) and behaviour don't follow stereotypical societal norms for the sex assigned to them at birth.

  • Those who identify and express their gender fluidly outside of the gender binary, which might or might not involve hormonal or surgical procedures.

Being transgender doesn't say or imply anything about a person's sexual orientation — physical and emotional attraction or sexual behaviour. Sexual orientation is an inherent component of every individual. A person's sexual orientation can't be assumed based on gender identity or gender expression.


Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might accompany a difference between gender identity, sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics. This type of distress doesn't affect everyone who is transgender. Gender dysphoria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose mental conditions. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis that is given to individuals who are experiencing discomfort or distress due to the difference between gender identity, sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics.

Knowing helpful terms


Other terms that might come up in a discussion about being transgender include:

  • Cisgender. This term is used to describe an individual whose gender identity and expression matches the stereotypical societal characteristics related to sex assigned at birth.

  • Cross-dressing. This involves dressing as the other gender for entertainment or pleasure. Cross-dressing isn't necessarily a sign of a person's gender identity or sexual orientation. Cross-dressing also isn't indicative of gender dysphoria.

  • Gender fluidity. This is the exhibition of a variability of gender identity and expression. Gender fluid people don't feel restricted by typical societal norms and expectations and might identify and express themselves as masculine, feminine or along a spectrum, and possibly with variations over time.

  • Gender nonconforming. This occurs when gender expression, gender roles or both differ from societal norms and expectations for an individual's sex assigned at birth.

  • Gender role. This term refers to the societal norms and expectations associated with a person's sex assigned at birth.

  • Sexual minority stress. This is stress related to societal stigma, prejudice and discrimination toward individuals with diverse gender identity and expression.

  • Trans man and trans woman. These terms are used to describe, in a gender binary manner, a transgender individual's gender identity or expression. For example, the term "trans woman" is used for an individual whose sex at birth was assigned male and whose gender identity is female. However, not all transgender individuals use these terms to describe themselves.

People who are born transgender are like people who are born with red hair – perfectly normal!!!  None of us have a say in how we turn out, some of us have black skin, some white, some of us are very clever, some not so, some are born female, some male, some either, some neither - it’s just life.  We’re born, we live, we die. Enjoy the bit in the middle while you can, smell the roses, none of us have the right to judge.




If you don’t put it in your mouth it won’t appear on your backside.






Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.


Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.


While it isn't a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles, while early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications.



The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling.

  • Sensitivity to touch.

  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain.

  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over.

  • Itching.


Some people also experience:

  • Fever.

  • Headache.

  • Sensitivity to light.

  • Fatigue.


Pain is usually the first symptom of shingles. For some, it can be intense. Depending on the location of the pain, it can sometimes be mistaken for a symptom of problems affecting the heart, lungs or kidneys. Some people experience shingles pain without ever developing the rash.


Most commonly, the shingles rash develops as a stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of your torso. Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.


When to see a doctor.

Contact your doctor promptly if you suspect shingles, but especially in the following situations:

  • The pain and rash occur near an eye. If left untreated, this infection can lead to permanent eye damage.

  • You're 60 or older, because age significantly increases your risk of complications.

  • You or someone in your family has a weakened immune system (due to cancer, medications or chronic illness).

  • The rash is widespread and painful.



Anyone who's had chickenpox may develop shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years. Eventually, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin, producing shingles. But, not everyone who's had chickenpox will develop shingles.


The reason for shingles is unclear. But it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as you grow older. Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weakened immune systems. Varicella-zoster is part of a group of viruses called herpes viruses, which includes the viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. Because of this, shingles is also known as herpes zoster. But the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles is not the same virus responsible for cold sores or genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection.


Are you contagious?

A person with shingles can pass the varicella-zoster virus to anyone who isn't immune to chickenpox. This usually occurs through direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash. Once infected, the person will develop chickenpox, however, not shingles. Chickenpox can be dangerous for some people. Until your shingles blisters scab over, you are contagious and should avoid physical contact with anyone who hasn't yet had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, especially people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and newborns.


Risk factors.

Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop shingles. A lot of adults had chickenpox when they were children, before the advent of the routine childhood vaccination that now protects against chickenpox.


Factors that may increase your risk of developing shingles include:

  • Being older than 50. Shingles is most common in people older than 50. The risk increases with age. Some experts estimate that half the people age 80 and older will have shingles.

  • Having certain diseases. Diseases that weaken your immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, can increase your risk of shingles.

  • Undergoing cancer treatments. Radiation or chemotherapy can lower your resistance to diseases and may trigger shingles.

  • Taking certain medications. Drugs designed to prevent rejection of transplanted organs can increase your risk of shingles — as can prolonged use of steroids, such as prednisone.



Complications from shingles can include:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia. For some people, shingles pain continues long after the blisters have cleared. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibres send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain.

  • Vision loss. Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss.

  • Neurological problems. Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can cause an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, or hearing or balance problems.

  • Skin infections. If shingles blisters aren't properly treated, bacterial skin infections may develop.




Q.   What do most men consider a gourmet restaurant?

A.   Any place without a drive-up window.






When do early HIV symptoms first appear?

Early HIV symptoms usually occur within a month or two after infection and are often like a bad case of the flu. In many people, early HIV signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Swollen lymph glands

  • Rash

These early HIV symptoms are called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection and are the body's natural response. Symptoms, if they appear at all, usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you are very infectious. More-persistent or more-severe symptoms of HIV infection may not appear for several years after the initial infection.


The symptoms that indicate an early HIV infection are extremely common. Often, you can't tell them apart from symptoms of another viral infection. If you're concerned that you might have been exposed to HIV, talk to your doctor about your testing options.




First Aid Kit.


A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies. Keep at least one first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Store your kits someplace easy to get to and out of the reach of young children. Make sure children old enough to understand the purpose of the kits know where they're stored.


You can buy first-aid kits at many chemists or assemble your own. You may want to tailor your kit based on your activities and needs. A basic first-aid kit includes:

  • Adhesive tape

  • Elastic wrap bandages

  • Bandage strips and "butterfly" bandages in assorted sizes

  • Nonstick sterile bandages and roller gauze in assorted sizes

  • Eye shield or pad

  • Triangular bandage

  • Aluminium finger split

  • Instant cold packs

  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs

  • Disposable nonlatex examination gloves, several pairs

  • Duct tape

  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant

  • Plastic bags, assorted sizes

  • Safety pins in assorted sizes

  • Scissors and tweezers

  • Soap or hand sanitizer

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Antiseptic solution and towelettes

  • Eyewash solution

  • Thermometer

  • Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing wounds

  • Breathing barrier

  • Syringe, medicine cup or spoon

  • First-aid manual

  • Medications

  • Aloe vera gel

  • Calamine lotion

  • Anti-diarrhea medication

  • Laxative

  • Antacids

  • Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine

  • Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and aspirin (never give aspirin to children)

  • Hydrocortisone cream

  • Cough and cold medications

  • Personal medications that don't need refrigeration

  • Auto-injector of epinephrine, if prescribed by your doctor


Emergency items.

  • Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your family doctor and paediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers, and the poison help line, which in Australia is 131 126.

  • Medical consent forms for each family member

  • Medical history forms for each family member

  • Small, waterproof flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries

  • Waterproof matches

  • Small notepad and waterproof writing instrument

  • Emergency space blanket

  • Cell phone with solar charger

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellant

  • Whistle

Give your kit a checkup.

  • Check your first-aid kits regularly to be sure the torch batteries work and to replace supplies that have expired or been used up.

  • Consider taking a first-aid course through the Australian Red Cross. Contact your local chapter for information on classes.

  • Prepare children for medical emergencies in age-appropriate ways. The Red Cross offers a number of helpful resources, including classes designed to help children understand and use first-aid techniques.




Stress management.


Stress management starts with an honest assessment of how you react to stress. You can then counter unhealthy ways of reacting with more-helpful techniques.


It's hard to avoid stress these days with so many competing demands for your time and attention, but with good stress management skills, you can cope with stress in a healthy way. One of the first steps toward good stress management is understanding how you react to stress and making changes if necessary. Take an honest look at how you react to stress and then adopt or modify stress management techniques to make sure the stress in your life doesn't lead to health problems.


Evaluate how you react to stress.

Stress management skills often don't come naturally. You can learn new stress management skills or modify your existing stress management skills to help you cope better, though. First, take a look at how you react to stress. Some people seem to take everything in their stride. Their naturally laid-back attitudes shine through, even in stressful situations. Others get anxious at the first sign of a stressful situation.


Here are some common but unhealthy reactions to stress. Do any of these describe your reactions? If you're not sure, consider keeping a daily journal for a week or so to monitor your reactions to stressful situations.

  • Pain. You may unconsciously clench your jaws or fists or develop muscle tension, especially in your neck and shoulders, all of which can lead to unexplained physical pain. Stress may also cause a variety of other health ailments, including upset stomach, shortness of breath, back pain, headaches and insomnia.

  • Overeating. Stress may trigger you to eat even when you're not hungry, or you may skip exercise. In contrast, you may eat less, actually losing weight when under more stress.

  • Anger. Stress may leave you with a short temper. When you're under pressure, you may find yourself arguing with co-workers, friends or loved ones, sometimes with little provocation or about things that have nothing to do with your stressful situation.

  • Crying. Stress may trigger crying periods, sometimes seemingly without warning. Little things unrelated to your stress may leave you in tears. You also may feel lonely or isolated.

  • Depression. Sometimes stress may be too much to take. You might avoid the problem, call in sick to work, feel hopeless or simply give up. Chronic stress can be a factor in the development of depression or anxiety disorders.

  • Negativity. When you don't cope well with stress, you may automatically expect the worst or magnify the negative aspects of any undesirable situation.

  • Smoking. Even if you quit smoking long ago, a cigarette may seem like an easy way to relax when you're under pressure. In fact, stress is a leading cause of having a smoking relapse. You may also find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs to numb the effects of stress.


Take the next step toward stress management

Once you've identified the unhealthy reactions you may be having to uncontrolled stress, you can begin to improve your stress management skills. Stress management techniques abound, including:

  • Scale back. Cut back on your obligations when possible. While it may seem easier said than done, take a close look at your daily, weekly and monthly schedule and find meetings, activities, dinners or chores that you can cut back on or delegate to someone else.

  • Relax. Physical activity, meditation, yoga, massage, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can help you manage stress. It doesn't matter which relaxation technique you choose. What matters is refocusing your attention to something calming and increasing awareness of your body.



  • Prepare. Stay ahead of stress by preparing for meetings or trips, scheduling your time better, and setting realistic goals for tasks both big and small. Stress mounts when you run out of time because something comes up that you didn't account for, build in time for traffic jams, for example.

  • Reach out. Make or renew connections with others. Surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends or co-workers can have a positive effect on your mental well-being and your ability to cope with stress. Volunteer in your community.

  • Take up a hobby. When you engage in something enjoyable, it can soothe and calm your restless mind. Try reading, gardening, crafts, tinkering with electronics, fishing, carpentry, music, things that you don't get competitive or more stressed out about.

  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep affects your immune system and your judgment and makes you more likely to snap over minor irritations. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep a day.

  • Get professional help. If your stress management efforts aren't helpful enough, see your doctor. Chronic, uncontrolled stress can lead to a variety of potentially serious health problems, including depression and pain.

Stress usually doesn't just get better on its own. You may have to actively work on getting control of the stress in your life so that it doesn't control you. When you first identify how you react to stressful situations, you then can put yourself in a better position to manage the stress, even if you can't eliminate it. And if your current efforts at stress management aren't working, try something new.




Can chocolate be good for my health?


Healthy chocolate sounds like a dream come true, but chocolate hasn't gained the status of health food quite yet. Still, chocolate's reputation is on the rise, as a growing number of studies suggest that it can be a heart-healthy choice.


Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols, which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate, also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.


In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: More research is needed to confirm these results.


In the meantime, if you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Why? Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories and too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, cocoa itself, unlike chocolate, is low in sugar and fat while offering potential health benefits. If you enjoy chocolate flavour, add plain cocoa to your low-fat milk or morning oats.




The man walked over to the perfume counter and told the clerk he'd like a bottle of Chanel #5 for his wife's birthday.

 "A little surprise, eh?" smiled the clerk.

"You bet," answered the customer. "She's expecting a long sea cruise."




Is juicing healthier than eating whole fruits or vegetables?


Juicing is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables.


Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit, however, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fibre which is lost during most juicing.


Some juicing proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fibre. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight.


However, there's no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the whole fruit or vegetable itself.


On the other hand, if you don't enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn't eat. You can find many juicing recipes online or mix up your own combinations of fruits and vegetables to suit your taste.

You might also consider blending instead of juicing. Blending the edible parts of fruits produces a drink that contains more healthy phytonutrients and fibre. And fibre can help you feel full.


If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. If you buy commercially produced fresh juice, select a pasteurized product.


Also keep in mind that juices may contain more sugar than you realize and if you aren't careful, these extra calories can lead to weight gain.




In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.




Exercise: - 7 benefits of regular physical activity.


You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.


Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.



Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.


1. Exercise controls weight.

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great, but don't worry if you can't find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day, take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.


2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases.

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.


3. Exercise improves mood.

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.


4. Exercise boosts energy.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.


5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to hit the hay.


6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life.

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and physical appearance, which may boost your sex life. But there's even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise.


7. Exercise can be fun … and social!.

Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a sports team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends.


The bottom line on exercise.

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health and have fun. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming. Squeeze in strength training at least twice per week by lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body weight exercises.


Space out your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to ramp up your exercise efforts. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven't exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.




Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.'

The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'




Snacks: How they fit into your weight-loss plan.


Well-planned, healthy snacks can complement your weight-loss plan. Here are creative and healthy ways to satisfy your hunger.


Your stomach is growling, but lunch is hours away. You could grab a snack, but you think it's best to grit your teeth and wait for lunch. Not so, if weight loss is your goal. In fact, well-planned weight-loss diets, such as the Mayo Clinic Diet, allow for healthy snacks to help manage hunger and reduce bingeing at mealtime. The key is to eat healthy snacks that satisfy your hunger and keep the calorie count low.



Choose healthy snacks.

Select foods that satisfy your hunger, supply your body with energy and provide important nutrients. Opt for snacks of 100 calories or less to stay within your daily calorie goal.  So what are some smart choices? Here are several suggestions for 100-calorie snacks:

  • 1 cup sliced bananas and fresh raspberries (or any fruit)

  • 2 cups of baby carrots

  • 3˝ cups air-popped popcorn

  • 5 Melba toast crackers, rye or pumpernickel

  • 2 tablespoons of peanuts

  • 2 domino-sized slices of low-fat colby or cheddar cheese


100-calorie goal.

A good goal for a between-meal snack is something with fewer than 100 calories. Generous portions of fruits or vegetables can easily help fill you up while staying below that calorie count. All of the following servings have fewer than 100 calories:

  • Medium apple: 95 calories

  • Small banana: 90 calories

  • Two kiwis: 84 calories

  • 20 medium baby carrots: 70 calories

  • 20 grapes: 68 calories

  • Medium orange: 65 calories

  • 20 cherry tomatoes: 61 calories

  • Medium peach: 58 calories

  • Medium red pepper: 37 calories

  • 20 pea pods: 28 calories

For comparison, one reduced-fat cheese stick has about 60 calories, which is well below the 100-calorie goal, but it also has 4.5 grams of fat. While the protein and fat may help curb your appetite, a single cheese stick may not be as satisfying as, say, 20 baby carrots, which add up to nearly 10 times the weight of the cheese stick, have 70 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.


Fresh is best, but….

While fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choices for between-meal snacks, frozen fruits and vegetables are a good alternative. Canned fruit packed in its own juices or water, not in syrup, is a reasonable choice even though the processing does somewhat lower the nutrient value.


Other snack options.

Other snacks that are healthy and low in calories include the following:

  • Popcorn. Two cups of air-popped popcorn have 62 calories and is a good source of nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium.

  • Whole-grain crispbreads. Toasted whole-grain bread crackers, such as rye Melba toast, are good sources of fibre and complex carbohydrates. Five pieces of Melba toast have about 97 calories.

  • Hummus. Hummus is made primarily from chickpeas, a small amount of ground sesame seeds and olive oil. It's a good source of protein. Although it contains fats, they are mostly healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Two tablespoons of hummus — a good dip for a low-calorie vegetable snack has 50 calories and 2.8 grams of fat.

  • Nuts. While nuts may have a bad reputation, research studies have shown that they don't generally contribute to increased calorie intake or weight gain when eaten in moderation, in part because you feel satisfied after eating them. Nuts also have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and overall mortality. Thirteen almonds provide a 100-calorie snack with 7.8 grams of healthy fats.


Making snack time work for you.

Healthy snacking requires planning. Here are some tips to snack sensibly:

  • Keep your house stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy a variety so that you don't get bored with your selection.

  • Keep a supply of frozen or canned fruits at home and work for backup.

  • Don't keep conventional snacks, such as candy or chips, in the house.

  • Have a small amount of mixed nuts when hungry, which will go a long way toward decreasing hunger sensations.

  • Experiment with herbs or spices to make fruits and vegetables more interesting.

  • Prepare snacks in the evening for the next day. For example, before bedtime slice up a red pepper, wash an apple or count out a snack-size serving of grapes. Put the snack in a container so that it's ready to go in the morning.

Planning ahead by having healthy choices on hand can help make your weight-loss or weight-maintenance plan a success.





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