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Recipes to Dream About

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A good night’s sleep can change everything. Being well rested not only gives your body and brain time to recharge, but also helps your immune system operate to its full potential and lowers the risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease.

But if you’re spending more time counting sheep than actually catching zzz’s, you’re far from alone. For many of us, it can be tough to get enough sleep. And, over time, there can be troubling consequences that go far beyond feeling like you’re more worn out than your favourite jeans.

For instance, people who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more calories and accumulate visceral fat around the abdomen, potentially contributing to cardiovascular disease risk. Restorative sleep is also important for helping you recover from exercise training and reap more of the benefits from these sweat sessions. So, with all this said, you should do what you can to get the most out of each night.

Poor sleep has a lot of causes, and no one antidote will allow you to bag the sleep you need. Along with proper sleep hygiene—including maintaining a regular sleep schedule, powering down electronics in the last hour or so before bed, and keeping your sleep environment dark and quiet—dietary choices may be one part of the better slumber puzzle.

Science now shows that what you eat can influence how much quality sleep you get. So, with some savvy cooking, there is hope for finally getting the ever-elusive shut-eye of your dreams and feeling like a champ.

These recipes feature the foods you need to help bring on sweet dreams.

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Yogurt Bowl with Tart Cherry Compote

Yogurt Bowl with Tart Cherry Compote
Smoky Lentil Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers

This hearty version of traditional sloppy joes has a tidy helping of sleep-aiding dietary fibre, thanks to its payload of smoky lentils. Swapping out the doughy bun for sweet bell pepper ups the nutritional ante and visual appeal. It’s also superb as leftovers.

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Going Pro

You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.