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.
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.
Tender tofu and fresh-tasting mango sauce combine to make a nutritious, Japanese-style dessert with little effort. But don’t worry: your dessert will not taste beany. Silken soft tofu has a rather neutral flavour. The key here is to use blocks of very soft tofu as opposed to firm or extra-firm versions. Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. It has the highest water content of all types of tofu and is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. It’s ultra-soft texture means it can be easily blended with other ingredients and used to boost protein numbers in puddings, cakes, tarts, ice cream, and even smoothies.
Fool is a classic English dessert made, traditionally, by folding a stewed fruit into a creamy, sweet custard. This modern take adds layers of sweet pumpkin flavour and swaps out much of the cream for higher-protein Greek yogurt. The crunchy chocolate topping is a special finishing touch. Beat it It’s the fat in cream that helps trap air bubbles that make it light and fluffy. If it gets too warm, the fat melts and the air escapes. Start with a cold bowl and beaters (or a cold balloon whisk, if you’re whipping by hand). Put your bowl (ideally a stainless one) and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping. They’ll chill easily and help keep everything cool during the whipping process.
Blondies are basically “blonde brownies.” There is no cocoa or melted chocolate in the batter of a blondie. Here, the nutritionally lacklustre all-purpose flour is swapped out for puréed beans for a higher dose of protein. The end result is just as tender and chewy without any noticeable bean flavour. A great potluck dessert option, too. If desired, chopped nuts can be used instead of chocolate chips. Squeeze play To easily fit a piece of parchment paper into a baking dish, run it under cold water for a couple of seconds, scrunch it up, and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Now it will effortlessly form into the pan.