Saturday, January 26, 2013

Midnight Snack Foods To Help You Sleep

If you’ve ever laid awake waiting for dreamland, and thoughts of food spin around in your head instead, you are not alone. Midnight cravings happen to everyone at some time or other. Ignoring the snack attack doesn't always work. A trip to the kitchen is sometimes all that will make the cravings disappear. But, you still want to get back to sleep, so the last thing you want to do is reach for something that is going to keep you up all night. You want to have food on hand that will have a soothing effect on you. You want sleep to come again at some point that night. So, what are some of the best foods you can snack on that will help you sleep?

Milk

Drinking a glass of milk will help you sleep for two reasons. Milk will satisfy your hunger. Milk also contains tryptophan which enhances relaxation and will make you drowsy and ready to lay your head back down. Warm milk will especially trigger that sleepy feeling. Sip a mug of warm milk and you will be dreaming in no time.

Turkey

Like milk, turkey contains tryptophan. If you’ve ever enjoyed a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, you know how a nap after dinner sounds. Irresistible. Of course, you don't have to roast a huge turkey when you want to stock the refrigerator with this sleep-inducer. You can easily find turkey breasts to roast and have on hand. Enjoy a few slices of cold turkey for a simple, fast snack, or make a nice sandwich. Use whole grain bread which is high in complex carbs, which are also part of the formula to make you sleepy.

Fruit

Choose fruit to snack on in order to maintain your diet, but choose bananas and cherries in particular to help you sleep. Bananas contain minerals that relax the muscles, as well as tryptophan, just like turkey and milk. Cherries and cherry juice boost the bodies production of melatonin which the body needs to sleep. If you fill a bowl with bananas and pour a bit of hot milk over, you've got a snack that is Mr. Sandman's best little helper.

Oatmeal

If you want a relaxing treat, you can't go wrong with a warm bowl of oatmeal. Because oatmeal is loaded with sleep inducing nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, it only makes sense that this comforting food could also be a valuable midnight snack. Of course, this is another opportunity to enjoy some warm milk. With a warm bowl of oatmeal, you have a double dose of sleepy-time snacking.

Wine

Although we know alcohol in excess will prevent you from getting a good night's sleep, a single glass of wine will relax your body and mind. For many people, this is the perfect end to a hectic day. Adding a glass of wine to your evening routine may help you relax enough to let Mr. Sandman do his job. Remember, too much wine will either keep you awake or cause you to wake in the middle of the night. Try a mug of mulled wine for the ultimate experience in relaxation.

Just because we have a case of the midnight munchies doesn’t mean we have to be up for hours contemplating what we will eat. If we choose the right kind of foods when the late night snack attack hits, we'll be able to slip into sleep time with less effort. Get back on a normal sleep schedule with less stress by enjoying these sleepy time foods.

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts > Whole Foods Market Recall Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Because of Possible Health Risk from Listeria

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts > Whole Foods Market Recall Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Because of Possible Health Risk from Listeria

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Keep Healthier Snacks On Hand For Those Midnight Cravings

We all know it’s not good to eat right before bed or late at night. This type of behavior can throw off our sleep and put any diet out of whack in no time. However, there are ways to bend the rules a bit as long as we have a plan and a supply of healthy snacks on hand at all hours of the day or night. So, what are some healthy snacks that will satisfy our snack attack, yet not break our diet and keep us up all night? Let's take a look at a few healthier late night snacks.

Keep Fruit Handy

Fruit is an easy, healthy way to satisfy your hunger without blowing your diet. Apple slices with peanut butter, a bowl of grapes or berries, bananas, or orange slices are a few ideas that you can keep on hand in case of the late night munchies. Besides being healthy, slowly nibbling on fruit that's juicy, crunchy, rich, or just plain sweet satisfies our urge to chew, which is often what's causing our craving to begin with. We're not so much hungry as just wanting to satisfy our need to nibble.

Veggies Any Time

Although veggies don't seem like the thing you would crave late at night, they are a definite must to help satisfy your urge to snack without blowing your diet. Vegetables are low in fat and calories and are full of vitamins which are excellent for your overall health. Carrots, celery sticks, cauliflower, cucumber slices, or even radishes can help maintain your diet and still fulfill those cravings. A tiny bit of dip or salad dressing will help make the veggies more desirable. Again, it is often the chewing urge that gets us up out of bed and standing at the refrigerator. Be sure to have lots and lots of cut up, ready to eat, fresh veggies and you'll be back in bed before you know it, and without busting your diet wide open, or having stuffed yourself too full to sleep.

Pop Goes the Snack

A small bowl of popcorn can help to satisfy the need to snack, both filling your tummy and giving you something to crunch. Be mindful of the toppings, as this is sometimes where the diet goes astray. Instead of buttery toppings, try a sprinkle of grated cheese, herbs, or seasonings. If you like a sweet snack at night, try a sprinkle of cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg to create a sweet, satisfying taste. Popcorn itself is low in calories and high in fiber. Again, beware of the brand of popcorn and the ingredients listed. Choose the most natural popcorn you can, then you decide on which healthier toppings to add.

Go Nuts

Nuts are a great snack because a small amount will give you that 'full' feeling. That is because of the fat, which is needed in all diets to give your tummy the signal that it's full. In the case of nuts, the fat is healthy for you, so you get the good nutrients and the satisfaction. This is especially important at night when you want to eat a small amount of food but still feel full so you can get to sleep. Pecans, cashews, almonds, walnuts, or peanuts are powerhouses of nutrition to keep on hand at all times, night or day.

Drink Your Fill

Drinking something when you're hungry may not seem like it would satisfy your urge to snack, but a glass of milk or even water can sway those cravings and cause that sleepy, ready-for-bed feeling. Of course, you can add small amounts of food with your drink, such as a piece of cheese or a few whole wheat crackers. But, sometimes just a tummy filled with a soothing beverage is enough to drive those cravings away. Make smart beverage choices and see if you can put the munchies to rest before you dive into a snack that will ruin your diet, and possibly your night.

The key to satisfying the midnight munchies in a healthier manner is to be prepared. Keep healthier foods on hand that are easy to grab and nibble on when the cravings hit. Rather than grabbing that deep fried, oil saturated, sugary, or sodium laden junk food, keep a few of these healthier choices handy so when the urge to snack hits (and it will!) you'll have something to fend off the attack... in a healthier way. Snack happy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ideas For Breaking The Snacking Habit

When the midnight munchies strike, is it out of hunger or habit? After awhile, it can be hard to tell. Are you reaching for the snacks because you didn't eat enough during the day, or is there simply a well-worn path to the refrigerator that you continue to follow? Distinguishing the difference between a need for nutrition and a lapse into an old habit is important to eliminate those extra, and empty, calories at night. Let's take a look at some ideas for breaking the snacking habit.

Eat Early and Often

Get your motor, your metabolism, running as soon as you wake up and keep it going all day with healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. If you deny your body fuel all day with a restrictive diet, you'll receive gentle reminders around bedtime that you're hungry.

Protein Beats Carbs

Carb craving is one of the most common snack nuisances. When bedtime rolls around, the soothing call of carbs can be especially haunting. But the type of carbs we crave causes a spike in blood sugar, making it harder to relax and sleep. Protein makes you feel full, just like carbs. But, unlike carbs, there is no spike in blood sugar. A diet rich in protein has the result of retraining your body, and your brain, to quit relying on carbs to feel full.

Schedule a Snack

Just like dieting, snacking healthier requires planning. Rather than wait for the snack attack to hit just before bedtime, plan to nibble on something light and healthy about an hour before getting ready for bed. Don't let a craving lead you to bad snack decisions. If you have it ready and scheduled, you're in control.

Snack Portion Control

And, speaking of control, quit digging in that big bag of chips or cookies. If you must have a snack like this before bed, take a measured amount out to serve yourself. You'll be surprised how eating mindlessly out of a bag can add up to super-sized portions. Decide how many chips, cookies, or whatever you want to eat and put just that portion on your snack plate.

Stay Busy

Are you hungry or are you bored? Boredom can create a feeling like hunger. Boredom can also have you blazing a trail to the refrigerator simply out of habit. When it comes time to relax before bed, find an activity to keep your attention away from the snacks. Play games, pet the dog, brush the cat, take a walk, give yourself a manicure... anything that takes you away from the old snacking routine.

New Bed Time

If you find yourself sitting up late at night in front of the television with a bowl of ice cream, stop. Turn off the lights and go to bed. Many people who snack late at night do so because they get bored. As suggested above, keeping busy can help keep your mind, and your hands, off the snacks. However, just getting out of your chair and going to bed can solve the desire to snack, too. Simply put, if you usually go to bed at 11 o'clock, and routinely get a snack attack at 10 o'clock, move your bedtime up to 10 o'clock. It's worth a try to avoid the munchies and save your healthy diet.

Brush Teeth

This may sound silly, but it works. Brushing your teeth before your usual snack attack time actually interrupts your taste buds from craving food. Just think about eating a bowl of ice cream after you brush your teeth. Not very appetizing, is it? Brushing your teeth earlier in the evening also works to push bedtime up, another good way to avoid those cravings.

Much of our late night snacking originates from our routines, which can lead to bad eating habits. Turn those bad habits into good habits to eliminate mindless midnight snacking and eat healthier.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DASH Diet Ranked Best Overall -- See What's Second

DASH Diet Ranked Best Overall -- See What's Second
A new ranking of diets by U.S. News & World Report gives top honors for best overall diet to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

Monday, January 7, 2013