Foods that may harm or help your sleep

Sleep is a big factor in health, mood and energy. We can improve the quality of sleep by adjusting both our environment and diet. Because food has the ability to affect hormones that are directly related to sleep, knowing which foods to eat a few hours before bed or which foods to avoid can help you have a better night’s zZzzZ.

Foods to avoid near bedtime because of their potential to disrupt your sleep:

  1. Food or drinks with caffeine
  2. Alcohol
  3. A high fat meal
  4. Spicy foods

On the other hand, certain foods can help promote better sleep, such as:

  1. Lean proteins – They contain tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin, an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the body that plays a big role in sleep. Examples of lean meats include turkey, chicken, low fat dairy products.
  2. Complex carbs – Choose a bedtime snack with complex carbs. These tend to break down slowly and reduce chances of blood sugar spikes or crashes that could interfere with sleep or appetite. Examples of complex carbs include popcorn, oatmeal, whole grain crackers. In addition, simple carbs such as white breads, pasta, cookies, pastries may reduce serotonin levels, which can make it difficult to have sound sleep.
  3. Herbal tea – Having a nice, warm cup of tea can help you relax and wind down. Choose from chamomile, ginger, lavender or peppermint, all of which are calming choices for bedtime.
  4. Foods high in magnesium – Magnesium is a mineral that has a powerful role in promoting better sleep. A deficiency in magnesium may cause restless sleep and frequently waking during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often helps you have quality sleep without interruptions. Foods high in magnesium include: dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens), nuts and seeds, soybeans or soy milk, banana, avocado, dairy products.
healthy soup

Cold weather soup ideas

With winter here, soups are a popular food item. Personally, I enjoy soups year round. I grew up having soups almost every night and still enjoy them as often as three to four times a week. They’re hearty, hydrating, cozy and warm to sip on and may even be a real powerhouse of nutrients (depends on the soup).

I tend to opt for homemade soups, but when I’m on the go, I’ll choose quick, ready-made soups with an eye on the sugar and sodium content. While looking for homemade soup ideas and recipes online, I came across so many recipes! And I wanted to share here some of the amazing blogs I came across offering a large variety of soup recipes that you may also enjoy.

  1. Healthy Seasonal Recipes “25 Healthy Soup Recipes”
  2. A Sweet Pea Chef’s “10 Healthy Soup Recipes”
  3. Cookie + Kate’s “17 Healthy Vegetarian Soup Recipes”
  4. Whole Food Bellies “13 Homemade Healthy Soup Recipes Made in the Instant Pot”
  5. Feel Good Foodie’s “Soups”

Special thanks to these bloggers for sharing recipes!

workout foods

Best fueling workout foods

Choosing the right foods to fuel your body with before and after your workout can boost your fitness performance and optimize the benefits of exercise. Ready to power through your workout? Keep reading for tips about what to eat before and after a workout to make the most out of it.

As with most topics in nutrition, nutritional advice is best given when based on the individual given their personal circumstance. Each person is different, so keep in mind, these are general recommendations and the best way to get individualized advice is to meet with a dietitian one-on-one.

When should I eat?

The optimal time to eat before a work out is 1.5 to 3 hours before your workout. If you eat too closely to the time you work out, your stomach may hurt.

After working out, make sure to eat within 30 minutes to refuel and rebuild muscle tissue.

What to eat before a workout:

Focus on a combination of complex and simple carbs so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your workout.

  • Peanut butter (2 tablespoons) and celery sticks (2-3 sticks)
  • Small sweet potato with steamed vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil (1 cup)
  • Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)
  • Greek yogurt (6 oz) and nuts
  • Multigrain crackers (8-10 each) with hummus (2 tablespoons)
  • Whole wheat toast (1 slice) with 1/2 sliced banana
  • Smoothie (1/2 cup green leafy vegetable, 1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 handful of berries)

What to eat after a workout:

After a workout, consume protein and some carbohydrate is best immediately after exercise to aid in recovery, maximize exercise benefits, and help maintain lean muscle:

  • Whole wheat toast (1 slice) and scrambled egg (1 each)
  • Hard boiled egg (1 each) and trail mix (1 handful)
  • Protein shake (1/2 cup green leafy vegetable, 1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder)
  • Steamed or sauteed vegetables (1 cup) and non-GMO tofu (1/2 cup)
  • Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with blackberries (1 cup) and pecans (1/4 cup)
  • Whole-wheat bread (2 slices) with turkey (2 slices), guacamole (2 tablespoons)
  • Brown rice (1/2 cup) with beans (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 tablespoons), and salsa
  • Low fat chocolate milk (1 cup)
  • Whole-wheat bread (2 slices) with tuna (3 ounces) mixed with lemon juice (1 oz), salt and pepper to season
  • Greek yogurt (6 oz) with fruit (2 oz) and nuts (2 tablespoons)