Sure, it’s best not to fill your belly with a heavy meal just before turning in, but a grumbling stomach isn’t a recipe for sweet dreams, either. Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s TV show Extreme Chef, is known for taking risks and putting together exciting new flavors. So before you reach for the same old cheese and crackers (boring!), try one of his light and nutritious evening snack ideas about an hour before bed
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Chef roasts a dozen small sweet potatoes at a time in the oven, and then keeps them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go snack. He sprinkles them with nutmeg or Chinese five spice, and squeezes lime and agave nectar on top. If you’ve ever felt drowsy after a big meal of spaghetti, you know the effect that carbs can have on getting you ready for sleep. Sweet potatoes pack those same carbs, but contain an extra dose of vitamins and fiber that you won’t find in refined
Turkey on Whole Wheat
You’ve probably heard that turkey can make you sleepy, thanks to an amino acid that it contains called tryptophan. Chef French puts a sweet spin on his sandwiches to keep them light and flavorful: Instead of using mayo, he tops the turkey with agave nectar, a little bit of honey, cinnamon, and fresh tomato slices for a tasty mix of salty and sweet. Opt for half a sandwich (on whole wheat bread) or an open-faced sandwich, rather than a whole.
A Batch of Ceviche
You might not have thought of making this raw seafood salad at home, let alone keeping it for several days in the fridge, but Chef French promises that it’s easy to make. He often keeps a pound of it in the fridge to snack on when he needs a healthy, filling bite. His technique: Dice up some yellow tail or mahimahi with lime juice, agave nectar (notice a theme?), jalapenos, pineapple, tomato, and whatever produce you have on hand. Then scoop out a few spoonfuls whenever you get the munchies. Snooze-worthy bonus: Some evidence links omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish to better sleep.
Whatever you decide to eat in the evening, just make sure that it isn’t one of these foods that are bound to lead to tossing and turning.