Bedtime Snacking... Yay or Nay?

“So, you’re not supposed to eat after a certain time of night, right?” 

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I get asked this ALL. THE. TIME.  And my answer is always the same... “It depends.” 

 

First of all, if you know me and my nutrition philosophy, you know I don’t think there really is a “supposed to” when it comes to nutrition and, also, that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.  However, the answer to this question can depend on what you’ve been eating the rest of the day. 

 

For instance, are you snacking because you’ve had balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and want something to hold you over through the night?  Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, which would make bedtime snacking potentially very important?  Or did you skip meals all day and are now starving and just want to cram some junk food down to fill the void from the lack of nutrients all day?   Or are you emotionally eating?   Or maybe something I haven’t listed here, but the point is.. there are a lot of things that can contribute to whether snacking at bedtime is a good or not so necessary idea, but I would always redirect someone back to mindful eating.  Ask yourself if you’re eating because your body is need of some fuel or are you eating because of boredom, stress, etc.? 

 

All that being said… bedtime snacking CAN be beneficial and even lead to a better night's sleep!  HOORAY (that’s what you wanted to hear, right?)!  Let me tell you how...

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Use my code "DGW" for 20% off  Drink Sleepy Head

Use my code "DGW" for 20% off Drink Sleepy Head

The first thing is… you want to make sure your snacking is part of a balanced day.  Meaning you’ve been eating nutritious, balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and haven’t been over doing it.  The second thing is, making sure the snack is balanced and nutritious itself.  So, probably not ice cream or chips (every now and then.. yes, of course indulge because balance is important, but not on the reg).   When I say “balanced” snack I mean a snack composed of a variety of macronutrients (protein, healthy fat/complex carbs).  This is important because a balanced snack will slow digestion, keeping you satisfied longer, offer more nutrition and regulate blood sugars better throughout the night which can help you sleep better throughout the night, too... wink, wink. 

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Here are some ideas for healthy snacking:

-Apple and almond butter

-Grain free crackers or veggies and hummus

-Gran free chips and guac/salsa/bean dip

-Greek yogurt with fruit and grain-free granola

-1/2 a sandwich

-Certain health bars

-Drink Sleepyhead hot bevs along with one of these tasty snacks to help you wind down and get a good night’s rest

-Handful of mixed nuts

-Energy balls

 

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Easy Homemade Hummus

My love affair with the Vitamix continues... 

It's just....

so...

EASY TO USE.  It's almost toooooo easy, but I mean that in a great way.  This time I made some homemade hummus.

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas (low-sodium) WITH the liquid

-1/4 cup tahini, stirred (homemade or store bought)

-1/4 cup lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)

-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1/4 heaping tsp cumin

-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 tsp salt

Toppings for Serving:

-paprika

-parsley

Instructions:   Set 2 Tbsp chickpeas off to the side for serving.  Place the remaining chickpeas and liquid, along with all of the other ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt) into your Vitamix or food processor.  Turn Vitamix on regular setting starting at setting 1 and slowly moving up to 10.   Smooth until well blended; if necessary add in a little more liquid for consistency.  Pour into a serving bowl and place the chickpeas you set aside in the center.  Sprinkle with Paprika and parsley.  Serve with veggies or pita chips or whatever the heck you want! 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Sweet Potato Squash Smoothie

HALLOWEEEEEEN.  So, Halloween is actually my absolute favorite holiday.  I used to throw Halloween parties annually and make jello shots for everyone.  This was quite a few years ago now (so quit judging me), but I still LOVE to celebrate Halloween and fall (when Mother Nature actually gives us fall).  So post my yoga-sculpt class I decided....  It's fall.  It's Halloween.  Time to step away from my green smoothie for a minute and get seasonal with this orangey goodness.  

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Ingredients:

-1/2 small organic sweet potato

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-6 frozen butternut squash cubes 

-2 diced roasted carrots seasoned in cinnamon and sea salt

-1/2 cup frozen cauliflower

-1/4 cup cashew milk

-1/4 cup water

-dash of pumpkin pie spice

- 1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-1 scoop Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey

Instructions: BLEND, BABY, BLEND.  Topped with grain free pumpkin granola and delicious Manna Organics Cinnamon & Date Nut Butter and Coconut flakes.  

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls

Pumpkin e'rythang, AMIRITE?!  So these are actually SERIOUSLY delish, you guys.  SRSLY.   Like, how can they be good for me and taste this good delish.  If you haven't gotten on the energy ball train yet, hop aboard.  I've made others in the past and just to reiterate.. they make great pre-workout bites and or snacks/desserts.  These particular ones are on the sweeter side, but it's pumpkin season and I have a lot of organic canned pumpkin left over so I gotta get creative and along came these...

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Ingredients:

-1/4 cup organic cashews

-1/2 cup oats

-1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin

-1/4 cup organic maple syrup

-2 scoops Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey (click here to purchase)

-1/2 cup Nut butter/Peanut butter

-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

-1/4 cup almond flour

 

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Instructions: Blend oats and cashews until you get a powder (flour-like consistency).  In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, maple syrup and nut butter.  Stir until combined and then add the oat/cashew powder.  Stir in chia seeds, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, and almond flour.   Consistency will be stickyyyyy.  So let chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins.  Remove and roll into balls about 3/4" in size.  Store in the fridge and enjoy one before your workout or in between meals as a snack.  Party, party, party....

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

D's Go-To Green Smoothie

Also known as the "Basic AF" smoothie.  I'll be honest, my breakfast and lunch during the week tend to stay prettyyyyyy boring.  I usually have just about the same thing every day during the week.  I do this for a couple of reasons... 1). It doesn't bother me at all.  I don't get bored.  2.) It makes my daily routine and sticking to a healthy game plan that much easier because it takes the "think" out of it.  I'm used to making my go-to smoothie. so I prep it the night before and blend it in the mornin' and off I go.  No time wasted in the AM. 

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I do occasionally make modifications to get some new nutrients in there, but for the most part I can trust on old faithful here to get the job done and be on the go.  So now I will share it with you. :)

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Ingredients:

-2 cups spinach or kale

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-1/2 cucumber

-1/2 green apple

-4-5 frozen pineapple chunks (option to use cauliflower chunks instead for less sugar)

-1 tbsp Spirulina

-1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-3 dashes turmeric

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-2 scoops collagen peptides

-1/4 cup water

Instructions:  Just chop veggies/fruits and blend ingredients.  Because I prep the night before I will add the spinach or kale, cucumber, apple, spirulina, maca, chia and Ashwagandha and leave unblended.  Then in the morning I add the water and blend that.  After blending I add the pineapple, turmeric, pepper and collagen and blend once more. 

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Now you may be asking yourself, what the hell is with all the potions and powders?  I'll briefly discuss the benefits of all of these little gems in more detail.

Collagen Peptides:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human bod.  As we age, we stop making enough.  Adding collagen into the diet can help replenish some we've lost and is beneficial for gut health, digestion, hair, skin, nails, joints and bones.  

Spirulina:

A high protein, very nutrient-dense algae powder.  It also contains fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory benefits and many antioxidants.  Some studies suggest Spirulina may help with heavy metal toxicity and with allergies.

Maca Powder:

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable and very nutrient dense.  It has been associated with several hormonal balancing benefits.

Chia Seeds:

Another nutrient-dense "superfood," as they say... chia seeds are associated with benefits related to healthier skin, aging, digestion, energy and heart health.

Ashwagandha:

An herb commonly used in Ayurvedic healing or Chinese medicine.  It is often compared to ginseng for it's adaptogenic properties.  Associated benefits range from improved immune system to reductions in stress and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Feel free to use the "potions" or ditch 'em.  Get creative and add your own!  Feel free to share your recipes/modifications below. :)

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Avocado Acai Bowl

Looks ain't everythang, eh?  Full disclosure here.  I F'd up.  My intention was to make a purdy purple acai bowl and here we have pea soup colored acai bowl.  All good, man!  Gotta roll with it.  Still delish and nutrish (totally a word). 

Ingredients:

-1 cup kale

-1/2 cup frozen red berries (raspberries, strawberries)

-1/2 frozen nana

-1/2 avocado

-2 scoops collagen peptides (optional, omit if vegan ;-) )

-1.5 teaspoon acai powder

Toppings:

-berries

-coconut flakes

-pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

-drizzle sprouted almond butter

Instructions: Blend 'er up.  Slurp 'er down.

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Pitaya Pretty

Namaste in bed.  Siiike! I actually did go for a solid run today and made this delish post-run Pitaya smoothie.  Super simple.  Super tasty.  Super nutritious.  Easy like Sunday morning...  but now that I did all that I am legit going to go relax in bed.  SUNDAZE.

Ingredients:

-1 pack Pitaya Plus

-1 frozen banana

-1/4 cup frozen berries

-1/2 cup cashew milk

-1 cup frozen cauliflower

Toppings:

-Almond Butter

-coconut flakes

Instructions:  Blend that shiz.  Top with creamy almond butter and coconut flakes.  I use Manna Organics nut butters because they are TASTY.

 

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Energy Ballin'.

DISCLAIMER:  NO DOGS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE BALLS.  NOR WERE THEY PROVIDED ENERGY BALLS.

They were provided treats, though, for their short-lived cooperation and cuteness.

Discovering energy balls was a little life changing for me (I'm a dietitian, these nerdy things excite me).  Need a pre-workout snack?  Energy ball.  Craving something a little sweet, but want to stay on track with your healthy eating?  Energy ball.  Late night dessert that won't break your diet bank?  Energy ball.  They are universal.  Taking the time to make them one day out of the week is 100% worth it in regards to the amount of time you'll save when you're trying to eat healthy and you're a busy human ('busy human' is kind of redundant). 

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There's TONS of recipes out there so I encourage you to play around with them.  You can make these vegan or add in Collagen Peptides; make them sweeter or make low-sugar options.. whatever you like!  You do you.

I've tried a variety.  Some of these balls are inspired by other food blog babes and some are my own experiments, but here are a few different recipes to try to get you started.


Little Bits of real Food's (IG: @littlebitsof-realfood) Vanilla Shortbread Energy Balls with Vital Proteins (modified):

- 1 1/2 cups almond flour

-1/4 cup Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (I used these, the original recipe used the vanilla collagen peptides)

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-8 pitted dates

-pinch of salt

-2 tablespoons of water

Combine all ingredients and blend.  Mix in water and pulse again for doughier consistency.  Scoop out the dough into balls whatever size you prefer.  I rolled mine in coconut flakes.  Put in the fridge or freezer to harden and eat throughout the week, as desired!

**LOW SUGAR OPTION: Omit or use less dates.

 


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Balance with B's (@balancewithb) No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (modified):

-1 cup gluten free oats

5 medjool dates

-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

-3 tablespoons creamy almond butter

-1/2 tablespoon of warm water

-sprinkle in a few pinches of salt

-sprinkle in Cacao Nibs

Pulse the oats to get a flour-like consistency.  Add dates and pulse until combined. Add in the vanilla, almond butter, sea salt and pulse to get a dough-like consistency.  Add the warm water in, as needed, to get the mix to stick together.  Add Cacao Nibs in and pulse or sprinkle into the dough.  I sprinkled them in.   Roll into balls and store in the fridge/freezer in an air tight container.  Enjoy!


D's Cinnamon Maca Balls

-1 1/2 cups almond butter

-1 tablespoon maca powder

-1/4 cup oats

-1 scoop Vital Proteins

-1/2 cup dates

-1/4 cup cashew milk

-dash of Himalayan pink sea salt

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-cinnamon (generously)

Blend all ingredients to form dough-like consistency.  Roll into balls.  Easy peasy.

 

Woohoo! I made it through the whole thing without making a bad joke about "balls!"

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN