Midnight hunger pangs? These 10 healthy late-night snacks will satisfy your cravings without inflating your gut.
While surfing through HBO, World Movies and Sony Pix for late night movies, your stomach starts to rumble. Don't nuke that leftover fried rice or inhale a tub of ice cream. Many people tend to take in between 25% to 65% of their day's calories at night. The problem with this strategy: When you overeat before bed, your body is much more likely to store those calories as fat. You can still eat something. It just needs to be the right snack. A couple of rules: Stick to less than 300 calories – anything more is a meal. And wait at least an hour before hitting the sack so you have plenty of time to digest.
Blend buttermilk or yogurt, strawberries, and a teaspoon of honey for a refreshing protein shake that's also chockfull of digestion-enhancing probiotics.
A cup of orange segments is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre. Toss into a blender with alittleartificial sweetener for a delicious low cal sorbet.
If you're an ice cream lover, try this lean alternative: Pour a homemade smoothie (like the yogurt-strawberry mixture earlier) into ice cube trays, then freeze until slushy.
Crackers Or Toast
For a filling, high protein snack spread on some hummus (cooked, smashed kabuli channa mixed with a little roasted ground sesame aka tahini and dash of olive oil). Or top with a little cooked shredded chicken breast.
Spread crumbled, spiced low-fat paneer and corn over a slice of whole wheat bread or chapatti,fold over, then toast both sides on a cast-iron skillet or grill.
Skip the butter and air-pop your own. Then raid your spice cabinet: Use amchur powder for tang, chilli powder for heat, or a dash of cinnamon for sweetness.
Home made dahi is high in protein, so it can really fill you up. For more flavour, mix in fruit, like sliced papaya.
The darker the better. Chocolate made with at least 70 per cent cocoa contains less sugar and more antioxidants than its milky cousin.
One Food, Four Ways Sweet Potato
There are plenty of ways to take this lean-gut staple beyond the plain potato bhaji.
It's a nutritional powerhouse – ideal whether you're trying to cut carbs and lose weight, or bulk up and build muscles. Here are some unique ways to get more sweet potatoes on your plate.
1. Grab some as snack…
· Make your own homemade sweet potato chips. To get started turn your oven to about 200 degrees Celsius. While it warms, microwave a couple of medium peeled sweet potatoes for a minute. Cut the warm spuds into very thin slices. Then toss them with fresh herbs (dill) or dried rosemary or thyme and a bit of oil. Bake them in single layer on a non-stick baking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes, or until crispy. For more flavour, use salt and pepper or a bit of balsamic vinegar.
2. Eat 'em for breakfast…
· Microwave a sweet potato until soft, about 4 minutes. Cut in half and mash insides with a fork. Top with a couple of poached eggs. Serve with sauce: Combine 1/4 cup lightly beaten egg, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp yellow mustard and a dash of chilli powder or cayenne pepper. Warm sauce in the microwave (don't cook too long or it may curdle).
3. Mix with your rice…
· Finely dice a sweet potato and dump it into the water when you start cooking the rice. Let the mixture come to a boil and steam. When done, fluff with a fork, then stir in additional ingredients such as chopped almonds or mint. Serve with grilled chicken.
4. Blend them…
· To make a delicious sweet potato soup, toss a diced onion and 2 tbsp oil in a large pot and cook until tender. Add a dash of garam masala, the flesh of 3 precooked sweet potatoes, and 5 cups of vegetable stock, then bring the mixture to a boil. Let cool, then pour into a blender. Process until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in a cup of coconut milk and _ cup of water. Heat until warm.
Cooking Tips 'N' Tricks
For grilled spuds
Boil a few whole sweet potatoes in their skin for about 10 minutes. Slice lengthwise into wedges. Brush with oil, then place directly on the grill. Cook for one to two minutes on each side, or until crispy.
For potatoes in a hurry
Prepare a large batch of sweet potatoes. Let cool, then wrap the cooked potatoes individually in plastic wrap or zip-close bags. Toss in the freezer to defrost and eat later on.
For sweeter sweet potatoes
Go slow and low. Cooking slowly allows the sugars in the potato to caramelize and brings out its natural sweetness. Try baking your spuds at 175oC for around an hour.
For a more savory dish
Cook for speed. Aim to soften the potato's flesh as quickly as possible, by boiling or microwaving for example. This helps bring out the potato's earthy, less sweet flavour.
Fight Hypertenson With Fibre
If you want to avoid high blood pressure, you might try reaching for some whole grain crackers, says a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In a study of 31,684 male health professionals who were followed for 18 years, researchers found that men who ate the most whole grains each day (an average of 46 grams) were 19 per cent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate the least (an average of 3.3 grams per day). Additionally, those who ate the highest amounts of bran (an average of 1 grams per day) were 15 per cent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate the lowest (.3 grams per day). These associations were independent of other lifestyle factors, the study authors noted.