It’s hard to ignore cravings at any time, but when they occur in the middle of the night, it gets even more challenging. As hard as you might try to eat healthily throughout the day, it’s much harder to maintain that willpower late at night.
You might find yourself being woken up by cravings, leaving you tossing and turning around in bed to get comfortable, but all you can think about is your favorite snack in the kitchen cupboard. One bite won’t hurt, right?
Registered dietitian and founder at Senta Health, Ali Bandier, told Newsweek that the key to conquering those cravings is by incorporating “sleep-promoting nutrients like magnesium” into your diet, which can be done with one simple snack.
She said: “You can increase the levels of magnesium in your body by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and lean proteins like chicken and sea food.
“Almonds are a great source of magnesium if you are concerned about being deficient, but just a one-ounce handful of almonds as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet should be enough to provide the benefits.”
Whether you’ve already tried eating your dinner later in the evening, increasing your intake of carbohydrates, or drinking more water throughout the day—a handful of almonds before you go to sleep could be the simple solution to cutting out nighttime snacking.
The body needs magnesium for a variety of reasons, including brain and heart function, as well as improved bone health. The National Institute of Health recommends between 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium per day for adult males, and women should get between 310 to 320 milligrams a day.
If the notion of eating a few almonds in the evening to help you sleep seems peculiar, it’s worth noting that the website, WebMD, says that one ounce of this healthy snack can contain almost 20 percent of your recommended daily magnesium intake.
So, a handful of almonds before bed could be the secret to getting an undisturbed sleep, without waking up feeling hungry once again.A stock image of a woman eating a healthy bowl of food in her home. A dietitian has spoken to Newsweek about the importance of almonds as a source of magnesium, which can help to improve sleep quality. djiledesign/Getty Images How Can Almonds Help You Sleep Better?
Bandier, from New York, explained that magnesium can aid sleep by triggering the part of the nervous system which helps to promote relaxation.
“Magnesium is believed to aid in a restful night’s sleep by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping you feel calm and relaxed. It also regulates melatonin, a hormone that regulates a person’s sleep-wake cycles, which has also become a popular sleeping supplement on its own,” she said.
“Two thirds of the Western world may be deficient in magnesium, so almonds are a great source of this vital nutrient for this population.”
The autonomic nervous system comprises of two parts: sympathetic and parasympathetic. While the sympathetic nervous system fuels the body’s fight or flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system does quite the opposite, as it controls the body’s ability to relax.
The parasympathetic nervous system can help to regulate a person’s breathing by slowing down their heart rate, and aiding digestion to push food through the intestines.
The extra magnesium found in almonds can prompt the body to start winding down and relaxing, but it’s not just falling asleep that it can help with. A study looking into the effects of magnesium on sleep quality found that participants who took a 500-milligram supplement of the mineral experienced a deeper and longer sleep, compared to those who took the placebo.Ali Bandier, from New York City, is a registered dietitian who has helped many patients optimize their nutrition. Eating a small amount of almonds each day could prove beneficial to improve sleep and reduce cravings. Ali Bandier
While many foods contain magnesium, the added bonus that comes with eating almonds is that they’re also loaded with melatonin. This hormone regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle by promoting the circadian rhythm—essentially, your body clock.
As explained by The Sleep Foundation, melatonin is the sleep hormone, as it can help you drift off to sleep, as well as maintaining good quality rest throughout the night.Ways To Incorporate More Almonds
Bandier, who has worked at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and helped many families improve their nutrition, adds that almonds are filled with healthy properties, aside from magnesium and melatonin. “They also contain fiber, vitamin E, calcium, and healthy fats,” she continued.
Eating almonds at any point in the day is highly recommended, as the body can reap their benefits at all times. However, if you’re specifically looking for ways to aid sleep and overcome any late-night cravings, almonds are best eaten in the evening.
Bandier said: “To aid in sleep, foods with magnesium can be eaten anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime. Following a proper bedtime routine, snacking on a handful of almonds, or incorporating them as part of your dinner may help ease you into a relaxing evening and, in turn, support better sleep.”
If grazing on a handful of almonds isn’t quite the appetizing evening snack you had in mind (because let’s be honest, chocolate is far more tempting), Bandier offers other ways of incorporating the nuts into your daily meals instead.
“Tryptophan and melatonin are both known to support better sleep quality. These nutrients can both be found in eggs, milk, and fish. Try incorporating these ingredients into your dinners to aid in a better night’s sleep,” she said.
“Almonds are also great when mixed into a Greek yoghurt, as a topping for overnight oats, a crunchy addition to a salad, or as almond butter spread on wholewheat toast.”
Is there a health issue that’s worrying you? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.
Revealed: The 7 foods you should NEVER cook in an air fryer, according to experts
It’s the must-have kitchen gadget at the moment, loved by celebrities including Sir Mo Farah, Drew Barrymore, and Oprah Winfrey.
Air fryers use hot air rather than hot oil to cook foods, offering a quick and healthy alternative to deep-fat fryers.
However, while the appliance can be used to cook a number of foods including chips, pizza and falafels, there are several other products that are not suitable.
Which? has revealed a list of seven popular foods that you should never cook in an air fryer.
‘You can get away with cooking almost anything in an air fryer, but some foods will cause a lot more mess than necessary or might even pose a safety risk,’ Which? explained.
While air fryers can be used to cook a number of foods including chips, pizza and falafels, there are several other products that are not suitable. Which? has revealed a list of seven popular foods that you should never cook in an air fryer1. Popcorn
If you’re planning a movie night, you might be tempted to pop some popcorn kernels in the air fryer.
However, Which? advises using the microwave instead – or you could be waiting a while.
‘Cooking popcorn in your air fryer might not even work because most air fryers don’t reach a high enough temperature to pop the kernels,’ it explained.
‘The good old microwave will do a much better job.’2. Pasta and pasta sauce
Unsurprisingly, you can’t use an air fryer to cook raw pasta, since you need to put it in boiling water.
And while cooking pasta sauces in an air fryer is technically possible, it will probably get very messy.
‘You can use an air fryer to reheat pasta and sauce that’s already been cooked but the microwave is a more efficient way to do this,’ Which? advises.3. Toast
Like pasta sauce, toast isn’t impossible to cook in the air fryer.
However, you’re likely to be disappointed with the results, compared to toast made in the toaster or under the grill.
‘The air fryer can dry out the bread and crumbs can get stuck at the bottom of the basket as the toast is blown around during cooking,’ Which? explained.
‘You’ll also need to flip it halfway. It’s just not worth the effort.’
Air fryers use hot air rather than hot oil to cook foods, offering a quick and healthy alternative to deep-fat fryers4. Rice
Cooking rice from scratch requires water, so the air fryer just isn’t suitable.
‘An air fryer isn’t a go-to appliance for boiling and steaming – you’re better off sticking to a slow cooker or a pot on the hob,’ Which? said. 5. Fresh greens
If you’re a fan of kale crisps, you might be tempted to throw some fresh greens in your air fryer.
However, this won’t give you crunchy crisps.
Lettuce, kale and spinach leaves are so lightweight that they’ll likely be blown around the air fryer, creating more of a mess than a delicious snack. 6. Cheese (unless it’s halloumi)
While frozen cheese products such as breaded cheese bites or mozzarella sticks are fine to cook in the air fryer, it’s best to avoid using any fresh cheese.
Most fresh cheese has a low melting temperature, which means it can quickly burn.
The only exception to this rule is halloumi, which is safe to cook in the air fryer thanks to its higher melting point. 7. Whole chicken
Unless you have an enormous air fryer, avoid putting a whole chicken in there.
Air fryers need enough room to let the hot air circulate, and a whole chicken would take up too much space to allow this to happen.
This means a whole chicken is likely to burn on the outside, and remain raw on the inside.
‘Cooking whole roasts such as roast chicken can be problematic, so joint your bird first before frying,’ Which? said.So, what can you cook in an air fryer?
Aside from the seven items mentioned, you can get away with cooking almost anything in an air fryer.
Which? added: ‘As well as chicken and chips, other popular choices include potatoes, roasted vegetables, falafel, fish, pizza and even baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
‘Air fryers can also be useful for quickly cooking and crisping up frozen foods and snacks such as fish fingers, chicken nuggets, spring rolls and pies.’READ MORE: The most common air fryer fails and how to fix them – from dry chicken to undercooked chips
Since Oprah Winfrey named it one of her favorite kitchen appliances back in 2013, the humble air fryer has surged in popularity, and is now a staple feature in many people’s kitchens.
The appliance uses hot air rather than hot oil to cook foods, offering a quick and healthy alternative to deep-fat fryers.
However, after purchasing an air fryer, many budding chefs have learned the hard way that there’s a bit of learning curve to mastering the appliance.
Thankfully, help is at hand, as Which? has revealed the most common air fryer fails – as well as how to fix them.
Speaking to MailOnline, Emily Seymour, Which? Energy Editor, said: ‘Air fryers are generally easy to use, but it is possible for things to go badly wrong. If you overfill your machine or don’t clean it properly you could end up with undercooked chicken and chips or a kitchen full of smoke.’
after purchasing an air fryer, many budding chefs have learned the hard way that there’s a bit of learning curve to mastering the appliance
Our Top Tips for Turning Snacks Into a Meal
We’re big snack people here at Food & Wine — we’re a group of people who love to crunch, dip, and graze throughout the day. I mean, if you looked at just our Slack threads and desks (especially the snack sampling station), you’d think the magazine was called Snacks & Wine. We’ve done taste tests to find the best gourmet popcorn, celebrated some of our favorite snacks from around the world, and even created a menu for “The Throwback Holiday Snack Party of Your Dreams” (hello, cheese ball!) And while snacks are obviously perfect for enjoying in between meals, we strongly believe that they’re also worthy of being the whole dang meal. Because who has the time or energy to turn out a full-on main course and side dish every single night?
Obviously, a platter of pigs in a blanket can be dinner. But we believe potato chips smeared with crème fraîche and topped with hefty dollops of caviar can also be dinner. Or herby dips with plenty of crudités and crackers. You can load up a plate with a single snack, or mix and match three or four snacks into your own personal tasting menu. After all, one of the greatest things about snack dinners is that they can be whatever you need them to be to suit your mood and appetite.Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Join us this week as we ditch the rules of what dinner “should” be and embrace our snacks. Here are our top 10 tips for turning snacks into an epic meal, from a collection of dinner-worthy dips to pointers on how you can transform leftover snacks into a meal. Read on, and snack away.1. Be Fancy, or Don’t Sarah Crowder
Maybe your dream snack dinner is a platter that includes a tin of caviar and some pâté; maybe it’s a plate of wings with creamy blue cheese dressing on the side; maybe it’s a charcuterie board with honey and preserves. Whatever you love to snack on, lean into that and build the snack spread of your dreams. If you’re looking for a best-of-both-worlds situation, this guide to making a fancy cheese board with grocery store items (one word: Doritos) is a great starting point.2. No Cooking Required Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
One of the many beautiful things about snack meals is that there are plenty of options that don’t require turning on your stove (or oven, or microwave). Take a cue from our Culinary Director at Large, Justin Chapple, and marinate cubes of feta in a combination of extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, drained green peppercorns in brine, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and thyme. After the cheese marinates in the fridge, all that’s left to do is grab crackers and/or crostini and dig in.
Tartare can absolutely be a snack or appetizer (or snacketizer?) too, and this Herbed Salmon Tartare with Chips is a great option if you are feeling fancy. It features a combination of fresh and hot-smoked salmon (store-bought, no cooking here!), and gets its herby flavor from dill and chives.3. Leftover Snacks Can Easily Become Your Next Meal Inspired by classic pan con tomate, a Spanish dish of bread rubbed with fresh tomato, Justin Chapple tops crunchy toasted bread with tangy grated tomatillos. To round the toast out, he also adds thin slices of prosciutto and shaved Manchego cheese. Christopher Testani
Say you have a dinner party with a decked-out cheese board, and at the end of the night, a few hunks of cheese remain. You can certainly eat them the next day as-is with some crackers and leave it at that. But why not turn your leftover snacks into a totally new, ridiculously tasty snack? In this recipe for Fromage Fort, chef Jacques Pépin takes half a pound of leftover cheese pieces and blitzes them all together in a food processor with dry white wine, a clove of garlic, and black pepper. The result is a smooth, savory, flavor-packed cheese spread that you can enjoy cold, or spread on bread and toss under the broiler so it gets nice and browned. Pépin’s father used to make his with Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese, and goat cheese (plus leek broth, garlic, and white wine). But what makes this recipe a winner is that you can use whatever cheese you have on hand. And if you have leftover Fromage Fort? Don’t worry, it freezes well.
You can also go the toast route and use cheese board leftovers to make these Tomatillo Toasts with Prosciutto and Manchego, inspired by the Spanish classic pan con tomate. Shave the Manchego, tear the prosciutto into strips, and boom, they’re ready to use as toppings.4. Upgrade Your Popcorn… You’re going to need an afternoon snack. This popcorn is seasoned like an everything bagel, with caraway, sesame, onion, garlic and flaky salt. It’s irresistible. © Eva Kolenko
If popcorn is part of your snack routine, try dressing it up. Jen Pelka gives popcorn the everything-bagel-treatment, while Martha Wiggins combines popcorn with sesame-glazed pistachios for salty-sweet results. Love truffles? Then this truffled popcorn is for you. It gets a double-dose of truffle flavor thanks to white truffle oil and minced black truffle. The latter is optional; either way, the end results will be awesome.5. …and Your Chips, Too © John Kernick
Give your chips and dip a boost by adding extra flavor to the chips. Try toasting nori sheets, grinding them into a powder, and mixing the powder with salt as an umami-packed seasoning for homemade chips. Or, follow chef Tory Miller’s cue, and glaze freshly fried chips in a mixture of unsalted butter and honey — gochugaru and fine sea salt finish them off. And just like herbed fries, you can make your potato chips herby, too. Tyler Florence sprinkles homemade chips with fried fresh herbs and salt for an extra-special touch.6. Snack Dinners Are the Move for Entertaining Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
When you have guests, a snack spread is the way to go. Not only can you easily tailor your menu to accommodate their (and your) needs — like having a vegetarian option, something meaty without dairy, or gluten-free treat — but you can also pull off something impressive without breaking the bank, swapping out pricier roasts or fish centerpieces for dishes like cocktail meatballs or tartines.
It also goes without saying that making a snack or two is a lot easier than pulling together a multi-course menu for a dinner party. There’s certainly nothing wrong with going all-out, but if you want to save yourself some time and energy, pull together a few dips and a cheese board instead.7. Speaking of Dips… Antonis Achilleos
Dips make an ideal dinner because they’re both filling and low-key, allowing you to graze as you please without having to throw together anything formal. We have some next-level dip-for-dinner options in our arsenal, including cookbook author Leah Koenig’s Dinner Hummus with Spiced Chicken and Cauliflower, in which spiced chicken and cauliflower sautéed with currants and onions sit atop swoops of creamy homemade hummus. Add some za’atar, parsley, toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for garnish and you’re all set to grab pita chips (or just a spoon) and start dipping. In the mood for something cheesy? Whip up Paula Disbrowe’s Queso Flameado, which is splashed with tequila at the end and briefly set on fire for dramatic flair. Consider also making Muhammara, Fancy Clam Dip, Spinach-Artichoke Dip, Caramelized Five-Onion Dip, or whatever dip strikes your fancy.8. Don’t Be Afraid to Open a Nice Bottle with Your Snacks Victor Protasio
Snacks deserve wine pairings, too! Our executive wine editor, Ray Isle, created a roadmap for pairing wine with different chip flavors — classic potato chips and Champagne are a dream team, and if you’re into barbecue, he thinks Napa Zinfandels or Spanish Priorats are the way to go. If you have these Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives on the menu, we recommend serving them with a bright, juicy Barbera d’Asti, or a crisp martini if you’re so inclined.9. Take Advantage of Tinned and Canned Seafood Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Canned and tinned seafood like anchovies are your friends here — all you have to do is crack open a tin and you’re ready to add salty, briny flavor to any snack dinner situation. Use olive oil–packed salted anchovy fillets to make these Anchovy Toasts with Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette, a “made-to-share snack board” from The Anchovy Bar in San Francisco, or grab a tin of sardines in extra-virgin olive oil to make chef Sheldon Simeon’s Sardine Pupu, which he calls “a primo snack.” If you happen to have caviar on hand, consider this Four-Layer Caviar Dip (!) which is essentially a caviar platter in dip form, or dollop it on top of deviled eggs to take the classic appetizer to the next level. Trust us, you’ll never go back.10. Whatever Snacks You Choose for Your Dinner, Make It Special Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
Snack dinner is an occasion, and whether you’ve gone the fancy route or the most low-key-route possible with your food, you can still present it in a way that feels celebratory. Grab a decorative platter or a wooden cheese board, spoon your dip into an elegant bowl, and arrange everything nicely. If you’re enjoying wine with your meal, break out nice glasses, too. Snacks can give us so much joy and delight — it’s high time we showed them a little love back.