Whilst many aspects of this Christmas are going to be different to 'normal', there are still lots of yummy Christmas treats around to snack on. As the evenings get longer and without a Christmas Night Out in sight, those stollen bites, mince pies and chocolate Santas look even more appealing. Whilst we know how tasty these treats are, and as much a part of the Festive season as watching Elf and tree decorating, it's a good idea to balance these with some healthier more nutritious options too. Too much sugar can make us irritable and tired and we don't need any more reasons to feel like that in 2020.
When it comes to snacking, it’s always better to reach for the healthier, lower sugar snack if you can.
With so many of us working form home, there is the temptation to have a cuppa and a biscuit whenever the kettle is on.
Try to swap out tea or coffee with a sugary snack for a glass of water and one of these suggestions for healthier snacks.
Bananas are full of fibre, and brain friendly vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin C and other anti oxidants. Bananas also contain magnesium, a nutrient that might improve sleep quality.
Pistachios have many health benefits and also are one of the most vitamin B6-rich foods around.
They contain a lot of melatonin compared to other foods. Melatonin is a hormone that is associated with sleep.
Seeds can be high in tryptophan which is a chemical associated with sleepiness and serotonin.
Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of tryptophan and are easy to eat.
Fresh berries are a great snack as they’re low-calorie, packed with nutrients, easy to prepare.
Blueberries in particular have been found to be beneficial for brain health.
Cherries are high in melatonin and low in calories. Some research on cherries and cognition can be read here.
Dr Clara Russell