If you're anything like me, a late-night snack is something that comes to mind often- especially when I have a hard time sleeping. When most think of snack foods, they think of the "not so healthy" snacks are the only ones enjoyable BUT before you take another bite of a "not so healthy" late-night snack...
Here are a few of my favorite healthy snack options for a mindful late-night snack:
Apple or Banana Slices with Nut or Seed Butter
To set yourself up for a great night's sleep, try having banana or apple slices with your favorite nut butter or seed butter. Bananas are rich in an amino acid called L-tryptophan. Through a process of steps, this amino acid gets converted into melatonin, which is the hormone that is responsible for giving us a good quality sleep at night. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds also contain high levels of this amino acid, so butters from these nuts and seeds would be great choices. Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral that can help you relax and fall asleep easier.
Almond-Milk Yogurt with Berries
Pair some unsweetened, plain almond milk yogurt with your favorite berries for a sweet but low-sugar snack. Almond yogurt has protein and will keep you satisfied before falling asleep. A great trick is to use frozen berries and heat them in a saucepan until they begin to burst and release liquid. When you stir these warmed berries into your yogurt, your yogurt will be flavored with the taste of berries without the added sugars that store-bought flavored yogurts contain! Plus, berries are great low-sugar fruits and don't have many calories. If you want to sweeten it up for a bit more of a late-night treat, you can add a teaspoon of raw honey or pure maple syrup.
You might be wondering why anyone would reach for chickpeas to satisfy their late-night cravings, but they really are delicious and crunchy when roasted! You can change the flavors, like adding spicy chili flakes to cinnamon and raw sugar. They're even tasty with a bit of salt. Just rinse a can of organic chickpeas, pat them dry, season them and place them in the oven at 350°F/175°C for around 45 minutes. You can store them in an airtight container for a few days and always have a crunchy, healthy snack to grab. They're packed with protein and have fewer calories than roasted nuts.
No more reaching for that tub of ice cream to satisfy your late-night sugar cravings! Banana "nice" cream is a much healthier alternative as it only has natural sugars from fruit and no artificial flavors or added sugars. It is a low-calorie alternative to ice cream with way less "junk", and you can make the flavor anything you want. If you're a chocolate lover, add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, blend it with two frozen bananas, and add some dark chocolate chips to top it off. If you see that the consistency is too thick to blend properly, add a splash of your favorite nut milk.
What's your typical go-to snack?
Hey Everyone. Most of you know that I had a roller coaster ride the past couple of years. I had a lot of ups and downs with many lifestyle changes. Through it all, once I changed my mindset, I finally found a peaceful place, especially in my career choices. Before, I have always felt a level of uncertainty and doubt. It happens to the best of us.🤷🏼♀️ Anywho, let's discuss the reason for this blog post since a lot has changed in a short matter of time, everyone is asking, "what have you been up to lately."
Most individuals who follow me on social media know that I owned a brick and mortar insurance agency. I had a wonderful time and even won an award with Suburban Essex Magazine. You can click here to see the article (not the greatest photo), as the Insurance agent of the year in 2017. But, I was starting to feel worn out, and my health was feeling the brunt of it. You can see in the photo that I was not feeling well that day. At the end of 2018, with deep reflection, I decided to close the agency and believed I would never look back, or even consider insurance again. To me, nothing screamed excitement concerning insurance. 🤦♀️ My passion has always been in the health and wellness field. At the very beginning of my journey, I worked as a preschool teacher with different schools in the community, teaching classes in health education and healthy habits curriculum. By far, the most enjoyable experience, and if the opportunity presented itself, I would do it again. IN A HEARTBEAT!
From there, I went on a hiatus while going to school, and also recovering from ongoing health issues. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to keep up with my passion and consider a career as a health coach. After I received my degree in psychology, I thought this was the best option to complement my degree. Of course, if you know me, I then went on to earn more certifications in the health & wellness field (what can I say, I LOVE to RESEARCH, READ, and LEARN). And just when I thought I had everything figured out, I got the bright idea to learn insurance and go for not one but ALL the insurance licensing needed to start a brand new career. Why? 🤷🏼♀️ When the opportunity presents itself, I like to take risks, think outside the box, and give it a try. Funny though, the goal immediately was to focus on something completely different... employee benefits and combine it with workplace wellness options for companies. Instead, I went into a completely different direction, I opened an agency with a carrier, and took off like a bat out of hell. It was a great ride, but going back to the beginning of this story, I took a step back for my financial and emotional well-being. It was the best choice at the time. Now, looking back, it was also not just the best choice but the right choice too! 😊
Now, let's flash forward...
What did I do when I closed the agency? Well, if you have been a part of my tribe, you know, I went back to school to earn a degree when another golden opportunity presented itself. During one semester, my professor contacted me to see if I was interested in helping her set up her courses on a virtual platform, grade, and create lesson plans as a teaching assistant. Why wouldn't I say YES! (GOING TO KEEP THIS PART SHORT) This week marks the 4th semester as an Instructional Leader on her team, with the luxury of working from home. So, I had a lot of time to debate other avenues to embark on with my time. AND then the light bulb went off, Why let all the hard work in obtaining my licensure go to waste? I started in insurance for employee benefits and workplace wellness options. Right? WHY NOT just DO IT with my own company? I have the time, knowledge, and resources. I can't take full credit for the light bulb going off. My husband motivated me to stop letting fear get in the way. So, that is when Alison James & Associates along with JAC Wellness Solutions became something more than just names and domains purchased years ago.
Today, I am working as an insurance broker for my own company, while strategizing on merging the two companies to help other companies with their FINANCIAL WELLNESS along with their EMPLOYEES HEALTH and WELLNESS. Employee Benefits with Workplace Wellness Incentives are in the works for later this year.
Alison James also specializes in personal and commercial insurance solutions. Check out our website here ---> alisonjassoc.com
CLICK HERE---> if you would like more information about workplace wellness options
Check out some photos from my earlier insurance days...
Jennifer Castro is a Health Educator & Patient Advocate who specializes in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. Coach Jenny is working towards becoming Board Certified while working as an Instructional Team Member for the College of Health Solutions at ASU. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small business & office settings, employee benefits and workplace wellness options