Then you need to get smart about your late-night snacks.
Sugar Crashes and Sleep
Reaching for sugar-filled carbs like chocolate and sweet
biscuits late at night won’t do your sleep any favors. Sweet
snacks cause a sugar crash. Later when you’re in bed, that
dip in your blood glucose may lead you to wake at 2 or
3am, disrupting your sleep quality for the rest of the night.
The Sleep Power of Protein
Protein snacks create a chemical chain reaction to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Here’s why:
- Protein increases tryptophan – this is a key ingredient for sleep.
- Tryptophan increases serotonin – also called the ‘happiness hormone’.
- Serotonin increases melatonin – the ‘sleep hormone’.
So if you want to prime your brain and body for a better night’s sleep, these high-protein Cashew Butter Protein Balls are the perfect choice. As well as being chewy and flavorsome, they feature a healthy mix of sleep-friendly ingredients including:
Originally from Brazil, these crescent-shaped nuts have a slightly sweet flavor. They are high in iron, B-vitamins, and zinc. Most importantly, they’re rich in magnesium, a natural relaxant that nourishes your nervous system.
Nuts contain phytic acid, which can bind to minerals like iron and zinc, making you absorb less. So before cooking, I always soak them overnight in salt and water. This triggers the germination or sprouting process, reducing the phytic acid and making the nuts gentler on the digestive system.
Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). They boost the body’s immune defense against viruses and bacteria. MCFAs are also small enough to enter the mitochondria (powerhouse) of your cells. There, they help your body effectively complete it’s energy cycle, promoting better fat-burning.
In ancient cultures this fragrant spice was valued more highly than gold. In our modern world, studies suggest that it can stabilize blood sugars, helping your body release less insulin.
These tart, crimson berries are popular in Scandinavia and the US. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and other antioxidants. Compounds found in cranberries also help to fight bacterial infections and may help protect against everything from gum disease to cancer.
Ready to get in the kitchen? These protein balls are so simple that from start to finish, they take only 30 minutes to make. Just a couple will satisfy late-night hunger pangs. You can also pop them into brown-bagged lunches or enjoy as a snack between meals.
Cashew Butter Protein Balls
Prep time 30 mins
Total time 30 mins
Author: Magdalena Wszelaki
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus extra if necessary
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup chopped dried cranberries (or cherries)
How To Make
- Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the cashews soak in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain the cashews thoroughly.
- Place the soaked cashews in the bowl of your high-speed blender and process for a few minutes until you get a very thick paste. You will need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides of your blender every once in a while. Add in the melted coconut oil and process a bit more until you get a thick but smooth cashew butter. If needed, add a bit more coconut oil until you get the texture required.
- In a large bowl, combine the cashew butter, almond flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and water and mix until you get a homogeneous mixture, much like the texture of cookie dough.
- Gently fold in the dried cranberries until they are evenly distributed between the dough.
- Scoop one tablespoon of dough and roll it into a small ball between your palms. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. You should be able to get 12 protein balls.
- Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.