Having two little ones at home, one of whom keeps me up all night and wakes me up before the sun almost every day, means I’m living in a constant zombie-like state. What I want to eat when I’m tired: anything containing sugar, in other words carbs on carbs on carbs. What I actually eat: food I’ve made sure to stock and prep in my fridge that is nutrient rich, and usually protein based to help keep me fuller longer and to keep me going throughout the long day.
When we are sleep deprived, our bodies actually respond in a few very interesting ways, making my carb cravings very legit. First of all, sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn increases your appetite. Problem is that we often go for “junk foods” in this state instead of a salad because our bodies’ natural way of bringing stress levels down is by increasing levels of serotonin…high-carb and high-fat foods will actually produce a neurochemical reaction in our brains that allows this to happen!
Secondly, sleep deprivation causes our hormones to get all out of whack. It can cause an increase in levels of grhelin (a hormone that tells us we’re hungry), and decrease levels of leptin (a hormone that tells us we’re full). One study showed that sleep deprived subjects ate an average of 300 extra calories a day!
Lastly, sleep deprivation can send our body into “survival mode” which means it can be tricked into thinking it’s in danger. Thus, our metabolism will slow down as to reserve what stores we have, but also we will feel hungrier as our body will want more fuel to keep us going.
Needless to say, at 6 am this morning I was thankful to have my trusty container of hard boiled eggs handy. I made myself some avocado toast with cheese and eggs, with a side of fruit…and coffee of course, always coffee.
Some other snacks I’ve made lately to have on hand (which are also toddler friendly) include:
- Chocolate chia energy balls which I modified from this recipe. The only thing I changed was to use natural peanut butter, and a bit less cocoa than called for. I kept these in the fridge for a quick afternoon snack when I was craving something sweet.
- Homemade taco tortilla chips and hummus (modified from this recipe). I made my own taco seasoning using: Cumin, Paprika, Chili Powder, & a pinch of Salt.
- These insane Ultimate Morning Glory Muffins
I have no pictures because we eat them too fast every time I make them! I’ve made double batches of these before and froze half so I have a quick and healthy snack to pull out when necessary.
For the record, I am not perfect! I like sweets just as much, if not more, than the next person! I have zero willpower when it comes to homemade brownies or fresh cinnamon buns…or ice-cream. But having healthy snacks on hand sure makes it a lot easier to make good food choices, especially when I’m exhausted!