Here are three recipes to get your sleep hormone, melatonin pumping.
Golden turmeric milk
A simple glass of milk before bed works wonders but add some turmeric – even better. Golden milk has become trendy in the world of health, and with good reason. Turmeric is packed with anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants. What’s more; it helps improve quality of sleep. Sip on a warm glass of turmeric milk before bedtime to reap the benefits.
- 2 cups of milk of your choice.
- 1 ½ tsp of ground turmeric.
- ½ tsp of cinnamon.
- 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup.
- 2.5cm of fresh, peeled ginger.
- Warm the milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and honey or maple syrup in a small saucepan until it simmers hot.
- Whisk well to dissolve spices and divide into two mugs.
Humble chickpeas are on most people’s plates lately, so why not plate them up too? And if you’re after a meal to help you sleep, you’re in luck. Chickpeas are filled with Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin. Besides turning chickpeas into a main meal, snacking on them throughout the day could also help your body relax enough to sleep. Here are chickpea burgers that are perfect for a hearty supper. If you’re a fan of falafels, you’re in for a treat.
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
- 1 tbsp ground coriander.
- 1 tbsp ground cumin.
- 2 tsp olive oil.
- 4 scallions, chopped.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed.
- 1 cup cooked brown rice.
- ⅔ cup wheat germ, divided.
- 3 tbsp lemon juice.
- ½ tsp salt.
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper.
- 4 wholewheat pita breads, warmed.
- 8 slices tomato.
- 1 cup baby spinach.
- 4 tbsp non-fat plain yoghurt.
- Heat a small pan over low heat. Add sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add coriander and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 10 to 20 seconds or more. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- Once cooled, grind and set aside.
- Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Coarsely mash chickpeas in a medium bowl with a potato masher.
- Stir in rice, ⅓ cup wheat germ, lemon juice, salt, pepper, the spice mixture and the scallion mixture; mix well. Shape the mixture into four ¾-inch-thick patties.
- Place the remaining ⅓ cup wheat germ in a shallow dish and dredge the patties, pressing the wheat germ onto them firmly.
- Grill the patties until browned and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Tuck the burgers into pitas with tomato slices, spinach and yoghurt.
Chocolate-cherry snack bars
These chewy snack bars make a quick, wholesome snack. They’re easy to carry in your hand or lunch bag. The tart, dried cherries add a yummy flavour and a boost of melatonin.
- 2½ cups unsweetened puffed wheat cereal.
- ½ cup pecan halves, chopped medium-fine.
- ⅓ cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds.
- ¼ cup dried cherries or dried cranberries, coarsely chopped.
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds.
- ½ cup honey.
- ½ tsp vanilla extract.
- ⅛ tsp salt.
- ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate.
- Position a rack in the lower third of oven; preheat to 150°C. Line a pan with greaseproof paper, letting it overhang on two opposite sides.
- Toss cereal, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cherries (or cranberries), sesame seeds and ground flaxseeds in a large bowl.
- Combine honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the honey is more fluid, and the salt is dissolved. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and fold until everything is moistened and sticky.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Fold in chips (or chopped chocolate) until evenly distributed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a fork. Using the back of the fork, press the mixture very firmly all over. (Alternatively, cover with parchment paper and press firmly all over.)
- Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes.
- Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan to detach the bars. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Use the ends of the parchment to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel off the parchment.
- Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut into 16 bars or squares.