When it comes to bedtime snacks, there’s a reason why sugar doesn’t typically make the list. While foods with tryptophan, vitamin D, or magnesium can help you drift off to dreamland, foods high in sugar and saturated fat are actually associated with disrupted sleep patterns, and eating sugar late in the day can potentially affect melatonin production.
But… the best part of dinner is dessert, so what’s a person with a sweet tooth to do in the evening?
Meet your new BFFs, low-glycemic desserts. These treats still taste sweet but because they use less sugar and refined flour (and incorporate healthy fats and fiber), they won’t make your blood sugar levels spike to such extremes as with traditional desserts. That means no sudden before-bed energy bursts to keep you up longer, and less chance of disrupted snoozing. You can have your cake and eat it too—while still clocking in a solid night of sleep.
Keep reading for 10 low-glycemic desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
This brownie is just as chocolate-y and gooey as you want from a decadent dessert, but it won’t mess with your blood sugar levels. The secret is using coconut flour in place of regular flour (for extra fiber) and coconut sugar instead of the refined stuff. The recipe also calls for raw cacao, which is high in antioxidants. Plus, it’s ready to eat in less than five minutes.
Another low-GI way to enjoy your chocolate is with these homemade clusters. A touch of honey enhances the raw cacao, which has a slightly bitter taste on its own. Any nut—or seed—works in the recipe for the crunch factor, so you can throw in whatever you happen to have and it will still taste A+.
3. Lemon bars
If you’re more in the mood for something more tart, these lemon bars will hit the spot. You’ll just need a few ingredients: lemon, butter, eggs, and powdered erythritol, which is used in place of sugar. This dessert is also keto-approved, in case that’s your thing, too.
While a slice of cake from The Cheesecake Factory could leave you with a major sugar hangover, this no-bake version will have you sleeping like a baby. (Cherries are linked to better sleep because they’re a natural source of melatonin.) Spend 15 minutes mixing the six ingredients this recipe calls for together and you’ll have the perfect creamy, tangy dessert.
What would a dessert roundup be without ice-cream? While there are a lot of alt-milks out there, using coconut milk will keep it vegan while also adding natural sweetness, as does including vanilla bean. Erythritol, a favorite in low-GI recipes, amps up the flavor a touch more, while still keeping it low-sugar.
Chocolate and peanut butter are the power couple of dessert foods. These bars lean a little heavier on the PB side than the chocolate side, but don’t you worry, all the flavor notes are there. Be sure to buy sugar-free chocolate chips when getting your ingredients to keep it low-GI approved.
If you want all that peanut butter goodness without the chocolate, these peanut butter cookies are a good way to go. Not only are they low-sugar, they’re low-carb too because they’re made with almond flour instead of regular flour.
Yep, your low-GI (Paleo!) dessert can be a dinner party showstopper, too. This is another recipe that makes good use of almond flour to keep the carb count down. The flakiness of the crust paired with the juice-oozing peaches is truly perfection.
Just one more peanut butter dessert. By now, you can probably guess the smart substitutions that pop up in the ingredients list, like trusty standbys almond flour and erthyritol. Because peanut butter is so rich, it only takes a small piece of this pie to be truly satiated.
10. Zucchini cookies
Consider this the dessert version of your fave zucchini bread. The moistness and chocolate chips are still there—and so are the veggies. Again, just make sure you’re adding no-sugar chocolate chips to keep it truly low-glycemic. These cookies are also keto *and* Paleo.
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