Fit Friday: Ch Ch Ch Cherry Milk

Woohoo we made it to Friday! Summers are always packed for me so the weeks just seem to fly by. I haven’t forgotten about a Greece recap post, it’s honestly just a matter of compiling the photos from 5 adults and sifting through to make some sort of cohesive summary-taking a little long, but I will get there!

In the meantime, I wanted to explore a recent thing that I’ve found myself doing post-dinner that is not only a fit tip but also a wellness tip and I thought it may be useful for you guys too.

DSC_3027I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it is more the norm than the exception that I need ‘just a little something sweet’ post-dinner. While this can be harmless if you are choosing the right thing and amount of it, it can easily be a slippery slope into either a binge fest or an additional 1,000 calories a week if you’re not careful. Small additions add up if we’re not paying attention.

So instead of telling you to run and brush your teeth after dinner or chew gum to ignore the craving (both temporary fixes that I feel set you up for failure in the long run), I say choose something satisfying AND good for you right before bed.

DSC_3029After dinner we are busy digesting what meal we just consumed and for most of us this is done while on the couch, lightly cleaning up around the house or preparing for the next day. If you go to a workout class or log a few miles post-dinner, first of all good for you, second of all you are most likely in the minority.

So instead of adding more to our already full plate in the digestion department, I feel it’s important to choose something that is easier to digest and will contribute to that winding down you are after this time of day.

DSC_3024Enter my cherry milk. I’ve found not only is it a perfect way to get that sweet you’re after, but it is full of nutrition and benefits which are directly related to sleep.

Why? Let’s look into it a little further.

Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin (melatonin is responsible for regulating our internal clock and sleep-wake cycle) which in combination with the anthocyanins (pigments usually found in plants that have been shown to protect against a variety of human diseases) found in cherries have been shown to help us sleep better at night.

Research done on the affects of tart cherry juice not only concluded that participants fell asleep quicker, but they stayed asleep longer, therefore improving sleep efficiency. See more on the study here.

DSC_3031While you could just have a handful of dried tart cherries pre-bedtime, I think there is something more satisfying about a warm or chilled (depending on the time of year) beverage to wind down with so I prefer to make mine into a milk.

For this recipe I chose coconut milk for it’s creamy texture, healthy fats, and also because it has iron, calcium and magnesium (helpful for building up stores that may be low due to physical activity earlier in the day). You of course can choose any milk to substitute or even make changes to the recipe to cater to your specific tastes.

Cherries also boast many impressive nutritional benefits including potassium which is great to repair muscle tissue, vitamin C, beta-carotene and some iron and fiber to boot. While the glycemic index of tart cherries is medium, it’s always a good idea to remember there still is sugar in fruit and our blood sugar levels can spike depending on the amount we use. To help even out our blood sugar I included cinnamon in this recipe which is a great way to aide in blood sugar spikes.

dividerMSF Sleeping Beauty Cherry Milk

Ingredients

8 oz tart cherry juice (I used organic no sugar added)

1 can of coconut milk

2 dashes cinnamon

makes 2 servings

Directions

Place all ingredients in blender if serving cold and serve chilled over ice or all ingredients in saucepan and simmer over low until lightly steaming. Pour in desired glass and enjoy!

dividerDSC_3026What sort of fun things do you have planned for this weekend? I will be logging a lot of Pilates hours and hopefully enjoying some yummy pizza tonight. I’ve also been wanting to see Wonder Woman, have you seen it? Yay or nay?

Let me know if there are any topics out there you want covered, as always I love your feedback.

<3 Megan

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