I’m a huge fan of sleep. Such a fan, in fact, that I decided to devote all three (yes, three!) of this week’s posts to the topic. Beginning with this delicious lavender oat banana ice cream recipe and finishing off with tips and sleep-promoting recipes from some of my favorite fellow registered dietitians.
(It’s first thing in the morning but I’m already anticipating nightfall like crazy. Too much yumminess.)
Are you catching enough Zzzz’s each night? Despite the fact that most of us realize that sleep is essential for wellness (lack of sleep has been linked with everything from impaired motor skills to obesity and heart disease), many of us still don’t get enough.
What’s the deal? There are tons of factors that can influence sleep. Busy schedules, screen time, stress, and nutrition are all involved – but let’s focus on the food first, shall we?
This banana ice cream is packed with foods that help support relaxation and sleep.
You may have noticed that zen feeling that comes with the floral and earthy aroma of lavender. It’s used in tons of spa products, candles, and cosmetics to promote calm and relaxation but have you ever tried it in your food? Lavender tea (or dried culinary lavender) is one of my new favorite pantry additions for nighttime beverages and snacks. The plant has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate to promote relaxation – and it’s delicious to boot.
Thanks to their high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, oats and bananas are also great for promoting relaxation and sleep. Tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycles by making us feel sleepy at nighttime.
(We often hear that the tryptophan in turkey is what makes us feel so sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. In this instance, we’re actually probably just feeling sleepy because we just ate so much, but that’s beside the point.)
The combination of oats with bananas in this ice cream also provide essential relaxation-promoting nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
I don’t know about you guys but late at night, I’m usually in the mood for something on the sweet side, so this recipe is just perfect for me.
It only takes a few minutes to whip up and once you pick up the lavender, you can likely put this together with ingredients that you already have on hand in your own kitchen. Banana ice cream is also so simple and easy, which means you wont be stuck cooking and cleaning up the kitchen when you’d rather be winding down for the night.
Give this a try next time you’re in the mood for something sweet before bedtime – and remember you’re not just eating ice cream, you’re nurturing your body’s need for calm and restoration. Win-win!
- 3 large frozen bananas
- ¼ cup oats
- ½ teaspoon culinary lavender/lavender tea, plus additional for topping if desired
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Honey or pure maple syrup for topping (optional)
- Add ingredients to food processor and process until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to bowls, drizzle with honey or pure maple syrup and sprinkle with additional lavender if desired.
What are your favorite ways to relax at night? Have you ever tried banana ice cream?