If you haven’t experienced that massive crash of energy, alongside dramatic mood swings, that follow the consumption of large amounts of sugar, then you are in the minority.
While plant-based, naturally-sourced sugar — think fruit — is a healthy part of a balanced diet, too much sugar of any kind, including natural sugars that are thought to be “free” — such as honey, maple syrup, and agave — will cause unwanted bodily fluctuations. This is especially true when it comes to added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and sugar cane, which also add “empty calories,” meaning calories without any nutrition. No matter the type of sugar, this substance will cause your blood sugar to spike, send you soaring with faux energy, and then bring you crashing back down, depleted, and irritable.
Unfortunately, this sugar crash not only leads to a depressive state and exacerbated fatigue, but recent studies have shown that it may be causing poor and troubled sleep. Most of this is linked to consuming sugar close to bedtime, causing that blood sugar and energy spikes and digestive upset. All of this is to say, your body will be buzzing just around the time you want to be falling asleep.
To help you beat that late-night sugar craving, here are a handful of sugar-free recipes from the Food Monster App that also promote sleep with plant-based foods such as calming herbs, — such as chamomile and lavender — magnesium-rich almonds, melatonin-promoting miso, and cherries, serotonin-promoting bananas, and digestive-boosting fiber-rich oats.
1. Simple Turnip Salad
Source: Simple Turnip Salad
One of the best substances to consume to help you get some good shut-eye is tryptophan. It’s not just that Thanksgiving turkey that offers this wonderful, sleep-promoting compound, either! This Simple Turnip Salad recipe by Natalie Yonan is rich in pumpkin seeds, which happens to be a great source of tryptophan!
2. Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Source: Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
This Chocolate Cherry Smoothie by Sarah and Peter Hagstrom is filled with melatonin-promoting cherries and soothing digestive fiber! The Hagstrom’s offer a choice between carob and cacao to fit your needs. For sleep purposes, choose carob over cacao, as carob is not only sugar-free but also caffeine-free.
3. Maple Cashew Butter with Oats and Goji Berries
Source: Maple Cashew Butter with Oats and Goji Berries
This Maple Cashew Butter with Oats and Goji Berries by Amy Height is a great low-sugar recipe that is super easy to make completely added sugar-free by simply replacing the maple syrup with your favorite sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit. Plus, this recipe not only has digestive-calming oats, but it also uses magnesium-rich almonds!
4. Macrobiotic Miso Soup
Source: Macrobiotic Miso Soup
Miso soup is not only a traditional, nutrient-dense, fermented Japanese dish, but it also has been shown to promote the production of melatonin, a crucial hormone that helps you feel tired and fall asleep faster. This Macrobiotic Miso Soup by Claire Ragozzino relies on traditional ingredients yet adds fiber-rich lentils, stomach-soothing ginger, and nutrient-dense kale to make a truly balanced plant-based meal.
5. 4-Ingredient Green Smoothie
Source: 4-Ingredient Green Smoothie
While bananas have a high level of natural sugar, they are also excellent at promoting the creation of calming serotonin. This 4-Ingredient Green Smoothie by Christina Bedetta harnesses the sleep-loving powers of bananas while also offering a great source of fiber-full leafy greens and healthy fat-filled hemp seeds.
6. Steel-Cut Apple Porridge
Source: Steel-Cut Apple Porridge
This Steel-Cut Apple Porridge recipe by Julie Zimmer harnesses the naturally sweet flavors of apples and cinnamon to richen this morning meal. Plus, you start your day with fiber-rich oats, keeping your digestive tract healthy, which inevitably will help you get to sleep quicker and stay asleep without digestive upsets.
7. Crustless Mushroom Quiche
Source: Crustless Mushroom Quiche
Yet another recipe that relies on a healthy dose of fiber to help you enjoy a restless night’s sleep! This Crustless Mushroom Quiche recipe by Elinor Kugler incorporates the fiber champion flaxseed, along with healthy fat-filled almond butter and coconut milk, another component of a smooth-moving digestive system.
8. Parsley Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Source: Parsley Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Need more sleep-promoting pumpkin seeds in your life? This Parsley Pumpkin Seed Pesto recipe by Melissa Tedesco is a great flavorful sugarless staple to have in your fridge to enliven pasta, spread on your favorite bread or toast, and even consume by the spoonful!
9. Lemonade with a Calming Twist
Source: Lemonade with a Calming Twist
Stevia is a natural, plant-based sweetener that will not cause your blood sugar to spike. This Lemonade with a Calming Twist recipe by Jesse Lane Lee harnesses the sweet power of stevia without sacrificing its sugarless makeup, making this a wonderful substitute for traditionally sugar-rich lemonade.
10. Sugar-Free Almond Butter
Source: Almond Butter
This Almond Butter recipe by Larice Feuerstein is super simple with only three sugar-free ingredients: raw almonds, sea salt, and an option to add coconut oil for an extra silky texture! Plus, it’s been found that healthy fat boost the natural rhythm of your digestive tract, aiding in a long wakeless night.
11. 5-Minute Miso Bowl
Source: 5-Minute Miso Bowl
If you’re looking for a traditional, super simple, and sugar-free meal option, try this 5-Minute Miso Bowl by Claire Ragozzino. You’ll not only get the health benefits of fermented miso, but this soup also infuses the body with soothing ginger, warming toasted sesame oil, and a slew of nutrient-rich add-ons to choose from at your leisure.
12. Healthy Sugar-Free Banana Bread
Source: Healthy Banana Bread
Looking for a comforting snack that won’t send you rocketing with energy? Try this super healthy, low-sugar Healthy Banana Bread recipe by Alex Wolfe. Add on fiber-rich flaxseed and magnesium-rich almond flour, and simply swap out the maple syrup for monk fruit and the dark chocolate chunks with carob, and you’ve got the ultimate low-sugar sleep-friendly treat!
13. Blood-Sugar-Balancing Cinnamon Bites
Source: Blood-Sugar-Balancing Cinnamon Bites
It’s all in the name of this recipe! These Blood-Sugar-Balancing Cinnamon Bites recipe by Gretchen Lidicker are infused with natural sweeteners such as cinnamon, vanilla extract, and coconut oil, as well as adaptogenic goji berries and healthy fat-filled cashew butter.
14. Healthier Macaroons
Source: Healthier Macaroons
A unique spin on sugar-rich macaroons, this Healthier Macaroons recipe by Annie Markowitz relies on nutrient-rich, sugar-free, and incredibly sweet monk fruit sweetener!
15. 5-Ingredient Almond Feta Cheese
Source: 5-Ingredient Almond Feta Cheese
This 5-Ingredient Almond Feta Cheese recipe by Charanya Ramakrishman will fill that cheese void in your life! While many vegan-cheese recipes rely on sugary ingredients, this super simple recipe uses protein and fat-rich almonds, nutrient-dense nutritional yeast, spicy garlic, and naturally sweet lemon juice.
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