Heart-healthy Chickpea Snack Aids Sleep

When you are trying to reach your best health goals, the best course is to stick to three meals a day. But, in our busy lives, we often find that fitting in three meals and avoiding snacks just isn’t possible. Instead, we like to reach for healthy snacks that offer benefits of their own.

Most of us consume chickpeas either mixed in with beans in a salad or as hummus. But, chickpeas can be enjoyed as a delicious roasted snack in their own right! They are a crunchy treat that can take the place of potato chips when you are looking for a savory snack. Unlike chips, they are packed with fiber and protein! A cup of chickpeas has 12.5 grams of fiber and 14.4 grams of protein. Unlike chips, they have a low calorie density. That means that their ratio of nutrients to calories is pretty great, and they can be a part of your weight loss plan.

Making roasted chickpeas is so easy, and you’ll be glad you did it yourself. While you can buy them at the store, there are drawbacks. The first is, they are usually expensive for the amount you get. You can use a can of chickpeas to make a large amount of roasted chickpeas for pennies or pay a lot for a sealed bag. The other problem is that the ones at the store have a lot of ingredients. When you’re at home, you can control what you add. We’ll go for homemade any day!

To make roasted chickpeas, simply preheat your oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain, rinse and dry a can of chickpeas — make sure they are well dried. Toss them with olive oil and whatever spices you like. Spread them evenly on your baking sheet, roast them for 25 minutes and shake them or stir them about every 10 minutes. Enjoy them hot and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days — they won’t be in your kitchen that long! Some people say you have to wait until after baking them to add the spices so that the spices don’t burn; we’ve never had that problem and think the spices stick to the chickpeas better if you add them before baking. A third of a cup of roasted chickpeas has 137 calories, five grams of protein and five grams of fat.

Chickpeas are a great evening snack too. They contain tryptophan, the amino acid famously found in milk and turkey that helps you fall asleep. Your body converts it to melatonin and serotonin, allowing you to become relaxed and drowsy. While it’s best to avoid eating too close to bedtime, if you are looking for a small snack in the evening, roasted chickpeas are an excellent way to aid your sleep!

Banner image: Engin Akyurt via Unsplash
April 30, 2021
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