When it’s late at night and you’re hungry – what do you do? Contrary to popular belief, going to bed hungry isn’t going to help you with your weight loss plans. In fact, going to bed food-deprived means you’re more likely to wake up around 3 AM to raid the refrigerator. Or, you’re likely to wake up first thing in the morning with intense food cravings. It’s more ideal to choose a healthy late-night snack that satisfies your hunger pangs while nourishing your body and encouraging sleep. Below are seven healthy late night snack ideas that will help you avoid those midnight temptations.
A 2017 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat before bed tend to have higher amounts of body fat. But, let’s be honest, I’m sure most of us have had those moments where we are so hungry after dinner that we can’t help raiding the pantry. Eating late at night is not wrong in itself, but it’s what your body is ingesting that counts.
The best snacks to eat are relatively filling and easy to digest. The snacks chosen below are natural foods and not processed. Choose high-protein, high-fiber foods whenever possible that are low in fat and sugar. If possible, choose portions that are 200 calories or less. Below are some of my favorite ideal midnight snacks:
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Avoid those pesky added sugars by choosing Plain or Greek yogurt. If you need something to enhance the flavor, try adding a tablespoon of honey or granola. One additional thing: Research from the National Institutes of Health supports that yogurt has most recently been linked to better sleep.
Look for fruits that are low in sugar and don’t contain too much acid. Remember, you need a good night’s sleep. My go-to fruits for late night snacks are apple slices, watermelon, and peaches. In addition, berries are a highly satisfying snack that are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, berries contain magnesium, a mineral that relaxes nerves and muscles to speed slumber.
This is my go-to snack, but I caution you to use this sparingly in small portions – peanut butter is filling. I recommend looking for natural peanut butter with no added sugar. Peanut butter is high in protein, fiber, and an amino acid called tryptophan that gets converted in the brain to melatonin to promote sleepiness.
Crackers & Cheese
According to the Griffith School of Public Health, snacks that offer a balance of carbs and protein, such as whole-wheat crackers and cheese, support consistent blood-sugar levels. Keep an eye on your serving sizes, however, because cheese can get high in calories if you eat big chunks of it. And opt for whole-grain crackers for the perfect late night snack.
It’s true: 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has less than 100 calories and about 4 grams of fiber to satisfy your hunger. Skip the butter and avoid the bags of microwave popcorn – they’re loaded with unnecessary ingredients. Instead of butter, try sprinkling cinnamon for a low-calorie treat. Here’s a link to some healthy popcorn recipes.
At the End of the Day…
If you’re truly hungry late at night, eating a snack under 200 calories is not going to hurt you. The most important thing is to keep healthy snacks on hand that you enjoy. And the best part of the items I recommended above is that they can be combined. Mix the berries with your non-fat Greek yogurt. Dip the sliced apples in peanut butter. Enjoy your late night snacks without the guilt – and sleep well.
What is your go-to late-night snack option? I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com. Plus, be sure to sign up for my newsletter by filling out the information below to receive great posts like this right to your inbox.