A habit of late-night snacking can wreak havoc on the waistline and damage your health in the long run. The body’s internal clock makes it less likely that the body can metabolize late-night calories the same way it does during the day, which allows calories to build up. In addition, people tend to yearn for salty or sugary food late at night, making it more likely that they’ll choose unhealthy snacks.
Let’s face it, everyone feels the occasional need for a midnight snack. Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or just have a desire to munch, it’s hard to ignore that midnight call for a food fix. A late-night treat every once in a while won’t have much impact on your health. And if you choose one of these healthy options, you can have an occasional midnight snack without feeling guilty. Here are a few healthy snack options to feed your late-night hunger.
Although walnuts and almonds typically get all the attention for being healthy nuts, pistachios should be on your grocery list as a midnight snack option. Pistachios are a good source of fiber, good fats, and protein. They’re also high in antioxidants, like vitamin E, polyphenols, lutein, and zeaxanthin, some of which aren’t available in other nuts. Pistachios also have melatonin, which is a hormone that can help get you back to sleep.
9. Low-Fat Milk
As with many things in our lives, mother was right about making us drink milk when we couldn’t sleep. Milk contains high levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps to manufacture melatonin naturally in the body, helping you go to sleep after your midnight snack.
8. A Quarter Cup of Nuts
Nuts are rich in healthy fats, and consuming 10 to 12 almonds or walnuts can stave off late-night hunger. Whether it’s peanuts, almonds, or cashews, nuts can keep you satisfied until breakfast. Nuts contain protein and fiber, which can stabilize your blood sugar through the night.
7. Three Cups of Popcorn
A few cups of air-popped popcorn — sans butter or any oil — makes a healthy midnight snack. Popcorn contains only a few calories but packs a lot of fiber. Just make sure to stay away from artery-clogging butter, high-calorie toppings, or salt.
6. Turkey Roll-Ups
Roll some sliced turkey around a celery stick or carrot stick, dip it in a light dressing, and you have a savory midnight snack. Turkey contains tryptophan, which encourages the body to have a rest and sleep. It’s also high in protein and will satisfy the desire for something salty or savory. You’ll find that turkey roll-ups are surprisingly filling and delicious.
5. One Apple and Peanut Butter
An apple might be sweet with sugars, but eat it with the skin on and it has a lot of fiber. Eat a whole apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter, and you can satisfy your sweet tooth, get some fiber, and fill yourself with protein to keep you full while you sleep.
4. Cheese with Whole Wheat Carbs
Cheese makes everything taste better, and it makes an ideal midnight snack. Combine string cheese and whole wheat crackers, and you’ve got yourself a snack that will leave you satiated until morning. You can also use ricotta cheese with some honey, or a sliver of American on a slice of whole wheat bread. Just keep the amount you consume under 200 calories, and it won’t impact your weight.
3. Avocado Toast
Avocado toast makes for a delicious and healthy late-night snack. Avocado is chock full of healthy nutrients like unsaturated fats, B vitamins, and high in fiber. It also has a creamy texture, which fools your mind into thinking you’re eating a rich snack. Stick to one slice of toast and keep your avocado plain, and you’ve got yourself a no-nonsense and tasty treat.
Green soybeans, otherwise known as edamame, are high in protein but low in calories, making it a satisfying and healthy snack. Edamame is rich in fiber and antioxidants, which can help keep you feeling full through the night. To add flavor, you can sprinkle a cup of edamame with low-calorie flavors like chili, garlic salt, or cumin. Get creative with your seasonings and you’ll have a satisfying treat.
A quarter cup of hummus can keep hunger at bay throughout the night. When consumed with low-calorie and healthy options like vegetable sticks or unsalted crackers, hummus can keep your blood sugar steady while you sleep. Hummus’s creamy texture also satisfies any hankering for something savory.
Late-night snacking shouldn’t be a problem as long as it doesn’t become a habit, the food choices are healthy, and the total calories are under 200. There are some foods that should never be on your midnight snack list, however, because they can disrupt your blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. Some of these food choices are:
- Potato chips
Stick to healthy foods for your late-night snacks and you can sleep well and stay fit.