Probably one of the most frustrating feelings is when you find yourself awake after midnight and your stomach makes a loud, angry groan. Late-night cravings can really be detrimental to weight-loss and health-related goals, so when we get that painful pang in our tummy, we're caught between a rock (our angry stomach) and a hard place (the refrigerator calling out your name).
However, diet and nutrition experts say that you may not have to battle your food cravings so fiercely every single time. While most things are extremely unhealthy to eat at night, especially if you're doing intermittent fasting or following any kind of strict diet, there are some foods that work perfectly as midnight snacks. They fill you up quickly for a good night's sleep while also ensuring that your body remains healthy. Here are the top 10 examples recommended by dietitians.
Nuts are a healthy snack in general but it’s also important to remember that they can pack a few calories in some seriously small bundles. However, they are also chock full of good fats, fiber, and protein, not to mention the fact that they can leave you feeling full quite quickly. Accordingly, experts suggest a handful of nuts, no more than 10 - 12. It's better to have mixed nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and almonds, too.
Just the idea of cheese and crackers as a healthy midnight snack seems almost too good to be true. However, the average bar of string cheese is about 80 calories, and low-calorie versions are also available. Couple that with whole-grain crackers and you’ll have a quick delicious snack that is worth less than 200 calories, which is the ideal caloric count you want for a late-night snack.
Some of us are more prone to sugary cravings. For those with a sweet tooth, this pumpkin pudding is super easy to make and it's stuffed with vitamins and minerals. A small cup will also leave you comfortably satiated before you head to dreamland. Just mix 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree with 6 ounces of vanilla yogurt. For extra spice, you can toss in some cinnamon, too.
Edamame beans are better known as green soybeans, and, once shelled, are the perfect ingredient for an easy and quick snack that’s healthy to munch on in the latest hours of the day. Mix salt and cumin with just one cup of steamed edamame beans, add some chili powder and red pepper flakes (depending on your spice preference) and keep it in the fridge. When the midnight cravings strike, this low-calorie protein-heavy snack will be waiting for you.
Now you may be tempted to gorge yourself on this delicious combo in the middle of the night since it is listed here. However, this snack only maintains its healthy quotient in the late hours of the day when eaten in small quantities. The maximum one should eat for a filling and still healthy snack before bed is 1 apple with only 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
Milk probably sounds like a thoroughly boring night snack, low-fat milk doubly so. However, if it’s nighttime and you’re still not able to fall asleep because your stomach is growling, a tall glass of milk is just what you need to feel full and sleepy. It’s high in calcium, protein, and tryptophan, a very important amino acid. This amino acid helps the body produce serotonin, which is the hormone that keeps us happy and calm, as well as melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Your favorite movie food can also be your favorite late-night food. Popcorn is an excellent low-calorie snack that fills you up in large and small quantities. That being said, this snack only works if you keep the quantity within 3 cups, ensure they are air-popped, and most importantly, avoid the butter! At most, for a little flavor, you can add a quick spritz of oil, a few spices, or some parmesan cheese!
This is an excellent snack to keep handy for days when you ate your last meal a little too early in the day and really need some light but solid food. Hummus is a delicious, healthy, and refreshingly filling dip made from garbanzo beans, chickpeas, and various lentils. Pair just a quarter cup of this dip with a healthy accompaniment like unsalted pretzels, crackers, or veggies, and you’ll be satisfied.
It has long since been established that turkey is the leanest among the meats commonly available. Despite its leanness, it still comes with a heavy dose of protein. Turkey is also a great alternative to low-fat milk if you’re looking for a meaty snack to help you sleep. This is because tryptophan, which increases the production of serotonin and melatonin, is present in both milk and turkey slices. Make sure not to consume more than 3 ounces of rolled up turkey slices with a few veggies, a healthy dip, or even hot sauce.
Share these healthy snacks with other midnight munchers!