The Top 10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks
When the night falls, it brings all sorts of cravings. One of the most common ones includes the midnight-walk to the fridge. You’re probably well aware of the fact that the late-night snacks are bad for you, but sometimes you just can’t resist them. Whether you’ve been feeding on fruit and veggies all day or you’re used to nomming snacks while watching Netflix, it’s ok to have these cravings. Grabbing something to eat late at night doesn’t necessarily have to feel like committing one of the deadly sins. If you change your approach and switch to healthier options than a slice of pizza or a bag of chips, you’ll manage to satisfy your hunger and keep fit at the same time. Here are some alternatives that you may consider next time your stomach starts rumbling.
Who says that oatmeal is reserved only for breakfast time? Sometimes, a warm bowl of oatmeal is the most soothing thing you can indulge in before crawling into bed. This serving of yumminess is a great source of fiber. It’s rich in beta-glucan which keeps your cholesterol levels in balance. If you’re trying to lose weight or you’re just into eating healthy, the best way is to prepare your oatmeal in advance. Steel-cut oats take a long time to cook, so when your cravings come knocking, chances are you’re probably going to steer away from anything that takes more than 3 minutes to prepare. If you’re not on a strict diet regime, you can go for instant oatmeal. Add some skimmed milk, a pinch of cinnamon, or some dried fruit and voila – you’ll have a perfect late-night snack.
Watching films late at night usually goes hand in hand with craving snacks. And which snack do you usually go for? That’s right – popcorn. These delicious fluffy noms are perfect for satisfying your pre-bed cravings for several reasons. They are very low in calories, which means that you can have a lot of it without feeling guilty. Of course, you can always go for a bag of microwave popcorn since it’s hassle-free. They come in a variety of flavors, too. However, microwave popcorn usually has more calories hidden within the seasoning inside the packaging. So, if you want to lose that muffin top, make your own bowl of these flaky goodies. Air-popping your own kernels are a healthier alternative of a late-night snack. If you want to indulge, feel free to add some butter or grated cheese on top.
3) Protein smoothie
When it comes to late-night snacks, you should always choose those rich in protein. It supports muscle repair and has benefits for weight loss and metabolic health. What’s more, it’s the most filling macronutrient. This is because protein reduces the level of ghrelin or so-called hormone of hunger. So if you want to lose weight without going to bed hungry, consider replacing carbs and fats with protein. Slow release protein, also known as casein protein is a fantastic “pre-bed” alternative. You can add it to smoothies, pudding, oatmeal, or simply mix it with a cup of milk. It provides your muscles with amino acids over time, and all that while you’re sleeping. Sounds perfect, right?
There are many myths about sandwiches. For some reason, most people would categorize a sandwich as unhealthy. It’s not completely untrue, though. The best advantage a sandwich has over other late-night snacks is that it can be as healthy and filling as you want it to be. If you’re having one of those nights when you’re feeling down and need good old soul food, a sandwich will deliver. You can stuff it with anything from bacon and lots of cheese to peanut butter and jam. Also, you can make a healthier alternative that is equally tasty.
Due to their amazing diversity, vegetables can be a part of every meal during the day. Whether you serve them as a main dish or a side dish, the options are endless. Aside from being a regular guest on the lunch plates all around the world, they are also a fantastic choice for late-night cravings. It can be as easy as cutting the carrots, cucumbers or any other fresh veggie of your choice into strips. If you want something nice and creamy to go with your crunchy noms, make a dip from low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. If you want to go a step further, you can enhance the flavor by adding some garlic or parsley to the dip. On the other hand, if you’re a chips-lover, instead of potato sticks go with the carrot ones and grille them for a few minutes. Why? Because late-night snacks are all about getting more nutrients while eating fewer calories.
6) Yogurt and fruit
There’s probably nothing more refreshing than a bowl of yogurt with a handful of berries on top. During hot summer days, this is something many people choose for a snack because it’s light and tasty. Yogurt is a fantastic source of calcium, which will make you sleep better. There are many varieties to choose from at the supermarket, but the best option to opt for is plain yogurt. You can eat it plain or you can spice things up by throwing in some nuts, berries, or any other kind of fresh or dried fruit. If you want a real treat, drizzle a spoon of warm honey over yogurt and add a pinch of cinnamon. It’s the yummiest bedtime snack you can find.
7) Pumpkin seeds
If you’re looking for a late-night snack that is low in calories but rich in magnesium then the pumpkin seeds are the perfect choice for you. They contain 50% of the recommended intake of magnesium which is important for many different processes in your body. A 28-gram serving has only 146 calories. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in tryptophan, which is believed to support better sleep. Your body will benefit even more if you eat the seeds with carbs such as raisins or fresh fruit. Adding pumpkin seeds to a slice of apple triggers the tryptophan which further helps your brain produce melatonin. Aside from satisfying your late-night cravings, you’ll sleep better, too. Magnesium is a powerful relaxant that will help you unwind before bedtime.
8) Crackers (and cheese)
Many people love to snack on these regardless of the time of the day because they’re both tasty and filling. If you want a healthy late-night snack, go for whole wheat crackers. Other options are multigrain or low-fat mini toasts. These are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Multi-grain crackers are also rich in iron, which is responsible for energy production. What’s more, they offer a great balance of carbs and protein which keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Pairing whole-grain crackers with cheese will give you a mouth-watering late-night snack that’s healthy and easy to make.
When you’re craving something sweet and refreshing late at night, nothing beats a bowl of blueberries. Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, they’re real fire-crackers of flavor and nutrients. Aside from fiber which is responsible for the filling benefit of these blue beauties, they are also rich in magnesium. It’s a mineral that helps in the relaxation of muscles and supports better sleep. When it comes to serving options, the sky is the limit. You can eat them plain, or with a bowl of low-fat Greek yogurt. Add some chopped nuts or a bit of whipped cream for a nice late-night dessert. With all the health benefits, this is probably the ultimate healthy late-night snack you can have.
When we talk about foods that are rich in protein, eggs are probably one of the first things that come to your mind. They are so versatile that you can make them part of many different meals, including snacks. When it comes to boiled eggs, some people like them freshly cooked while others prefer cooking them beforehand and storing them in the fridge. Later on, when the late-night cravings come knocking at the door, you have them ready for anything you like. Put them in a salad or in a sandwich. You can make a delicious spread for whole-grain crackers or a toast. You can find many recipes online for scrambled-egg muffins and other tasty treats. What’s great about them is that you can freeze them and reheat any time you feel like having a healthy late-night bite.
Satisfying your late-night cravings doesn’t have to be followed by extra pounds and a feeling of guilt. There are many healthy alternatives to fast food that you can include in your diet. Try to keep your snack under 200 calories and stick to minimally processed food like berries, nuts, plain yogurt, and eggs. Following these tips will help you find the snacks that are good for and which you will enjoy.
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