Gluilt-Free Late Night Snacks
Snacking in front of the TV is a lot of people’s favorite sport. So, if you do decide you are really hungry and not just browsing the kitchen for food out of boredom there are some things to keep in mind when choosing the late night snack.
Also, some people have troubles going to sleep if they are hungry and often have midnight cravings. If you are going straight back to bed small snacks let’s say less than 200 calories should be good enough not to cause sleep troubles.
Choose wisely. Your snacks should contain protein, fiber and healthy fats. Here are examples of some snacks that will fill your stomach without causing problems:
- Light whole wheat bread sandwich with lean protein such as turkey and vegetables. Because of the slower digestion of whole wheats, you will feel full for a longer time. Meanwhile the amino acids tryptophan will make you sleepy.
- Nut butter, either alone or with fruits (apples or bananas) is a good choice as it will raise your serotonin levels. Serotonin makes us feel good and relax. You can also eat it in a peanut butter-jelly sandwich.
- Crackers with cottage cheese will have similar effect like the one from nut butter, also because of the presence of tryptophan. Enrich the snack with some fresh grapes or vegetables. The carb-rich foods will make tryptophan more available to the brain.
- Some yogurt with fruits like cherries or raspberries. Berries are a good choice as they contain magnesium that helps in nerve relaxation.
- Cereal or oatmeal with milk is most commonly associated with breakfast, but can also be a light evening snack. It is a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, and a good choice for late nights.
- Protein and fiber bars can be an upgrade of the cereal and berries. Just watch out for the sugar content.
- Popcorn is a good late-night snack if prepared properly. It should not have too much grease (butter or oil, whichever you prefer), but also not a lot of salt. Try something new and use different spices for a diverse taste.
- Pumpkin seeds are interesting choice for a healthy snack. They contain a lot of magnesium that is correlated to better sleep. For variety, combine them with fruits.
- Different nuts like honey-roasted cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pistacchio etc are a good choice. Still, since they are rich in calories, limit the intake to a handful. Nuts will provide vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and a sense of fullness. Combine with fresh fruits.
- Besides roasted, chickpeas can be eaten in the form of hummus as well. Combine with fresh vegetables and whole grain crackers.
If you did not find anything appealing on the list above, and are still looking for tasty treats please keep in mind that some foods may cause more harm than good. Too greasy foods for example will cause indigestion. When choosing your late night snack try to avoid foods such as:
- Burrito, which in very tasty, is not a good idea for dinner. It can cause heartburn because of the greasy, but also a lot of gas because of the beans.
- Eating spicy food late at night can increase your heart rate and will make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Leftover pizza may sound delicious, but is not a smart choice. Pizza can be greasy because of the cheese, and the crust is full of refined carbohydrates. Maybe leave this for lunch.
- Salty and greasy snacks like potato chips are generally not a good idea. You will definitely be thirsty, and since they are addictive, there is a chance you will have too many.
- A lot of sugar that can be found in candy, chocolate or ice-cream is also not a good idea, since it can increase your energy level right about when you are preparing to slow down and go (back) to bed.
Some people do not eat late at night to have a slim waistline, while for others snacking is part of the small joys of life.
Berries, nuts, foods rich in protein and fiber are good for late night snacking. Even if you are craving and dream of a tasty meal, treat yourself with a small meal so you will sleep well. Overeating will not only cause temporary troubles like bloating and gas, but can lead to overeating and weight gain on the long run.