Craving a snack late at night from time to time is pretty common, but you may have heard midnight snacking is a bad idea and can lead to weight gain. Although a late night meal can lead to overeating or increased caloric intake, you don’t have to stuff yourself with junk to feel full. Eating a midnight snack does not have to derail your healthy eating plan. Just be sure you are eating out of hunger and not because you are bored or stressed at the end of the day. Below are 10 healthy midnight snacks which require little or no prep work.
Peanut butter can be a healthy snack when eaten in moderation. It provides a good source of protein and helps give you a feeling of fullness. Graham crackers are low in fat and have less sugar than other sweet treats. Spread a tablespoon on a graham cracker for a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth and curb your hunger before heading to bed.
Greek yogurt makes a healthy midnight snack for several reasons. Not only does Greek yogurt contain calcium and protein, but is also a good source of probiotics, which helps you maintain digestive balance. Greek yogurt also has less carbohydrates and sugars than regular yogurt.
Cereal is not just for breakfast. It also makes a quick and healthy midnight snack. Stay away from sugary cereals, which add extra calories. Instead, choose something that contains whole grains. Consider using fat free or one percent milk to keep calories even lower. Milk also contains, L-tryptophan, which is an amino acid and can help promote sleep.
If you are craving something sweet for a bedtime snack, skip the pie and cookies. Heat an apple in the microwave for about three minutes. Sprinkle it with a little cinnamon and drizzle with honey or granola. Apples provide a great source of fiber and vitamin C for about 100 calories. By warming up the apple and adding a little extra flavor, you get a taste similar to apple pie without the calories.
Turkey slices on wheat crackers are a good choice for midnight snacking. Use deli meat, which will cut down any preparation. Whole wheat crackers satisfy the urge to crunch and provide a good source of whole grains. Plus, the tryptophan in turkey can help induce sleep, even if by a little bit.
Sometimes you’re in the mood for a cold, refreshing late night snack, without any preparation. It does not get much easier than reaching for a frozen fruit bar from your freezer. Frozen fruit bars are a healthy midnight snack packed full of vitamins. You can make your own or buy packaged bars. When purchasing frozen fruits bars, look for bars without sugar added, made from 100 percent fruit juice.
Nuts, such as almonds, make a healthy snack any time of the day, including late at night. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, almonds not only contain antioxidants but they also contain vitamin B and magnesium. Almonds also have fewer calories than other types of nuts.
Although cow’s milk makes a healthy midnight snack, try something a little different to change things up. Pour coconut milk over a dish of fresh strawberries. Coconut milk provides calcium and protein, but also contains high amounts of iron, niacin and vitamins E and C. Strawberries, which are low in calories, provide a good source of folate, magnesium and vitamin C.
If your midnight snack hankering is for something salty, soy chips with low fat veggie dip may satisfy your craving. Soy chips are a good substitute for regular potato chips since they are lower in fat and calories and also provide a serving or protein. Just like regular potato chips, soy ships come in different flavors including barbecue, ranch and cheddar.
When reaching for a sweet treat for a midnight snack, skip the ice cream and try a frozen banana instead. It contains fewer calories than ice cream and provides a serving of potassium, which can help promote sleep. To add a little extra flavor and calcium, dip the banana in vanilla yogurt prior to putting it in into the freezer.
The connection between eating late at night and weight gain is still debatable among researchers. According to John Hopkins Medicine, your overall calorie intake and physical activity is more important than what time of the day you eat. While an occasional midnight snack will probably not cause you to gain weight, just be sure to keep you midnight snacks, light and healthy. It’s also beneficial to keep your snacking habits in mind when planning your daily calorie allowance.