Late-night snacking brings up a plethora of controversies from both supporters and haters. But the tummy wants what it wants, and it is difficult to fall asleep on a hungry stomach. So here are some easy and creative healthy snack options when counting sheep isn’t enough to take you to la la land.
Protein is always a good option for late-night cravings in moderation. If you prefer something savory before hitting the hay, beef jerky like those from https://jerkybrands.com/ is rich in protein and iron. However, keep in mind that jerky is also rich in sodium because of the curing process, so you must curb your portion size, especially if you have high blood pressure.
Studies suggest that tart cherries like Montmorency improves sleep and protect against inflammatory conditions like arthritis as well as heart diseases. This is owing to the fact that tart cherries contain small amounts of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
It also contains a phytochemical that protects the amino acid tryptophan which is used in melatonin production. Studies show that regular consumption of eight ounces of tart cherries juice or a quarter cup of dried tart cherries can give insomniacs an extra 1.5-2 hours of sleep. It is only 160 calories.
What makes a tasty, low-calorie midnight snack that helps you go back to sleep? A small banana with a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter, of course!
Bananas are rich in serotonin which the body can convert into melatonin. Moreover, almond contains magnesium, essential for melatonin production, and other nutrients like vitamin E and healthy fats.
So next time you cannot sleep, munch on this tasty snack to get quick sleep for only 190 calories.
If you exercise regularly then this is the perfect midnight snack for you. This protein-rich smoothie is easy to make and aids in muscle repair and slowing down muscle loss associated with age. Simply blend in 8 oz of low-fat milk and ⅔ cup of frozen tropical fruit like pineapple, and you end up with 160 calories worth of a healthy drink to help you sleep.
A protein-rich smoothie is also great for incorporating milk into your diet before bed. Milk contains tryptophan, which helps produce melatonin and serotonin, which help induce sleep.
These sweet-tart berries owe their red-orange color to the antioxidant-rich carotenoids. These help improve sleep, chase away post-wake tiredness, and provide a healthier snack option for those with a sweet tooth.
A quarter cup of these dried berries is only 139 calories. Add them to some cereal or enjoy them on their own.
Crackers and cheese combine protein and carbs, allowing a consistent blood sugar level. In addition, cheese is rich in tryptophan, and carbs like crackers increase its availability to the brain, which can then be used to make serotonin and melatonin.
If you are worried about the calories in cheese, don’t be. A serving of 4 crackers and one low-fat cheese stick is only 150 calories. But if you aren’t a huge cheese fan, switch it to protein-rich hummus.
Cereals shouldn’t only be limited to breakfast; you can also have the nutrient-dense and fiber-rich meal as a midnight snack.
Whole-grain options like cereals and rice can be cooked beforehand and stored in the fridge for days. Then reheat them and add milk and toppings like nuts, cinnamon, or dried fruits. For reference on the calorie count, a 3-cup oatmeal cooked with only water is 124 calories.
Can’t sleep at night, so popped on a movie? We have all been there, and movies are incomplete without some popcorn. You can enjoy this light and crunchy snack in heaps minus the worry of calories. Three cups of air-popped popcorn are barely 100 calories, just remember not to use butter or oil.
Popcorn makes a delicious late-night snack without inducing a food coma.
Most people wouldn’t like to cook or make something elaborate in the middle of the night. This is the perfect treat for them, low-fat geek yogurt contains calcium which is used to make tryptophan and melatonin.
Skip the artificial sweetener for fresh fruits and crunchy chia seeds for a delicious late-night snack.
This school lunch favorite can be an excellent midnight craving solution. Peanut butter is a great source of the essential sleep amino acid, tryptophan. The complex carb and peanut butter combination is a recipe for taste and good sleep.
The most low-effort yet tasty late-night treat is trail mix. You can buy a store-bought trail mix or easily make your own with your favorite ingredients. The latter is a healthier option since you can skip the artificial sweetener, add items of your choice, and control the calories.
Measure your trail mix to avoid going overboard, and choose from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as your trail mix ingredients.
Sometimes popcorn and trail mix doesn’t cut it. Instead, you want to have something a little more filling, and nothing gets tastier than enjoying a tasty wrap with your favorite fillings in the middle of the night.
Warm a whole tortilla, and add your favorite spread, such as dried tomato, hummus, or nut butter, followed by chicken breast, lettuce, and some cherry tomatoes for a yummy wrap to savor on a sleepless night.
Pumpkin seeds are a popular snack, rich in magnesium and tryptophan, both sleep-essential nutrients, while costing a mere 158 calories for a cup of said seeds.
Eat your pumpkin seeds with raisins or some apples, as the extra carbs increase the availability of tryptophan to your brain to produce melatonin.
Unripe, green soybeans are called edamame in Japanese. You can easily get dry-roasted edamame from the store or buy frozen edamame and then let them thaw. Then toss them with salt and pepper to get a simple late-night snack.
Alternatively, you can use the soybeans to make hummus to enjoy as a spread on some toasted whole grain bread or pair some fruits with dry-roasted edamame if you prefer a crunchy snack.
What is a more filling and versatile snack than eggs? Eggs are rich in protein but only 1 egg is only 70 calories making it a simple, filling snack option. Hardboiled, egg salad, fried, poached, or steamed eggs are endless. If you feel like going the extra mile, make scrambled egg muffins which can be frozen and reheated.
Potato chips are universally a favorite snack, but did you know many healthier alternatives are just as crunchy and delicious as sweet potato, turnip, carrots, and so on? Zucchini chips have all the features that make potato chips popular, minus their notorious demerits. Remember to bake, or air fry them instead of using oil to skip the bloating and greasiness of traditional potato chips.
This list of healthy snack options is sure to make you look forward to your next midnight craving. The trick to keep snacking healthy is to avoid fried and prepackaged food and to use healthier alternatives like fruits instead of artificial sweeteners and baked or air-fried food instead of oil-fried ones.