These quick and healthy bedtime snacks will keep your tummy happy well into the middle of the night.
Did you know that over 50% of Americans snack at night? (source) That’s after dinner, right before we’re about to turn in for the evening. While we sleep our metabolism slows to it’s lowest point. Therefore, making smart choices prior to bedtime can be key to maintaining a healthy weight.
If you’re anything like me, you eat dinner around 6:00, but then by 9:00 or 9:30 you start feeling a little peckish. This usually happens on the days I have a really light dinner, like a salad and small chicken breast. It also happens on the days I do more intense workouts. When it’s close to bedtime you don’t want to fill your body with a bunch of junk that’s just going to sit in your stomach and turn to fat, so making wise choices this time of day is key.
It’s important that you consider a few things before you head to the kitchen for a late night snack. First, make sure you aren’t stress eating. People who stress eat tend to reach for higher calorie foods that are only going to make your quality of sleep decrease. Second, if you do feel the need to snack, make sure you’re reaching for low calorie snacks that won’t leave you feeling bloated in the morning.
Here are a few healthy bedtime snacks that will get you through the night.
Greek yogurt with cherries
Greek yogurt is full of protein, which will help your muscles repair and rebuild over night. And did you know that cherries contain melatonin? So if you are craving something a little sweet, try this combo for a nice sleepy-time snack.
I love me some cottage cheese! Another protein packed food (~25 grams per cup) that’s low in calories and fat, cottage cheese is also full of essential vitamins and minerals, like B12, calcium and folate.
Handful of unsalted nuts
Nuts are high in protein, but also high in fat, so make sure you stick to a 1 ounce serving (around 185 calories). Try for walnuts, which contain melatonin.
Butter free popcorn
If you really want something that feels like a treat, try some popcorn. In one 3.5 ounce serving of popcorn, there are 13 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. Popcorn also contains vitamins B1, B3 and B6, iron, magnesium (which women are traditionally deficient in), potassium and zinc. I’ll take a few cups thank you!
Easy to grab after you’ve already cleaned the kitchen for the night. If you’re craving something sweet, bananas help satisfy, along with a good dose of magnesium and vitamin B6, which aids in serotonin production.
String cheese is low in calories and contains a decent amount of protein. It also contains tryptophan, which could help make you drowsy and ready for bed.
Apple with nut butter
This is usually my go to. Apples help curb the sweet craving and provide you with a good dose of fiber, while the nut butter gets you a good boost of protein. Apples and nut butter are a match made in heaven.
If you find yourself snacking in the evenings frequently, it may be a good idea to reevaluate what you eat for dinner. Make sure you’re choosing high protein and fiber rich foods, as well as veggies, for your healthy bedtime snacks. Your body is going to burn through white carbs really quickly, which could be leading to hunger later at night. Smart choices will help you stay full and feeling great.