It’s 11 pm and you’re constantly finding reasons to lurk around the fridge, just to eventually surrender and snatch a high-calorie snack to satisfy those cravings. Sounds like an everyday occurrence?
Your at-night snacks don’t have to involve a pint of ice cream and microwave popcorn, though.
This is why we compiled a list of the best healthy snacks that won’t contribute to your love handle formation and on top of that, they’ll help you get a good night's rest.
1. Banana with Peanut Butter
Bananas are packed with antioxidants, such as magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin B6 that will help you fall asleep quickly and give you a peaceful rest at night.
Bananas are also rich in serotonin, which your body will convert to a sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. One study in healthy men also found a more than 4-fold increase in melatonin blood levels within two hours of eating two bananas.
Meaning, a banana paired with some peanut butter (for added protein) is a great late-night snack to munch on and not feel guilty about it in the morning.
2. Goji Berries
Goji berries are among the more popular superfoods. Not only are they very low in sugar and calories (1 serving = 4 tablespoons which contains around 98 calories) but they have several benefits that make them a perfect midnight snack.
For instance, they help reduce anxiety levels and mitigate other emotional disturbances.
A study where participants were given goji juice once a day for 2 weeks (or a placebo substitute) concluded that 7 out of 10 people in the goji berry group found it easier to wake up and 8 out of 10 people also reported better quality sleep during the test period. The placebo group didn’t experience these benefits.
You can eat it by itself, or if you want to offset the tart/sour flavor, feel free to add it to a trail mix.
3. Pineapple Smoothie
Pineapples also have many antioxidant properties, it’s rich in Vitamin C, low in calories and fat and most importantly aids in helping you get quality sleep by increasing the melatonin levels of your body.
According to AARP, researchers found that after eating pineapple, markers of melatonin levels went up by 266%, which won’t make you magically fall asleep, but can greatly contribute to getting a good night's rest.
Using milk in your smoothie can also promote relaxation, but plant-based milk will work just fine also.
Shameless plug: If you don’t feel like waking the entire house and/or your neighbors by whirring up the blender at midnight, or you just simply don't like the hassle that comes with smoothie making, use a pack of our blender-free, banana-pineapple-mango smoothie powder, Smoothie-N-Go.
Your waistline will thank you later!
4. Greek Yoghurt
Among other great benefits, greek yogurt contains an amino acid, called tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and melatonin, helping you get a restful night’s sleep.
It’s also high in casein protein, which assists with muscle recovery and you’ll feel less hungry the next morning.
Feel free to put a spoonful of dried blueberries or cranberries in your yogurt if you feel like it’s too plain by itself!
5. Carrot Slices with Hummus
Carrot slices have the same crunchy, finger food characteristics as potato chips, but they’re not going to add an extra inch to your belly. Quite the opposite. Carrots pack several sleep-promoting nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6, as well as vitamin A and biotin.
Hummus is rich in protein and fiber and contains tryptophan, which can lead to better quality sleep.
Throw a handful of carrot sticks on a plate with three tablespoon’s worth of hummus and you’ve got yourself a filling, but not too heavy snack that can easily substitute your chips & nachos combo.
Nuts are generally great treat food options as they’re high in protein and good fat, however, they're easy to overeat. Pistachios in particular make the best late at-night munchies thanks to their shell.
With other nuts, you can get to the good stuff right away, as opposed to pistachios, where you have to work your way into the shell. This (hopefully) helps you be a tad more mindful about how much you have eaten.
7. Avocado Toast
Avocados spread on a slice of whole-grain toast lightly seasoned with some Himalayan salt make an irresistible healthy snack.
Avocados are high in magnesium that contributes to relaxation, but they also contain potassium (even more than bananas) which improves sleep efficiency.
Feel free to get creative with it! Sun-dried tomatoes, mixed pepper, or sliced olives can give your toast a real kicker.
All in all, eating the above-mentioned snacks at night will keep unwanted pounds at bay if eaten in moderation (just don’t go overboard). Anything under 200 calories won’t tip the scales most likely. (Smoothie-N-Go comes at 85 calories per serving.)
The point is to keep less (if any) fatty, calorie-dense, “traditional” snacks in your pantry and more of your new favs. You know those cravings before bed will hit you anyway, so this way it’s gonna be a whole lot easier to incorporate a healthy snacking routine into your nights and it won’t be just a “one-off" thing inspired by an article. Bon Appetit and good luck!