Do you have trouble beating your late night snacking habit? Do you feel hungry after 9 pm? Despite all the popular beliefs, you can still eat after 7 pm and lose weight or keep it off.
Late night snackers confess it’s all about the food choice you make that can negatively or positively affect your weight loss efforts. Take a look at the diet-friendly snacks below! You can eat them guilt-free, but of course in moderation to promote your weight loss.
1.Whole-grain bread with any nut butter of your choice
Nut butters contain mostly “healthy” fats and relatively little saturated fats. Most of them are also rich in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium, which are all good for your body and can promote sound sleep. Although nut butters are high in calories, a little bit of it with a piece of whole-grain bread won’t hurt your waistline, but will keep you feeling full till your breakfast.
Stick to a moderation and make sure you use organic or homemade nut butter that contain no sweeteners and other preservatives that could harm your weight. Whenever your sweet cravings occur after 7 pm, slather a piece of whole-grain bread or banana bread with a teaspoon of nut butter for a light yet satisfying snack.
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2.Whole-grain crackers with hummus
While this sounds like a lunchtime snack, hummus is low in calories – there are only 25 calories in a tablespoon. Plus, it’s a good source of magnesium that helps you sleep better. Whole-grain crackers are a healthy and diet-friendly alternative to chips and wheat crackers that are chock-full of sodium and other ingredients that can wreak havoc on your body. Have a tablespoon of hummus and at least 4 crackers to beat your hunger.
3.Several nuts with a piece of fruit
When you don’t feel like making nut butter sandwiches or hummus, just have several nuts and a piece of fruit. For instance, have half an apple with 3 to 5 raw almonds or a handful of mixed berries with 5 walnut halves. Avoid eating sweetened and salty roasted nuts that are high in fats, calories, and sodium, which will make you drink a lot of water, increasing your risk of nighttime bloating.
Raw almonds (best if they’re soaked) are a wonderful source of magnesium, which has been proven to boost sleep quality. Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, the amino that helps to drift off to sleep faster. Most importantly, nuts are good at curbing cravings. Just stick to the 3 to 5 nut portion and not more.
Surprised? While green smoothie is considered to be the perfect morning drink, you can enjoy it late at night as well. Reduce the portion in half, though, as green smoothies are rich in fiber that you don’t want to consume in large quantities before bed. Put half a cup of baby spinach, half a banana, half a cup of almond milk, and a handful of your favorite berries in a blender and process until smooth.
Hate green smoothies? Fall in love with strawberries, which are abundant in powerful antioxidants, such as catechin, kaempferol anthocyanin, and quercetin.
Consuming strawberries helps to prevent inflammation, boost the immune system, and shed pounds. Chronic inflammation in the body blocks the hormones essential for keeping you skinny. Strawberries belong to a group of the best anti-inflammatory foods that aid in restoring normal function to weight-lowering hormones.
Plus, strawberries are very low in calories – one contains around 4 calories. Grab 4 to 5 strawberries and blend it with some low-fat Greek yogurt or kefir for a light yet delicious bedtime snack. If it turns out to be too sour, consider adding a teaspoon of raw honey.
6.Dairy-free soft serve
Desperately crave an ice cream? You can have it right before bed! But, instead of munching on fat and calorie dense store-bought ice creams, opt for dairy-free soft serve. It’s vegan and light and doesn’t contain empty calories. What’s even better is that you can make it at home with various flavors in less than 5 minutes. Take one frozen ripe banana and blend for 4 minutes on high speed until you get a thick and creamy ice cream-like consistency. If you want to experiment with flavors, add berries, dark chocolate, or half a teaspoon of peanut butter.
7.Greek yogurt with frozen berries and chia seeds
When frozen, berries change their texture to something close to sorbet or ice cream. However, it may be too risky to eat an ice treat right before bed. Consider mixing your berries with Greek yogurt and chia seeds. This classic snack is high in nutrients that promote weight loss and improve sleep. Moreover, berries are packed with potent antioxidants that help to fight belly fat and improve bowel movement.
Don’t overdo it, though. Don’t buy sweetened Greek yogurt and don’t use too much of chia seeds. A great late-night portion will look like a half cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons of frozen mixed berries, and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds. If you’re highly overweight, cut this portion size in half.
Cottage cheese may sound like a nutrient-dense snack, but if you choose a medium fat or low fat variety, it’ll be your favorite late-night snack. Skip nonfat cottage cheese as it contains no nutrients and it won’t satisfy your hunger. You can top your cottage cheese (stick to a cup of it) with a pinch of cinnamon, a few apple pieces, or frozen berries. The calcium found in cottage cheese will ease you to sleep while the slow-digesting protein will help you beat even the most intense craving.
An added bonus: if you often wake up with heartburn during the night, try eating cottage cheese before bed. It contains protein that helps to help control reflux, preventing heartburn and improving your overall gut health.
Bananas make an easy and quick and snack to munch on before you fall asleep. Not only will this snack help you sleep better, but will also promote weight loss during the sleep. Bananas are plentiful in magnesium and potassium – two powerful nutrients that help relax the muscles, ensuring a restful night.
Bananas also contain carbs, which have been proven to improve sleep by making tryptophan more easily available to your brain. Have one medium-sized banana as your late-night snack.
10.A bowl of hot oatmeal
When you want comfort before bedtime while still combating those pesky cravings, have a bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal.
Skip the milk and use plain water while cooking oats. Milk can cause some digestive woes, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. Oats are low in calories – there’s around 129 calories in a half cup of cooked oats, as well as magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and zero cholesterol. These make oatmeal a hearty meal to enjoy guilt-free late at night.
Related article: 1 Bowl of Oatmeal: 7 Health Benefits
Store-bought popcorn is packed with the ingredients that can cause you to gain weight rather than lose it. If you make your own, though, you can get a quick, easy, and light bedtime snack that is low in calories but high in magnesium, protein, iron, vitamin B6, and potassium. If you skip flavorings, you’ll drastically reduce the fat content of your popcorn.
Try seasoning it with nutritional yeast if you don’t like the natural taste of popcorn. Nutritional yeast packs some protein and lots of B vitamins, which aids in sleep improvement and keep you full on fewer calories.
12.Chamomile tea and honey
When you don’t feel like eating but feel a bit hungry, have a cup of freshly brewed chamomile tea with a teaspoon of raw honey. Chamomile reduces stress, fights inflammation, and prepares your body for sleep. Most importantly, it contains only 5 calories while can fill you up and calm down mild hunger pangs. Honey is optional here so feel free not to add it to your tea.
The lightest bedtime snacks should be easy to digest. They can contain a bit of carbs, but not too much fat, protein, or fiber. Otherwise, you might end up lying awake half the night from feeling too full, not to mention that you will boost your calorie intake. Keep these 12 bedtime light snacks handy when your next late-night cravings strike. But don’t forget about the moderation.