Hungry at Night? These Healthy Snacks Can Curb Your Hunger Pangs and Promote Good Sleep
Contrary to the ‘don’t eat after 7’ notion, eating late does not mean you will be disrupting your health and packing on kilos. A calorie is a calorie, be it is in the morning or late night. But as long as you choose healthy late night snacks, you can still satisfy your hunger keep your body healthy.
Hunger at night can be due to various reasons including boredom, dehydration, and accelerated metabolism, lack of protein or low salt or sugar levels. Whatever the reason, you are hell bent to go to the kitchen and satisfy your cravings. Below are the foods that you can eat at night which not only curbs your hunger but are full of nutrients which promote good sleep.
Milk and Cereals
Mostly, cereals are reserved for morning meals but it can be a nice late night snack option for you. Many corn-based cereals such as cornflakes are high in glycemic carbs and it was found in a study that eating these cereals before bedtime can cut the time it would to fall asleep. Dairy products are rich in calcium which plays an important role in producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.
However, you have to keep the portion small, especially for the people with heartburn. The total calorie count should be under 300.
Tip – 1 cup of cornflakes give you 100 calories and add 45 calories of a half-cup of skim milk, it will be a good combination.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
This has been the childhood favorite of many and nighttime can be the right time to become a kid again. Peanut butter consists of an important amino acid known as tryptophan which when goes to the brain converts into melatonin, promoting sleep. But you also need carbohydrates such as bread and jam which boost tryptophan response in the brain.
Tip – Opt for a whole grain bread which is a healthier option. Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and jam on the other and combine them before cutting them in a sandwich form. One peanut butter and jelly sandwich contains about 236 calories.
The fruit not only makes your tummy happy but is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Berries also contain magnesium which helps relax muscles and nerves speeding up the sleepiness.
Tip – Berries are low on calories, a cup of blueberries gives you 80 calories, 3.6 gram fiber and 1 gram protein. Serve them plain or splash some milk for a healthy snack.
Fruit and yogurt
If you are searching for some plain and light food, then there is no better option than yogurt. They are excellent source of calcium and low in fat. Just remember to check the label before purchasing as some varieties can be high in sugar.
Tip – Add some fresh fruit, chopped nuts or honey to make the combination rich in antioxidants as well.
Cheese and crackers
The cheese and crackers are one such savory food you can have late at night. But keep a tab on the serving size if you are serious about your weight since cheese can be high in calories. You can also choose whole grain crackers which have good amount of fibre and if you still want to add volume, add some slices of apple, grapes or fresh vegetables.
Tip – About 56 grams of cheddar cheese contains 113 calories while six-piece serving of whole wheat crackers contains about 120 calories.
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A great late night snack, popcorn is one such food which you can have a lot without crossing the calorie limit. Whether you are reading a book or watching a movie, munching popcorn is a great way to curb your cravings at night.
Tip – 2 cup of air-popped popcorn will give you 62 calories. You can double this amount, if necessary; however, it is better to avoid butter as a bid to prevent your waistline from increasing.
Why not opt for something that needs less effort and is easy on tongue? Pistachios besides having plenty of nutritional benefits including protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats is also known for its high level of sleep promoting hormone i.e. melatonin.
Tip – Typically, one needs 0.5-5 mg of melatonin for boosting sleep and Pistachios contains about 6.5 mg in 28 gram of serving which is just about a handful of shelled pistachios. Pistachios also contain 160 calories, so you are well within the limits.
Banana with almond butter
Both almonds and almond butter are rich in vitamin E, magnesium and healthy fats. They have also some amount of melatonin. On the other hand, bananas are full of serotonin, the nerve messenger which some of it the body converts into melatonin.
Tip – The tasty pairing of 1 small banana dipped with a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter gives 165 calories.
If your stomach triggers you for something, then a warm bowl of oatmeal may be the right food to have at night. Oatmeal is rich in filling fiber that also keeps your cholesterol levels under control.
Tip – Oatmeal can take a long time to cook. The best bet is to prepare instant oatmeal by combining a cup of fat-free milk, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, one cup dried fruit and sprinkle some cinnamon for good smell and flavor.
Here is the best snack for the chocoholics. As we know, chocolate contains 70 percent of cocoa and have more antioxidants and less amount of sugar than the regular milk chocolate. So, next time you are hungry and that too due to the sweet tooth, grab a dark chocolate.
Tip – The darker the better. About 28 gram of 85 percent dark chocolate has 136 calories with no sugar.
If you are really hungry at night out of boredom or stress, having a quick snack can have many benefits including good sleep. The most important point to remember is that keeping healthy snacks always in hand will let you avoid last minute run at the nearby convenience store or hit a close fast-food restaurant and eat high-calorie and unhealthy snack. Mindful eating should remain our priority, especially for the ones who are trying to lose weight. Sometimes, the compulsion to eat can be too much.