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Health and Fitness News

Late Night Munchies

Healthy but yummy late night snack options.

If you’ve talked to many people about healthy eating habits, you probably heard that eating past a certain time in the evening makes you gain weight. Don’t believe it though. A calorie is a calorie no matter what time of day you eat it. A donut doesn’t contain more calories if it’s eaten past 10 p.m., and neither does a carrot. The problem with late night snacks is that it’s easy to overdo it when you’re tired or when you eat while you’re distracted.

You’ve probably had the experience of wondering where all the food went while you watched television. The bag of chips was practically full when the movie started, but now it’s mysteriously disappeared.

But your snacks don’t have to ruin your good health. Snacks, including late night snacks, can be part of a healthy diet. The trick is to eat the right kind of snack in the right portion size. Here are a few snack options when the late night munchies hit.

Popcorn

Instead of indulging on a bag of chips, satisfy your craving for salty foods with popcorn. When you hear that popcorn is a diet-friendly snack food, don’t imagine a bucket full of movie-theater popcorn drenched in butter and smothered in salt. It’s air-popped popcorn that makes for a yummy, low-calorie, high-fiber, whole-grain snack that will fill you up. Add a minimal amount of salt and butter for flavor if so desired and enjoy.

Fruit

You can’t go wrong snacking on fruit. Eating a few tart cherries, goji berries, or kiwi before bed may even help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. Tart cherries and goji berries contain a small amount of melatonin, the hormone that helps promote sleep. Kiwi contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that relaxes you so you can fall asleep easier.

Cheese and Crackers

Instead of satisfying a craving for cheese with pizza, why not eat a few whole-grain crackers topped with cheese slices? A snack that contains both carbs and protein helps keep your blood sugar stabilized, and this delicious snack has them both! Cheese also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that’s used to make melatonin and serotonin, both of which promote sleep. The carbs in the crackers help deliver tryptophan to the brain so you sleep easy.

Greek Yogurt

When all you can think of is ice cream, why not satisfy your craving with some creamy Greek yogurt? Full of protein and calcium, Greek yogurt topped with berries and a little granola makes a healthy late night snack option.

Oatmeal

When you’re hungry enough for a small meal but are trying to watch your waistline, why not fix a small bowl of oatmeal? It’s low in calories as well as high in protein and fiber so it fills you up. Top it with a little milk, honey, and/or berries for added sweetness. As an added perk, warm oatmeal is a soothing way to prepare for bedtime.

Turkey Wrap

Ever wonder why you feel sleepy after your big Thanksgiving meal? Turkey is another food that contains tryptophan, making it a good food to eat before bed when you’ve got the munchies. Use a whole-grain tortilla to make a turkey and cheese wrap.

PB&J

Like turkey, peanut butter is a great source of tryptophan. Those evenings when you’re feeling hungry before bed but aren’t sure what to eat, make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread. Look for jams or jellies made with reduced amounts of sugar and use all-natural peanut butter to avoid unhealthy fats and sugars.