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Last Updated on August 9, 2019

17 Healthy Late Night Snacks for When Midnight Cravings Hit

17 Healthy Late Night Snacks for When Midnight Cravings Hit

You look at the clock glaring the numbers 12:15 back at you in bright red. You can feel your stomach grumbling. You reach for your phone trying to distract you, but you just can’t seem to ignore the overwhelming urge for something to eat! Finally, frustrated, you grab your slipper and stomp to the fridge. You try to remember your diet but it’s too late. If you don’t grab something you’ll be up all night…

Does this situation sound familiar? If so, get prepared to be prepared! Late night cravings don’t have to mean the pitfall of every diet you’ve ever tried. Instead, with a little knowledge and planning you can avoid those dreaded midnight munchies!

Are you ready? Here are the top 17 late night snacks for when your cravings hit.

1. Blood Sugar Balancing Lemonade or Soda

When cravings hit, there’s a good chance our blood sugar might just be out of balance.[1] When you find yourself craving food in the middle of the night, start off with this balancing lemonade. You might find that you don’t even need anything else!

The power is in the blend of lemon (a detoxifier), Cinnamon (a craving buster) and chromium (a mineral that is necessary for us to balance our blood sugar). Of course, the water in itself will help fill you up and destroy cravings. So, before reaching for the cookies, fill up on some of this lemonade and see if the problem takes care of itself.

2. Edamame

If you are looking for something to occupy your tastebuds, edamame might just be the way to go! This tasty snack is extremely clean and high in protein.

Late at night, your body’s metabolism slows down to prepare you for sleep. So of course, if you are munching on high calorie snacks, there is a good chance they might turn into fat more than if you were to eat that same food in the morning of an active day.

The combination of low-calorie and high protein might help you stay full and satiated while still revving up the metabolism enough to help burn off those calories.

3. In-Shell Pistachios

Although too many might be high in calories, moderate amounts of pistachios might actually help you go back to sleep.

Though all foods contain some melatonin, a nutrient which is essential for deep sleep, pistachios are one the most nutrient dense. Just a small handful of these power snacks will punch as much melatonin as supplement!

4. Turkey

Remember how each Thanksgiving, your Dad crashes on the couch in a deep turkey-coma? Post-Thanksgiving naps are a legit thing! I’ll tell you why.

Turkey contains large amounts of tryptophan which contribute to making people feel tired. If you really want some good rest and a yummy nighttime snack, try wrapping turkey in romaine lettuce, drizzle a little dressing, and enjoy a delicious wrap.

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5. Tart Cherries

Tart cherries can actually help you boost your melatonin production making them perfect for a good night’s rest. Cherries also require mindful eating due to the stems and pits making them a perfect choice for people who want to avoid late night binges.

If you really want something sweet but need help keeping it moderate, try freezing the cherries. The extra cold will not only take longer to eat but, it might actually help you curb some cravings in the process.

6. Berries

Berries are an extremely healthy snack for anytime of the day, but at night, they are especially perfect. High amounts of carbs can make it harder for you to sleep.

However, berries are extremely low glycemic (meaning they don’t have a huge effect on your blood sugar) making them absolutely perfect to curb the sweet tooth and still have a good nights rest.

Plus they are so high in antioxidants that your also doing your body a favor!

7. Berry Slushie

As mentioned, berries are very low glycemic, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar in the way normal fruit would.

For an especially perfect snack, blend together ice, lemon, berries, and stevia. The addition of the lemon and stevia will help you get that sweet kick without having to add too much fruit into the mix. You will feel satisfied without even budging your waistline.

8. Veggies

For those of you who feel extra ambitious, try filling up on veggies. They are so low-calorie, you don’t really have to worry about over eating them.

If you really want to add some extra flavor, try sauteing them in water or dipping them in a tablespoon of sauce. You’ll feel full and satisfied but you won’t have to worry about an overdose of calories.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

Much like pistachios, pumpkin seeds can help fill you up without disrupting your sleep. Pumpkin seeds are packed with tryptophan that might help knock you out.

If you feel like you just can’t sleep and want to avoid a sudden binge, keep in-shell pumpkin seeds on hand as well. You will stay occupied and have your cravings handled without the temptation of grabbing mouthfuls at a time.

10. Plain Yogurt and Cinnamon

Cinnamon is really a master at helping curb cravings. This makes for a power combo when you hit your body with both protein-dense Greek yogurt and balancing cinnamon simultaneously.

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If you really want to feel like you’re having a treat, just add a tablespoon or so of stevia, and dip in half an apple. You’ll almost think you were having a dessert.

11. Protein Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love a low calorie snack? This recipe uses gelatin to thicken up the rest of the ingredients into a more creamy flavor without adding the whopping calories of cream.

Late and night, our metabolism slows down to prepare for sleep. That means, low calorie snacks are ideal. They’ll fill you right up without disrupting your sleep or diet.

Check out the recipe of this ice-cream here!

12. A Tablespoon of Almond Butter

Sometimes, all you need is just one little lick of something to keep you satiated. That’s what this trick will do for you.

Although one tablespoon will pack in about 100 calories, the healthy fats might be all it takes to keep you satisfied and happy. Just be mindful of how much if you are trying to lose or maintain weight.

13. Shiritake Noodles

There’s a big difference between wanting to eat because you’re hungry or eating because.. well.. you want to eat. By all means, if you’re feeling genuinely hungry, then reach for something a bit more satiating. Most of us, however, start reaching for the pantry out of pure habit.

But, before giving in to a cup of Top Ramen, give this trick a try! Warm up Shiritake noodles and season with whatever you’re feeling most. These noodles taste great mixed in with coconut aminos for a Thai bowl topped with veggies.

Or try mixing it with almond milk, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for something savory. These 0-calorie noodles with help solve the munchies and make you feel satisfied again!

14. Homemade Jello

Much like the Protein Ice Cream, homemade jello is a really filling way to get your sweet fix when you don’t really need the extra calories.

While most gelatin from stores is not good for you at all, moderate amounts of natural gelatin, like Great Lakes Gelatin, can actually be pretty good for you and your gut.

While healthy carbs are in no way bad, I prefer to use stevia for this recipe as well at night, since too high of carb can really disrupt sleep.

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Take a look at the recipe here to make your own healthy jello.

15. Kale Chips

When you’re craving something crunchy and salty, kale chips are the way to go. Many brands include some amounts of cashews which make them very satiating as well.

Think ahead for those days when potato chips sound tempting and keep bags of kale chips on hand instead. You will not regret it! And as a little bonus, the extra minerals will help you feel more fulfilled too.

16. Bento Box

A bento box is an amazing way to fill up your body with very satiating and fulfilling foods in a very balanced way. If you are genuinely hungry, then a balanced and portioned snack like this is hands down the way to go.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to fill your box with one portion; each of protein, nuts, veggies, and low-carb fruit. It’s a quick snack plate that will leave you feeling great!

17. Peanut/Sunflower Butter and Carrot sticks/Jicama

I saved the weirdest for last! This is one of my all time favorite snacks, but it makes for a truly satiating meal when you absolutely need something filling to hold you up through the night.

Jicama or carrots and nut butter provide the most amazing blend of satiating saltiness with a tang of sweet. It doesn’t take much of this meal to fill you up. You’ll be feeling awesome in no time!

Bonus Tips

1. Try to Eat 2 Hours before Bed

Because your metabolism slows down so much at night, most dieticians recommend eating at least 2 hours before bed.

Eating later at night can disrupt your sleep and add to unwanted weight gain. To really prevent this slump, try eating regularly throughout the day. You’re body loves consistency and not starving yourself during the day will prevent those late-night binges.

2. Choose Low-Carb

High amount of carbs at night are a sure-fire way to pack on unwanted pounds. To avoid this, choose lighter and lower-carb meals at night to prevent fat-gain.

There’s nothing wrong with some big chunks of bread, but eating that late at night is not going to work for you!

3. Satiate Yourself

Try adding some healthy fats to your dinner. I’m all about eating “lean and clean”, but if you find yourself starving after dinner, then there’s a chance you might not be eating the right types of foods for dinner.

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Adding lean protein and healthy fats to your meals will help keep you full longer and prevent late night hunger.

4. Know Whether You’re Craving or Hungry

When you’re stressed out or working late, it’s only natural to want to eat to get rid of the stress. However, overeating will only make things worse.

If you find yourself walking into the kitchen out of stress of habits, then I would say it’s time to learn an awesome new habit to de-stress. Whether you go for a walk or you sit down and read, making time for you in a relaxed environment is going to be the way to go

5. Invest in Good Sleep

Sometimes, late night cravings really boil down to a lack of good sleep. There are a variety of supplements out there, from melatonin to valerian root, that can help you calm down and get some rest.

I’ve found that taking CALM, a magnesium supplement drink, really helps me unwind as well. I really recommend turning off all electronics 2 hours before you go to sleep so you have some good time to unwind and rest too.

6. Be Aware of Your Blood Sugar Balance

If you have any sorts of blood sugar imbalance, then staying on top of your nutrition is extremely important.

Skipping meals shouldn’t be an option. Instead, choose meals with a good balance of healthy fats, low-glycemic carbs, and proteins to keep you satiated throughout the day. This will prevent spikes and drops in your blood sugar that could really mess with your system!

7. Try Intermittent Fasting

Lastly, if you are really starving every night, intermittent fasting might be a great option to try.

By training your body to only eat during certain time frames, you will naturally adjust and stop getting as hungry during times outside of that “feeding window.” It’s a really good option whether you’re looking to feel good, lose weight, or just regain your relationship to food.

Learn more about intermittent fasting here: Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

So here you are, your new manual for when late night cravings hit. Say goodbye to those miserable binges for good!

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Featured photo credit: Glen Carrie via unsplash.com

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Katelyn Delaney

Owner of Revifi -- Fitness Training & Life Coaching

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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