Everyone knows you shouldn’t eat right before bedtime, but sometimes you need a little snack! If you eat dinner early, a nighttime snack can help stabilize your blood sugar levels when you sleep so that you don’t feel sluggish in the morning. Some low-calorie snacks may even help you sleep better. But the key is to make healthy choices with your midnight snacks so that you can maintain a healthy weight. It’s also a good idea to limit your snack to just one serving size. Here are some snack options that won’t pack on the pounds.
Almonds: This nutritious nut is a great choice to snack on because it is satiating, meaning it’ll help you feel full and satisfied. A 1-oz. serving of almonds is about 22 whole nuts and contains about 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, and only 160 calories. Plus, a serving has about 15 g of fat, most of it being unsaturated fat that is beneficial for your heart but also provides energy to help curb hunger.
Pistachios: Another great nut choice is pistachios because they’re one of the leanest nuts. A 1-oz. serving is about 49 pistachios, which is more nuts per serving than any other nut. Also, a serving contains 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, 290 mg potassium, and 170 calories. This is a great snack if you want to keep before-bedtime snacking to a minimum, because buying pistachios with the shell on means you’ll take more time to eat them, so you may end up eating less!
Blueberries: A cup of blueberries gives you about 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, and only 84 calories. Plus, it’s loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Blueberries are great because they contain a lot of water and will help you feel full. Pro tip: Mix some blueberries with almonds or pistachios for a weight-friendly snack mix!
Bananas with nut butter: We all love them for their potassium, but bananas also have vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, copper, manganese, and iron. Bananas are also high in fiber but low in calories, with a medium-sized banana having about 3 g fiber and 105 calories. Combine a sliced banana with a healthy nut butter of your choice for an easy, guilt-free nighttime snack.
Homemade carrot chips: These are a great alternative to snacking on a bag of processed potato chips! Thinly slice 2 large carrots, toss the slices in a bowl with a ½ teaspoon of olive oil, your favorite herbs, and salt to taste, and bake them on a lined cookie sheet at 350 °F for 15 to 20 minutes. When they are dry and crisp, you have a nighttime snack that is low-calorie and high in fiber.
Veggies and guac: Skip the chips and dip, and try some veggies and guac! Avocados have a high amount of unsaturated fat, making them a satisfying snack. Make a guacamole dip by mixing half an avocado with some salsa, and eat it with carrots, snap peas, radishes, or broccoli florets.
Dark chocolate: If you have a little sweet tooth, then chocolate is a good option! We’re not talking about any candy bar though; a chocolate bar with at least 70% cacao content will have less sugar and other additives that aren’t great for bedtime. Plus, dark chocolate may help fight inflammation, calm your mood, and lower blood pressure.
How Portion Control Can Help
We all get evening munchies every now and then, but it doesn’t have to mean weight gain! It’s okay to snack once in a while, just make sure you’re making healthy snack choices as well as eating reasonable portions to maintain your weight goals.