For all too many, late night snacking is a source of secret shame. These low-key munchers slink out of their bedrooms when the house is quiet and, skipping that squeaky board in the hallway so the entire family doesn’t wake, make their way down to the kitchen to give in to their one true obsession – night time snacking.
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While experts argue about the health benefits and weaknesses associated with eating well past traditional dinner hour, there are some snacks that are less problematic than others. If you’re an avid midnight snacker, you might be able to have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. By trading your less healthy snacks for fitness friendly versions you can ensure that your late night tangos with temptation don’t leave you packing on the pounds.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
These tasty jack-o-lanterns innards make a powerful evening snack. Along with tasting great toasted and sprinkled with some salt, these seeds are loaded with magnesium. Because magnesium is used in over 300 reactions within your body, getting enough of this mineral is super important.
These juicy and delicious fruits may do more than just satiate your hunger – they may actually help you sleep. Cherries are rich in melatonin, which helps naturally promote sleep. Keep some fresh cherries in your fridge for munching or, if they’re out of season or just too pricey, pick up some tart cherry juice and sip it when your need to feed hits.
Whether you’re preparing to curl up with a movie or not, popcorn is a phenomenal snack option. This simple treat is traditionally low in fat and can be dressed up to suit your tastes. To ensure that your popcorn snack is a safe one, specifically seek low-fat popcorn. Dress your corn up with some lime powder, cayenne pepper or cinnamon, depending on your flavor preferences.
Fresh or frozen, these antioxidant rich berries are refreshing and nutritionally advantageous. Along with providing an antioxidant boost, blueberries are helpful in improving your brain function and heart health. Just don’t gobble them up in bed unless you’re willing to risk staining your sheets.
5. Cottage Cheese
Offering a decidedly creamy experience, cottage cheese is the perfect food to eat if you want to stay fuller longer. This popular side contains slow-digesting proteins, helping ensure that your tummy stays rumble-free through to the morning. Like popcorn, cottage cheese is also easy to dress up. Mix in anything, from salt and pepper to peanut butter, to fit your distinctive preferences.
6. Kale Chips
Trade your diet-destroying potato chips for a healthier option that offers just as much crunch. Opt instead for kale chips. With kale as the key ingredient, these chips are loaded with vitamins K, A and C, along with carotenoids. Purchase kale chips pre-made or, better yet, whip them up yourself by baking some kale on parchment and salting to your liking.
7. Multi-grain Pretzels
Get your salty fix fast with some easy-to-munch multi-grain pretzels. By selecting multi-grain pretzels, you get the benefits of a whole grain snack while still enjoying the salty snap that brought you down to the kitchen in the first place.
These fun and popular nuts are all the rage for a lot of good reasons. Firstly, eating pistachios as a late-night munching option decreases your likelihood of over-eating, as you have to shell each one of those little dudes. Additionally, these nuts are rich in everything, from fiber to vitamin B6, making them a beneficial addition to your diet.
9. Yogurt Pops
If your sweet tooth is the culprit behind your late-night snacking, yogurt pops will probably satisfy this beast while not sabotaging your attempts at staying fit. Whether homemade or store-bought, yogurt pops offer a cool and sweet delight with the protein benefits of munching on yogurt.
10. Dark Chocolate
Wait. Come again? Chocolate overnight? Yes. You heard me. Rich and delicious, dark chocolate is decidedly lower in sugar than its milk counterpart. It also offers a powerful dose of an array of antioxidants that promise to help with everything from high blood pressure to mood swings.
When your late-night hunger is severe and a simple snack won’t do, a cheese quesadilla may be just the fix you seek. Whip up one of these Mexican restaurant favorites by heating whole-grain tortillas in a skillet and sprinkling on some low-fat cheese. The best part of this snack – it feels exceptionally decadent yet is surprisingly low in fat.