Are you among those who crave for food late at night? The reasons may be because you have stayed up late working and had had an early dinner or you are just a late night snack-er. Nutritionist Sweta Bade says that munching on random foods late at night isn’t the best idea if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be fit. But if you must eat, pick your food items wisely.
“Night is the best time for our body to detoxify and snacking late at night can wreck this process,” she says. Yet, she further adds that going to bed hungry can make the situation even worse. So one must eat when they are actually hungry regardless of how late is it. It is just that before picking up anything to eat, there are a few things to consider.
If you are going to eat before bed, remember to pick something relatively light. Try avoiding fatty, spicy, sugary, or caffeinated dishes. Pade also suggests leaving some buffer time after you eat and before you lay down. This reduces the risk of indigestion. Here, Pade suggests some food that can be good late night snacking options. Take your pick among these the next time a hunger pang strikes late at night or you want to nibble on something before bed.
Dried fruits and nuts
Dried fruits and nuts are not just delicious but are also powerhouses of nutrition. There are pistachios, almonds, raisins, cashews and many others that you can take your pick from. But, because they have high-fat content, usually people who want to lose weight consider it to be unhealthy snacks. However, Pade says that this perception has changed over time. Lately, dried fruits and nuts are often recommended as late night snacking options. Being excellent sources of magnesium, it helps to improve sleep quality as well. Other than that, it also contributes to control diseases like high cholesterol, diabetes, anemia, heart disease, and many more. This makes an ounce serving of these dried fruits and nuts a sensible choice when it comes to late night snacking.
Milk with cereals
A bowl of milk and cereal can be a quick and easy snack option when a sudden hunger pang strikes at night. The nutrients in milk help regulate sleep cycle whereas cereals contain essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber that make it an idea food to consume any time of the day. Thus, the combination of milk and cereal induces sound sleep and relaxes the complex digestive system. Here Pade clarifies that one must be careful with the amount of cereal consumed. Also, know whether the type of cereal you are opting for is something that your body can handle or not.
Yogurt can be the best option for those who want to satisfy their hunger but do not want any drastic increase in calorie intake right before bed. It, as a snack, will not make you feel full soon instead will give you a good dose of nutrients and sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan. Similarly, it also reduces gastrointestinal symptoms and is easy to digest. For those suffering from lactose-intolerance, it can be a good alternative of milk if taken in moderation. And if you are on diet then you can always opt for a bowl of non-fat yogurt.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are ideal for those who want a large portion of food but want to consume less calories at the same time. Filled with water and fiber, eating only a cup of raw carrots sticks, celery, peas, and cucumbers or any type of fruits like apples, oranges or berries can make you feel full and satisfy cravings for a longer period of time as well. It also assists in controlling your blood sugar levels for the next day. If raw veggies taste too bland then try sprinkling some salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. You can choose to take small servings during dinnertime and then enjoy a plate of veggies or fruits before you go to bed.
If you are in the mood for something crunchy and light, don’t reach for a bag of chips and crackers. Popcorn can be the best option here. The light snack will not only help control your calorie intake but the serotonin found in it will also help you relax. Plus, the fibers in it will completely satisfy your hunger and ward off cravings as well. One may also use light seasonings like garlic powder and black pepper to add some zing to boring popcorn. But make sure you avoid heavy add-ons like butter and cheese.
Chocolates are often forbidden after eight in the evening so this might come as a surprise to you. But dark chocolate also falls among the good foods to enjoy late at night. Just be sure that your chocolate contains 70% cocoa and a minimal amount of sugar. This will let your body absorb plenty of antioxidants that will lower your blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. Since it can also improve your mood, next time you need something to relax at night, have a piece or two of your favorite dark chocolate.