It gets to that time of an evening, maybe it’s been an hour or so after you’ve had your dinner and your stomach starts to grumble. Those late-night cravings can occur for a variety of reasons, such as boredom, anxiety or physical hunger. However, there’s a lot of debate about what foods are best to eat in the later hours. We’ve put together the top snacks to opt for when your stomach starts rumbling later on.
For a late-night nibble, popcorn is one of the best snacks you can reach for. Not only is it low in calories, but popcorn can also be easily made in to a sweet or savoury graze. For a late-night snack, it’s always a good idea to keep the flavour/toppings minimal. Dust with a dash of brown sugar or salt or sprinkle with olive oil and fresh herbs.
As well as possessing countless nutrients, nuts also come in all shapes, sizes and flavours and are the ideal snack for when you start feeling a bit peckish later on. If you’re craving that crunch, toasted nuts are a great substitute for more unhealthier snacks such as crisps or biscuits.
Seeds are a nutritious snack at any time of day, but they have additional benefits at night. Sunflower seeds are high in calcium which supports sleep hormone production. Pumpkin seeds offer tryptophan and actually provide a third of your recommended allowance in one serving.
Banana with Almond butter
Bananas are a great snack for any time of the day, even late-night snacking, and paired with almond or peanut butter, is a nutritious nibble guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfied. If you’re feeling in need of something even more filling, you can replace the banana with some wholewheat toast.
Cereal may usually be reserved for mornings, but it can be a great option as a midnight snack and may actually help you sleep. Consuming dairy before bed is not a great idea as it takes our bodies a great deal of energy to digest it, so opting for a dairy alternative such as soy or almond milk is a smarter choice. If it’s sugar that you’re craving, oat milk has natural sweetness which is sure to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Any type of fruit is good to eat in the evenings. Fruit contains lots of vitamins and nutrients that not only provide your body with energy and goodness but also contain high amounts of protein which will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Bananas, apples, pineapple and kiwi are all great options for late-night munching.
Veg (with dip)
For a nutritious and delicious snack, prepare yourself some raw veggies such as peppers, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes and dip into some hummus or chilli dip. This snack combines the goodness of the raw vegetables with a delicious dip making it both tasty and good for you.
For a quick, easy and healthy late-night snack, warm up a wholegrain wrap, top with hummus and fill with your favourite vegetables. Not only will you be getting a good carb fix, but the combination of vegetables and hummus provides both a healthy and delicious late-night fix.
Foods to avoid
In terms of foods to steer clear of, snacks containing high amounts of fat, dairy and salt should be avoided. These foods take a while for the body to digest and take their toll on our digestive systems, able to potentially keep us up in the night and leaving us looking and feeling groggy and tired in the morning.
If you’re focused on losing weight, avoiding snacks that are high in empty carbohydrates, such as biscuits, crisps and chocolate is always a good idea, particularly when it comes to midnight snacking. Carbohydrates shouldn’t be eliminated completely but lowering your overall intake and avoiding in the evenings should help you see results.
Aiming for minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for your late-night snacks is the best idea. Other unhealthier options are likely to cause unwanted side effects such as weight gain, sleepless nights and heartburn.