Say you’re up a little bit past your bedtime, or you woke up a little earlier the previous morning and burned more calories during the day. You’re in the mood for a bedtime snack, but it’s too late to cook up a full meal. At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard and eat something that’ll cause you to gain weight or stay up, like a big bowl of ice cream, some potato chips, or a dessert full of added sugar. What if there were healthy late-night snacks you could turn to when you hanker for a few bites before bed?
Turns out, there are! Let’s take a look at 10 healthy late-night snacks you can grab when you’re hungry.
The Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks
There’s a big difference between chowing down on something less than healthy late at night and before bed and enjoying a healthy late-night snack. If you eat something that’s not so healthy, you could do your body and your diet a disservice. Remember that you burn fewer calories when you go to sleep, so you don’t want to eat a ton of extra carbs and fats before slumber. Even with that caveat, there are plenty of healthy late-night snacks you can put together in your kitchen and enjoy before getting some shut-eye.
1. Granola and Greek Yogurt
First up is a bowl of granola and Greek yogurt. Granola has some carbs without going overboard, plus plenty of nuts and other ingredients depending on the granola you purchase. Those nuts, in turn, will come with healthy oils, fats, and some proteins/amino acids to keep you full. Greek yogurt, of course, also has proteins, probiotics, and other delicious and healthy ingredients in spades. Probiotics are especially good for building a healthy gut microbiome and settling your stomach if dinner didn’t quite agree with you. To ensure your portion is right for a late-night snack, fill up a cup or mug’s worth of granola and Greek yogurt so that you don’t overeat or ruin your upcoming breakfast.
2. Hummus and Whole-Grain Crackers
Hummus is a pretty good late-night snack and dip, in large part because of its ingredient composition. For example, hummus is made from chickpeas, which are rich in key macronutrients like protein and fiber. Chickpeas contain important molecules like tryptophan, melatonin-producing B vitamins, and other helpful compounds that will benefit your body as you sleep. But what to eat with your hummus? We’ve got an easy answer: whole-grain crackers! Whole-grain crackers with hummus spread on top of them have enough carbohydrates to satisfy your stomach, plus enough healthy ingredients and nutrients to make your late-night snack worthwhile in the long term.
A handful of crackers and hummus should be enough to satisfy your craving until morning. Go with crackers that are easy on the salt or that don’t have any salt at all.
3. Peanut Butter or Almond Butter on Whole-Grain Toast
Toast some whole-grain bread, then spread peanut butter or almond butter (or any other nut butter) on top! The whole-grain toast will give you extra energy if you want to study right before going to sleep or if you need to cram for a test. The peanut butter and almond butter will help fill your stomach and give your body some extra nutrients for long-term satisfaction.
4. Pistachios, Cashews, and Nuts
Of course, you can go wrong with a handful of your favorite nuts. Pistachios, cashews, and even peanuts are all great late-night snacks, provided you don’t eat too many in a short timeframe. For the best results, pour a handful of nuts into your palm, then put the package away, so you don’t keep mindlessly snacking if you leave the container on your table or counter. The right nuts include nutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other key minerals.
5. Tart Cherries or Dried Fruit
While fresh fruit is delicious, it’s not ideal for a late-night snack since it may contain too much sugar. But dried fruit, like tart cherries, can be great for giving your tastebuds a bit of a bonus dessert without giving your body too much sugar that you’ll have trouble falling asleep later.
6. A Piece of Dark Chocolate
The same goes for a small piece of dark chocolate. A little bit of dark chocolate can calm you down, satisfy your craving for something sweet after dinner, and even provide some ancillary health benefits thanks to antioxidants, all without giving you a sugar rush at the worst possible time in the day!
7. Veggies and Dip
Don’t forget some healthy veggies and dip, like ranch dressing or hummus. Carrots, celery, and even broccoli are great late-night snacks since they are rich in fiber. Fiber sits in your stomach for a while and helps you feel full. Any of these veggies will satisfy your craving without you having to eat too much food. Overall, veggies and dip are arguably the best late-night healthy snack if you’re on a diet and are trying to lose weight. A few bites of veggies should be enough to calm your stomach enough that you can go to sleep and wait until breakfast.
8. Cottage Cheese and Pineapple
We know, we know – cottage cheese and pineapple? Who came up with that? While we are unsure about the origin of this late-night snack, we can attest that it is delicious from start to finish. Cut out a piece of pineapple or pick up some presliced pineapple from the grocery store. Then combine it with cottage cheese, and you’ll give your tastebuds a true late-night delight like nothing else.
Plus, cottage cheese is pretty good nutrient speaking. For example, it’s a rich source of protein and tryptophan, which can help you feel full and satisfied before slumber. Pineapple, on the other hand, can boost the melatonin levels in your body. Since melatonin is the key hormone your brain produces to make you sleepy, this can only help you get better sleep once you’re finished snacking. Of course, it also gives the cottage cheese a bit of needed sweetness. Don’t knock this snack until you try it!
Shelled edamame isn’t just delicious; it’s also super healthy! Even better, you don’t have to spend a lot of time prepping this healthy late-night snack. Simply shell your edamame, warm them up for a few minutes in hot water, then put them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You’ll be surprised just how tasty this snack is even though it only uses three ingredients! Of course, you can combine your edamame with another late-night snack as well.
10. Tortilla and Olive Oil
In the mood for something warm and comforting? Try putting some olive oil in a frying pan and warming up some plain tortillas. It may sound boring, so feel free to put some edamame or cottage cheese inside. Or just stick with the plain tortilla! Tortillas are great late-night snacks since they can be made of flour or corn, depending on your preference. In either case, they can settle your stomach a bit and, thanks to the olive oil, provide a little extra protein and healthy fat for long-term craving satisfaction.
As you can see, there are lots of delicious late-night snacks you can whip up and enjoy in a matter of minutes. Even better, these late-night snacks are healthy, so they’ll do something positive for your body rather than add too many unnecessary calories to your diet. You can eat these healthy late-night snacks after dinner and throughout the rest of the day if you’re looking for something to replace chips or other unhealthy bites. Alternatively, you can check out the rest of 1AND1’s healthy recipes and eating advice today!
Health benefits of taking probiotics | Harvard Health
L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications – PMC | NCBI