Whether you're one of those people who have three square meals a day or if you have a hearty snack every two hours, you know what an effort it is to eat healthy. Though you keep your body fueled up throughout the day, sometimes you still find yourself craving something to munch on just as you're nearing bedtime. Consider these healthier options when it comes to late-night snacking so you'll have zero regrets in the morning.
Popcorn is a great late-night snack – so long as you steer clear of the microwave version. Bags of microwave popcorn contain too many unnecessary ingredients and additives, which is why you're better off air-popping your own kernels.
Regular popcorn kernels, when popped, are a great source of whole grains, fiber, and polyphenols. When you pop your own popcorn, you can lightly season it with a bit of sea salt, nutritional yeast, or cinnamon for sweetness.
Cereal + Skim Milk
When it comes to midnight snacks, a bowl of cereal is often what people turn to. Turns out, these people weren't wrong. But if you want to ensure that you're having a treat that won't betray your body as you sleep, you may want to opt for a whole-grain cereal that is low in sugar and contains plenty of fiber and protein.
Topped with some cold skim milk, a bowl of cereal would be the perfect treat before and after bed.
Apple + Peanut Butter
Having an apple with some peanut butter will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you full until breakfast. Try slicing up your favorite variety of apple and scoop out a tablespoon of natural peanut butter for dipping.
The fiber in the apple and the healthy fat in peanut butter are the key nutrients that will stave off those late-night tummy grumbles. Natural peanut butter should be used because regular peanut butter is chock-full of unhealthy fillers.
A quarter cup of tart cherries before bed would be the perfect snack to supplement your overall sleep efficiency. Montmorency cherries are the variety of tart cherries commonly found in North America. They're not eaten fresh, but rather dried, frozen, canned, or as juice concentrate.
In addition to trace amounts of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep, tart cherries are also chock full of vitamin A and a number of powerful antioxidants.
Peach + Non-Fat Cottage Cheese
If you're more of a cheese and fruit person, then you might enjoy a peach with a side of non-fat cottage cheese for your next bedtime snack. This snack is full of protein and fiber, as well as the added nutrients of calcium and vitamin C.
Researchers have found that peaches and other stone fruits, such as plums and nectarines, can ward off obesity-related diseases like diabetes. Cottage cheese is also known for being low-calorie.
Nut fanatics can rejoice that their snack of choice is perfect to munch on long after dinner has passed. Almonds, in particular, are packed with fiber, protein, and Vitamin E. They're perfect to have before bed too because they're full of magnesium, which has the potential to help you fall asleep.
You can kick things up a notch by trying flavored almonds like wasabi or cinnamon. To avoid getting something with too many additives, try making your own flavors.
Whole-grain Toast + Avocado
It's a popular breakfast treat, but toast topped with avocado could also be a great midnight snack. A toasted slice of whole-grain bread topped with avocado, or two tablespoons of guacamole, will satisfy nighttime cravings without overloading on something unhealthy.
The avocado contains healthy fat and combined with a nutrition-rich piece of toast, it's a filling treat full of protein and fiber. Breakfast can be enjoyed at all times of the day, after all.
If your late-night cravings have you wanting something more dessert-like, a single-serving of chocolate pudding will do the trick. One serving is just enough to fill you up and you can even look for brands that are made with minimal ingredients and additives.
If you're not sold on the nutritional value of a store-bought pudding cup, perhaps you can make your own healthy chocolate pudding to control what goes in it.
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt + Chia Seeds
Greek yogurt is different than regular yogurt – an extra step in its production eliminates excess water, lactose, and minerals and leaves you with a tart yogurt that has less sugar and acidity that helps your body absorb nutrients better.
When topped with chia seeds, Greek yogurt makes for an excellent pre-slumber treat. Chia seeds are a superfood with a plethora of nutrients including phosphorous, calcium, potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and E.
If something crunchy like chips is often what you turn to when midnight hunger calls, a more healthful option would be a dozen baby carrots. Not only will they give you that awesome crunch factor, but they will also satisfy your hunger and nourish your body at the same time.
Carrots are a weight-loss friendly snack that have been known to lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health, thanks to beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin K.
Banana + Sunflower Seeds
It's common knowledge that bananas are a great source of potassium, but they're also rich in fiber and antioxidants. You can spruce up the soft texture of your banana by eating it with two tablespoons of dry-roasted sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds satisfy hunger and also contain vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.
Together, this combo offers a considerable amount of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that boosts your body's production of melatonin.
Did you know that pistachios are technically a fruit? It's true. Grown from the Pistacia vera tree, it's the seeds of these fruits that people love to munch on. They're low in calories, yet high in protein, which makes them a great snack for weight-loss, if that's what you're looking for. They're also full of antioxidants and nutrients.
Plus, given that they're so difficult to eat sometimes, you won't go overboard when snacking on these guys.
Wheat Crackers + Turkey Breast
Wheat crackers and multi-grain crackers are other great alternatives to chips. They're full of fiber, unlike regular crackers that are made with white flour. Multi-grain crackers, in particular, offer a viable amount of B vitamins and iron.
When paired with a slice of low-sodium lunch meat like turkey, you're in for a delicious snack that'll keep your hunger at bay until you wake up the next morning. Turkey is also known for tryptophan, which is why you get so sleepy after Thanksgiving.
Soybeans are made into a variety of foods but before they're processed into various products, they're known as edamame. Edamame is immature soybeans that come in green pods. Popular in Asia, edamame has made its way into Western culture as a delicious snack.
Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, edamame doesn't raise your blood sugar and is known to lower cholesterol. After cooking your edamame, try seasoning it with a little garlic salt and red pepper flakes.
Hummus + Grape Tomatoes
Hummus is a blend of chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Eaten as a spread or a dip, hummus is also packed with plant-based proteins and other nutrients that help fight inflammation and promote digestive health.
Grape tomatoes are a healthful dipping option as they are low in fat and sodium-free. They're known to contain trace amounts of melatonin which makes them a great pre-bedtime snack.
Pear + Cheese
Pears and cheese are found on any classic charcuterie plate, but it turns out that this combo also makes for a delicious late-night snack. There are over 3,000 varieties of pears in the world and all of them are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
The subtle flavor of pears goes great with a strong cheese, such as goat or stilton. The addition of cheese is an added boost of calcium as well.
For those who like a bit of sweet and salty when it comes to their snacks, trail mix is a great and healthy option. You can either buy a pre-made trail mix at the store or buy all of your favorite ingredients and make a big batch.
Typical trail mix is a great combination of dried fruits and nuts that have B vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and some additives even support sleep.
Olives are a stone fruit that pack a lot of nutritional benefits. Immature olives are green, but most turn black once they're ripe. High in healthy fats but low in carbs, olives also contain vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium.
The main thing to look out for with olives, however, is their high sodium content. They're often packed in salt water or brine which causes this, so try finding some that are packed without liquid.
When it comes to late-night snacking, kale chips are the way to go. Not only does the snack give you the sweet crunch you are looking for, but they're a great alternative to overly salty and oily chips found at the store.
Considered one of the power foods of the world, kale should be one of your go-to healthy snacks for that reason alone. But when it comes to night-time snacking, it's a good option because of its calcium, a key ingredient that produces melatonin for a more peaceful sleep.
Banana Oatmeal Cookie
If you're craving cookies close to bedtime, then treat yourself to a deliciously healthy banana oatmeal cookie. Simply mix half a banana with rolled oats and a tablespoon of cacao nibs. Form your dough into small mounds on a cookie sheet and back at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
Though this snack takes time to prepare, it'll be well worth it. Plus, they're packed with fiber, potassium, and antioxidants thanks to the only three ingredients in them.
Non-fat Greek Yogurt + Frozen Berries
We already informed you of the numerous health benefits that Greek yogurt has over regular yogurt, but this time instead of chia seeds, you could also top it with frozen berries (or both!)
A blend of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Contrary to popular belief, frozen fruits (and veggies) pack just as many nutrients as the fresh variety. When they're frozen, you'll feel like you're enjoying fro-yo before bed!
Hardboiled Eggs + Everything Bagel Seasoning
Hardboiled eggs aren't just for breakfast either! These little guys are low in calories, but pack a lot of vitamin B-12, as well as vitamins A and D. However, they are rich in fat and saturated fat, which is probably why you'll want to have no more than two for a bedtime snack.
Everything bagel seasoning adds a great kick to the relatively plain flavor of the eggs. Or you could use any other seasoning of your choice.
Half A Cantaloupe Will Go A Long Way
Cantaloupe is one of those fruits that a lot of people forget about but it can do so many positive things for your body. Not only is the sweet, orange fruit low-calorie, but it has a ton of immune-boosting properties such as high levels of Vitamin C.
It's also very hydrating. A cantaloupe is almost 90% water! Snacking on half a cantaloupe before bed will keep you full, calm you down, and do it all for less than 100 calories.
Half A Bagel With Smoked Salmon
Nutritionists usually try to have you avoid eating carbs before bed, but half a bagel won't hurt when it's paired with something that's a perfect nighttime snack. Smoked salmon, much like fresh salmon, is packed with protein, B vitamins, and magnesium.
To top it all off, the smoked fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to heart health. With all the protein benefits of salmon, you might want to even forgo the bagel and eat the salmon on its own!
We already know that almonds are a great nighttime snack, but if you're getting bored of just eating a handful of nuts at night then try eating them in an alternative form. Almond nut butter provides just as much vitamin E, magnesium, and healthy fats as the whole version.
One thing to be careful of though is buying almond butter that is full of sugar. Opt for the organic or sugar-free version instead for a healthy bedtime snack. Pair it with your favorite healthy fruit and you're good to go!
Your favorite fuzzy fruit is not only nutritious and delicious, but it will also help you get a better night sleep. Studies have shown that eating two kiwis one hour before you head to bed will help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
Those who conducted the study believe it has something to do with the serotonin kiwis help release. Extra serotonin will help you relax more and even curb you unhealthy bedtime cravings.
Even if you're not a regular at the gym, a protein smoothie can work wonders before bed. Protein before bed can help muscle repair and avoid muscle loss, which is an amazing benefit for anyone even if you don't exercise often.
You don't need expensive protein powder to make a protein smoothie. Try mixing 1 cup of low-fat milk with 2/3 cup of frozen pineapple and you'll end up with a protein-packed smoothie. The tryptophan in the milk will also help you sleep.
Goji berries may not be very common but they're a great snack to have before bed. The berries are a red-orange color and taste similar to a cranberry but with more herbal notes. The berries are packed with antioxidants but they also contain a fair amount of melatonin, with can help you sleep.
You can grab a handful of goji berries and eat them fresh, but you can also find dried goji berries that are similar to raisins or drink a goji berry juice.
Cold cereal isn't the only breakfast food you can have before bed. Hot cereals such as whole-grain oatmeal is a great way to wind down while adding fiber to your diet. Plus, hot cereals are often better for you than cold cereals that are full of preservatives.
If you want to make sure your oatmeal helps you fall asleep, try adding some warm milk, cinnamon, and dried fruits. All of this will add to the melatonin that is already present in oats, barley, and rice.
Whole-grain wraps are not only a great way to satisfy you're bedtime cravings, but they can be filled with any of your favorite foods. A 6-inch tortilla is only around 90 calories, which makes it a healthy addition to your diet.
Fill your wrap with chicken or turkey to add more tryptophan to your diet for help sleeping. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, fill the wrap with nut butter and bananas.
There's no need to wait until autumn to have pumpkin spice in your life. Pumpkin seeds are full of tryptophan and magnesium which make them a great bedtime snack. One ounce of pumpkin seeds is also only 146 calories, so they won't expand your waistline.
Still, one ounce of pumpkin seeds may not be enough to keep you full. Try pairing them with healthy carbs such as fresh fruit or dried raisins for a more filling alternative.
Strawberries + Brie Cheese
All berries are packed with good antioxidants but strawberries in particular hold healthy amounts of melatonin and vitamin C. Strawberries are also one of the sweeter fruits that are still low-calorie. One cup of sliced strawberries is only 53 calories!
Pairing strawberries with brie will negative the calories you save, but brie will help you stay full for longer. It is important to keep in mind though that pregnant women are advised against consuming soft cheese during their term.
Berries and Quinoa
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth and are searching your kitchen for a late-night snack while you're binge-watching the latest episode of your favorite Netflix series, look no further. Grab that leftover quinoa you had for lunch, and instead of sprinkling salty seasonings, try mixing in some juicy berries.
Quinoa and berries is a great late-night snack for a few reasons. But the main one is because the calories you're getting from the snack is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.
We know, late-night grape snacking probably doesn't sound all that fulfilling. But think again! Red or green grapes are a great healthy snack if you're craving something sweet at night.
They have a fantastic bust of naturally sweet flavors without any bad additives, so they'll keep you from turning to sugary cereals. And, if you're feeling extra adventurous, try freezing the grapes! This will bring the flavors out in full force and will make it seem as though you're having a healthy ice-pop.
Baked Potato Chips
Although it might sound strange that baked potato chips are a "healthy" late-night snack, they're a lot better than the fast-food french fry or regular chip alternatives. Baked chips are lower in calories and fat, making them a bit better for snaking.
So, if you feel snaking pangs coming on while you're sitting watching a movie, think about heading to your pantry for some baked chips. And the best part is they require zero prep time!
If you're like us and enjoy a nice bowl of ice cream late at night, stop what you're doing. There are some alternatives to the sugary and dairy-based ice cream that we know and love. Instead, try fruit sorbet. We recommend mango because of its rich flavor.
This alternative is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. And, if you don't want to go out and buy sorbet, try making your own! All you have to do is puree some mango and freeze it for a few minutes.
Calling all chip lovers, we're here to tell you there is a better late-night snacking option, so put the salty lays down! Instead of buying bags of oily and salty chips at the store, try opting for some seaweed.
It might sound strange, but seaweed is packed full of flavor and holds quite the crunch. And, unlike regular chips, seaweed has minimal calories and is very light. So, you won't go to bed feeling overly full.
There's nothing quite like something sweet before going to bed. And when there are healthy options available, it's all the better! One such option is applesauce. Not only are apples easy for the body to digest, but they're also a great source of natural sugars that are sure to appease your sweet tooth.
One of the best parts of applesauce is that it reduces the amount of orexin released in the body, something that keeps the body alert. SO, this snack will help you get to sleep.
Cottage Cheese + Fruit
The combination of cottage cheese and fruit is the best of both worlds. Think about it. The fruit is enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, while cottage cheese satisfies your hunger with its lean protein.
Not to mention, cottage cheese has large amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid that will help you fall asleep. Next time you're feeling like a late-night snack, head towards your fridge for some cottage cheese and your favorite fruits to compliment it.
Tuna With Whole-Grain Crackers
As far as late-night snacks go, tuna on some whole-grain crackers is a great option. Not only will the snack fill you up before bed, but it will also help induce sleep. Tuna contains proteins, healthy fats, and vitamin B6, which increases melatonin and helps induce sleep.
Adding some tuna to whole-grain crackers is just the icing on the cake! The complex-carbohydrates of whole-grain products increase tryptophan levels, aiding in a peaceful night's sleep.