We know the drill all too well. It’s 9 p.m., and you’re already in bed when your stomach starts rumbling. Before you find yourself arm-deep in a bag of your favourite crisps, munch on these nutritious (and delicious) snacks instead.
But wait…should you be eating late at night?
“If you’re hungry at night, you should eat something,” says family nutritionist Sarah Pflugradt. “Eating at night will not slow down your metabolism, and if you’re smart about snacking, you won’t gain weight either. Do a mental inventory of what you’ve eaten throughout the day and see what you’ve missed. Most often, it’s going to be fruits, vegetables or dairy. If that’s the case, get in that extra fibre and calcium,” she says.
Snack on these five healthy foods next time you have a late-night craving:
1. Veggies and hummus
Craving some crunch? You can never go wrong with raw veggies. Cut-up fresh vegetables dipped into hummus is a nutritious, low-calorie snack. Hummus, the Mediterranean chickpea-based dip is jam-packed with healthy fats and protein. Add a combination of cucumber strips, celery, carrot sticks and broccoli florets to keep your stomach’s rumble away for longer.
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If you’re the ‘breakfast for dinner’ type, oatmeal is your perfect post-7p.m. snack. A warm bowl of oatmeal is nutrient-dense, which will keep you fuller for longer, and it’s a great source of fibre. Add some cinnamon, honey and apple slices to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Try this tasty coconut and grapefruit oatmeal breakfast bowl.
It’s light, fluffy and has the perfect crunch to hit the spot. “Popcorn is a high-fibre snack that can keep you feeling satisfied until the morning. Just be cautious with what you flavour it with – lay off large amounts of butter and salt. Sprinkle with heart-healthy fats like olive oil or fresh herbs,” says registered dietician Kristin Smith. “Buy single-serve bags or portion the popcorn out into a bowl to help keep calories in check instead of mindlessly eating out of the bag on the couch,” she adds.
4. Nut butters
Who knew nut butter would be the perfect pre-sleep snack? From macadamia and almond butter to (our childhood favourite) peanut butter, it’s a fantastic snack if you’re craving something sweet and creamy. Plus, you can still comfortably get in those 40 winks. Nut butter is high in protein, which is good for muscle growth and contains tryptophan – which may lead to better sleep quality. Spread it on a slice of whole-grain toast to add some healthy carbs. Or, cut up an apple and spread some butter on it for some extra yum!
5. Greek-style yogurt and berries
When it comes to sleep, dairy is a good choice. Yoghurt, especially Greek yoghurt, is a great snack to promote sleep. Additionally, it’s filled with calcium and important nutrients like potassium, calcium and probiotics – which are the good bacteria. To add sweetness to your bowl, cut up some berries to make it extra delicious (and nutritious) without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Also read: Strawberry and banana fro-yo bowls