You look at the clock glaring the numbers 12:15 back at you in bright red. You can feel your stomach grumbling. You reach for your phone trying to distract you, but you just can’t seem to ignore the overwhelming urge for something to eat! Finally, frustrated, you grab your slipper and stomp to the fridge. You try to remember your diet but it’s too late. If you don’t grab something you’ll be up all night…
Does this situation sound familiar? If so, get prepared to be prepared! Late night cravings don’t have to mean the pitfall of every diet you’ve ever tried. Instead, with a little knowledge and planning you can avoid those dreaded midnight munchies!
Are you ready? Here are the top 17 late night snacks for when your cravings hit.
1. Blood Sugar Balancing Lemonade or Soda
When cravings hit, there’s a good chance our blood sugar might just be out of balance. When you find yourself craving food in the middle of the night, start off with this balancing lemonade. You might find that you don’t even need anything else!
The power is in the blend of lemon (a detoxifier), Cinnamon (a craving buster) and chromium (a mineral that is necessary for us to balance our blood sugar). Of course, the water in itself will help fill you up and destroy cravings. So, before reaching for the cookies, fill up on some of this lemonade and see if the problem takes care of itself.
If you are looking for something to occupy your tastebuds, edamame might just be the way to go! This tasty snack is extremely clean and high in protein.
Late at night, your body’s metabolism slows down to prepare you for sleep. So of course, if you are munching on high calorie snacks, there is a good chance they might turn into fat more than if you were to eat that same food in the morning of an active day.
The combination of low-calorie and high protein might help you stay full and satiated while still revving up the metabolism enough to help burn off those calories.
3. In-Shell Pistachios
Although too many might be high in calories, moderate amounts of pistachios might actually help you go back to sleep.
Though all foods contain some melatonin, a nutrient which is essential for deep sleep, pistachios are one the most nutrient dense. Just a small handful of these power snacks will punch as much melatonin as supplement!
Remember how each Thanksgiving, your Dad crashes on the couch in a deep turkey-coma? Post-Thanksgiving naps are a legit thing! I’ll tell you why.
Turkey contains large amounts of tryptophan which contribute to making people feel tired. If you really want some good rest and a yummy nighttime snack, try wrapping turkey in romaine lettuce, drizzle a little dressing, and enjoy a delicious wrap.
5. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries can actually help you boost your melatonin production making them perfect for a good night’s rest. Cherries also require mindful eating due to the stems and pits making them a perfect choice for people who want to avoid late night binges.
If you really want something sweet but need help keeping it moderate, try freezing the cherries. The extra cold will not only take longer to eat but, it might actually help you curb some cravings in the process.
Berries are an extremely healthy snack for anytime of the day, but at night, they are especially perfect. High amounts of carbs can make it harder for you to sleep.
However, berries are extremely low glycemic (meaning they don’t have a huge effect on your blood sugar) making them absolutely perfect to curb the sweet tooth and still have a good nights rest.
Plus they are so high in antioxidants that your also doing your body a favor!
7. Berry Slushie
As mentioned, berries are very low glycemic, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar in the way normal fruit would.
For an especially perfect snack, blend together ice, lemon, berries, and stevia. The addition of the lemon and stevia will help you get that sweet kick without having to add too much fruit into the mix. You will feel satisfied without even budging your waistline.
For those of you who feel extra ambitious, try filling up on veggies. They are so low-calorie, you don’t really have to worry about over eating them.
If you really want to add some extra flavor, try sauteing them in water or dipping them in a tablespoon of sauce. You’ll feel full and satisfied but you won’t have to worry about an overdose of calories.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Much like pistachios, pumpkin seeds can help fill you up without disrupting your sleep. Pumpkin seeds are packed with tryptophan that might help knock you out.
If you feel like you just can’t sleep and want to avoid a sudden binge, keep in-shell pumpkin seeds on hand as well. You will stay occupied and have your cravings handled without the temptation of grabbing mouthfuls at a time.
10. Plain Yogurt and Cinnamon
Cinnamon is really a master at helping curb cravings. This makes for a power combo when you hit your body with both protein-dense Greek yogurt and balancing cinnamon simultaneously.
If you really want to feel like you’re having a treat, just add a tablespoon or so of stevia, and dip in half an apple. You’ll almost think you were having a dessert.
11. Protein Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love a low calorie snack? This recipe uses gelatin to thicken up the rest of the ingredients into a more creamy flavor without adding the whopping calories of cream.
Late and night, our metabolism slows down to prepare for sleep. That means, low calorie snacks are ideal. They’ll fill you right up without disrupting your sleep or diet.
Check out the recipe of this ice-cream here!
12. A Tablespoon of Almond Butter
Sometimes, all you need is just one little lick of something to keep you satiated. That’s what this trick will do for you.
Although one tablespoon will pack in about 100 calories, the healthy fats might be all it takes to keep you satisfied and happy. Just be mindful of how much if you are trying to lose or maintain weight.
13. Shiritake Noodles
There’s a big difference between wanting to eat because you’re hungry or eating because.. well.. you want to eat. By all means, if you’re feeling genuinely hungry, then reach for something a bit more satiating. Most of us, however, start reaching for the pantry out of pure habit.
But, before giving in to a cup of Top Ramen, give this trick a try! Warm up Shiritake noodles and season with whatever you’re feeling most. These noodles taste great mixed in with coconut aminos for a Thai bowl topped with veggies.
Or try mixing it with almond milk, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for something savory. These 0-calorie noodles with help solve the munchies and make you feel satisfied again!
14. Homemade Jello
Much like the Protein Ice Cream, homemade jello is a really filling way to get your sweet fix when you don’t really need the extra calories.
While most gelatin from stores is not good for you at all, moderate amounts of natural gelatin, like Great Lakes Gelatin, can actually be pretty good for you and your gut.
While healthy carbs are in no way bad, I prefer to use stevia for this recipe as well at night, since too high of carb can really disrupt sleep.
Take a look at the recipe here to make your own healthy jello.
15. Kale Chips
When you’re craving something crunchy and salty, kale chips are the way to go. Many brands include some amounts of cashews which make them very satiating as well.
Think ahead for those days when potato chips sound tempting and keep bags of kale chips on hand instead. You will not regret it! And as a little bonus, the extra minerals will help you feel more fulfilled too.
16. Bento Box
A bento box is an amazing way to fill up your body with very satiating and fulfilling foods in a very balanced way. If you are genuinely hungry, then a balanced and portioned snack like this is hands down the way to go.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to fill your box with one portion; each of protein, nuts, veggies, and low-carb fruit. It’s a quick snack plate that will leave you feeling great!
17. Peanut/Sunflower Butter and Carrot sticks/Jicama
I saved the weirdest for last! This is one of my all time favorite snacks, but it makes for a truly satiating meal when you absolutely need something filling to hold you up through the night.
Jicama or carrots and nut butter provide the most amazing blend of satiating saltiness with a tang of sweet. It doesn’t take much of this meal to fill you up. You’ll be feeling awesome in no time!
1. Try to Eat 2 Hours before Bed
Because your metabolism slows down so much at night, most dieticians recommend eating at least 2 hours before bed.
Eating later at night can disrupt your sleep and add to unwanted weight gain. To really prevent this slump, try eating regularly throughout the day. You’re body loves consistency and not starving yourself during the day will prevent those late-night binges.
2. Choose Low-Carb
High amount of carbs at night are a sure-fire way to pack on unwanted pounds. To avoid this, choose lighter and lower-carb meals at night to prevent fat-gain.
There’s nothing wrong with some big chunks of bread, but eating that late at night is not going to work for you!
3. Satiate Yourself
Try adding some healthy fats to your dinner. I’m all about eating “lean and clean”, but if you find yourself starving after dinner, then there’s a chance you might not be eating the right types of foods for dinner.
Adding lean protein and healthy fats to your meals will help keep you full longer and prevent late night hunger.
4. Know Whether You’re Craving or Hungry
When you’re stressed out or working late, it’s only natural to want to eat to get rid of the stress. However, overeating will only make things worse.
If you find yourself walking into the kitchen out of stress of habits, then I would say it’s time to learn an awesome new habit to de-stress. Whether you go for a walk or you sit down and read, making time for you in a relaxed environment is going to be the way to go
5. Invest in Good Sleep
Sometimes, late night cravings really boil down to a lack of good sleep. There are a variety of supplements out there, from melatonin to valerian root, that can help you calm down and get some rest.
I’ve found that taking CALM, a magnesium supplement drink, really helps me unwind as well. I really recommend turning off all electronics 2 hours before you go to sleep so you have some good time to unwind and rest too.
6. Be Aware of Your Blood Sugar Balance
If you have any sorts of blood sugar imbalance, then staying on top of your nutrition is extremely important.
Skipping meals shouldn’t be an option. Instead, choose meals with a good balance of healthy fats, low-glycemic carbs, and proteins to keep you satiated throughout the day. This will prevent spikes and drops in your blood sugar that could really mess with your system!
7. Try Intermittent Fasting
Lastly, if you are really starving every night, intermittent fasting might be a great option to try.
By training your body to only eat during certain time frames, you will naturally adjust and stop getting as hungry during times outside of that “feeding window.” It’s a really good option whether you’re looking to feel good, lose weight, or just regain your relationship to food.
Learn more about intermittent fasting here: Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)
So here you are, your new manual for when late night cravings hit. Say goodbye to those miserable binges for good!