Do you feel guilty if you snack at night? You’re not alone. It’s a common misconception that nighttime snacking causes weight gain, but this isn’t entirely true. A truer statement would be that snacking on unhealthy foods at night causes weight gain.
In this study, late-night eating did not affect weight loss in obese women. Most late night snackers gain weight because they eat high-calorie comfort foods.
Next time you get a late-night snack attack, reach for one of these healthy and tasty nighttime snacks you can eat without gaining weight. If you’re counting calories, just remember to account for calories from these snacks in your daily total.
Healthy Nighttime Snacks
1. Apple with Peanut Butter
This snack can keep hunger at bay without interrupting sleep, as long as you don’t overdo it on the peanut butter. Cut the apple into slices, and then spread two teaspoons of peanut butter on them.
2. Baby Carrots
Carrots are the perfect healthy nighttime snack because they are convenient, flavorful, nutritious, and low in calories. You can eat as many sticks as you want, since one baby carrot contains only four calories.
I have to warn you that dipping your baby carrots in hummus can add many calories. Stick to plain carrots, especially if you had not planned to snack at night.
3. Air-Popped Popcorn
If you usually snack while watching TV, it’s better to snack on air-popped popcorns instead of crackers. Popcorns will also give you a good amount of fiber, protein, and carbs.
Did you know that popping popcorn with oil doubles its calories? It’s true! One cup of oil-free, air-popped popcorns contains 31 calories while a cup of oil-popped popcorns has 55 calories. So skip the oil, and enjoy that popcorn straight out of the air popper.
4. Banana with Nut Butter
Eating a banana at night can help curb nighttime sugar cravings. Simply spread a tablespoon of your favorite natural nut or seed butter on the banana, and enjoy.
In addition to curbing your cravings, bananas can help you sleep better since they contain magnesium. Research shows that magnesium intake improves quality of sleep in people with insomnia.
5. Tart Cherries
Snacking on tart cherries at night can keep you full and help you sleep like a baby. In this study, senior participants slept better when they drank tart cherry juice before bed. This fruit is a good source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
Images via Thinkstock.