If you feel hungry late in the night during bedtime, don’t ignore your hunger cues because it’s quite difficult to fall asleep with a rumbling stomach. However, finding the right food at that time may be a challenge, especially if you don’t have any meal or snack in your house.
Nutrient-dense snacks with not more than 200 calories are generally ideal for a late night hunger. You should eat foods which are rich in nutrients that should not only keep your hunger at bay but also promote your sleep.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best midnight snack ideas that can satisfy your hunger, promote your sleep, and keep you healthy.
12 Late Night Snack Ideas
Here are 12 healthy and easy late night snacks that can fulfill your nutritional needs during bedtime.
1. Hot Cereal and Milk
Cereals such as oatmeal are not only ideal for breakfast but can also solve your hunger at night. Hot whole-grains are rich in fiber and are generally a better option than the cold snacks. If you often experience heartburns, you should only eat a small portion of this snack because eating excess cereals might worsen the condition.
Combining the cereals with skimmed milk is an excellent idea, making it more nutritious and delicious. Milk is a high source of calcium and other minerals that stimulate the production of melatonin (sleep hormone).
Besides oats, you can eat other whole-grain cereals such as cooked barley and rice. One of the ways to make these alternative cereals tasty is by topping them up with either nut, cinnamon, or dried fruit.
You can meal prep the cereals in advance on the weekends and store it in the refrigerator, especially if you are always busy up to bedtime on weekdays. When feeling hungry before sleeping, you need to add a little amount of water to the grains and warm.
2. Strawberries and Brie
When your hunger needs a sweet food with low calories, a bowl of berries can be ideal for you. Besides having many nutrients, it’s a rich source of dietary fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Dietary magnesium has a role to play in your diet, as it can relax your body muscles and nerves to promote sleep.
Another nutrient that you can get from strawberries is Vitamin C. Berries are also a rich natural source of the sleeping hormone (melatonin). A cup of sliced berries contains 53 calories, meaning that you can eat two cups without passing the 200-calorie limit. Serving a bowl of strawberries with 1 ounce of brie (28g) can satisfy your hunger fast.
3. Crackers and Cheese
Cheese and whole-grain crackers can make a savory late night snack. The combination is rich in fiber, proteins, and carbohydrates, which can help to maintain your blood sugar levels. If you’re on a weight loss diet, you ought to check on the serving size to avoid consuming lots of calories.
Cheese and whole-grain crackers help in the production and circulation of tryptophan, which can stimulate the production of the sleeping hormones. The crackers are a rich source of tryptophan while cheese facilitates the movement of the tryptophan to the brain.
For a healthy late night feeding, consider serving four whole-grain crackers (16g) and a stick of cheddar cheese. The total number of calories adds up to 150.
4. Yogurt and Fruit
Yogurt is a rich source of calcium which doesn’t only keep your bones stronger but can also help in promoting better sleep. The body needs calcium to synthesize melatonin using tryptophan (amino acid). However, some yogurt brands may be high in calories and sugar but low in vital nutrients such as calcium.
Besides calcium, you can also get the right amount of protein casein from yogurt like the Greek yogurt. Studies show that intake of casein protein late in the night can reduce hunger the following morning. However, when buying yogurt, you should read the nutrition label to ensure that it has the right amount of nutrients you need.
If you choose yogurt as your favorite late night snack, you can top it up with fruits such as peaches and berries to add on flavor. You might also add chopped nuts and honey.
5. Nut Butter and Fresh Fruit
Preparing both fruits and nut butter doesn’t require much time and effort, rendering this combination an ideal snack to satisfy your late night hunger. Besides that, both nut butter and fresh fruits have numerous nutritional benefits. They are rich in nutrients such as minerals, proteins, vitamins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.
A good example is the combination of banana and almond butter. You can dip a small piece of banana in a tablespoon of almond butter (16g) to make a healthy and tasty late night snack. Consumption of bananas can stimulate the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Almond butter is also a rich source of melatonin and other essential nutrients.
Pistachios contain higher amounts of melatonin than other nuts and are low in calories. While most plant foods are known to have the sleep hormone, only a few can match the levels that pistachios have.
An ounce of shelled pistachios (28g) contains about 160 calories, 6g of proteins, and 6.5mg of the sleep hormone, melatonin. The recommended amount of melatonin that can help to promote sleep range between 0.5-5mg. Pistachios also contain low amounts of fat.
7. Protein Smoothie
If you spend most of your time on workouts, eating snacks that are rich in proteins before going to bed can be helpful. Proteins help in the repair of worn-out body muscles and also slows down muscle loss that results from aging. Protein smoothies offer an easy way to enrich your diet with proteins before sleeping.
A good example is a milk and pineapple smoothie. A mixture of 240ml milk (low-fat) and 2/3 cups of frozen pineapple contains 160 calories, rendering it an ideal and healthy late night snack. Milk is high in amino acid tryptophan, which stimulates the production of melatonin that promotes sleep.
8. Turkey Meat Sandwich
If your late night cravings push you to eat meat, a turkey meat sandwich can be of great help. Besides being lean meat, turkey is full of amino acid tryptophan, which facilitates the activity of sleep hormone melatonin. To make it tastier, you can prepare a sandwich with grain bread, tomato slices, lettuce, and mustard.
Eating low-calorie food, like turkey meat, before going to bed can silence your hunger and help you sleep well. Eat a few pieces of the sandwich that can keep you asleep. Taking too much lean meat might keep you awake for long.
9. Fresh Veggies with Dip
Fresh vegetables can also serve you well before going to bed. A combination of crunchy veggies like raw carrots, cucumber slices, and broccoli florets can keep your late night hunger at bay. Other vegetables that can quell your growling stomach include celery, grape tomatoes, and zucchini.
To add flavor and nutrients to your veggie slices, you can prepare a dip of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. The cottage cheese is low in fat, and rich in calcium and proteins which are ideal for promoting sleep.
10. Peanut Butter
Because peanut butter is rich in protein, it can serve as a late night snack right before you sleep. One good thing about peanut butter is that your stomach won’t feel heavy after eating it. Therefore, you will sleep well without feeling any stomach discomfort.
Like any other late night snack, peanut butter is high in tryptophan, an amino acid which stimulates the production of melatonin that promotes sleep. Peanut butter is also rich in monounsaturated fats, which helps in preventing fat-associated diseases.
If you are finding it hard to eat only peanut butter, you can make a yummy bread and peanut butter sandwich. Bread is a rich source of carbs that can help to avail the tryptophan to the brain. You should eat the whole grain peanut butter with no or less added sugar.
11. Whole-Grain Tortilla
Tortillas can be an excellent snack to silence your late night cravings. For a simple meal, you can warm enough whole-grain tortillas, top up with other ingredients like hummus, tomato spread, or nut butter (unsweetened), and eat.
The number of calories in 30g of tortilla (6-inch) is 94. Adding a tablespoon of hummus will increase the calories to 119. However, your late night diet doesn’t restrict you from adding any other ingredients such as leafy greens, chicken breast, or dried cranberries. Chicken and dried cranberries are a good source of tryptophan and melatonin, respectively.
Eggs are generally easy to cook and diverse. They can be used to prepare almost every snack, depending on your recipe. Because they are versatile, you can boil some eggs and keep in the fridge for a snack or use the boiled eggs as a spread.
An example of an egg recipe that you can easily prepare is the scrambled-egg muffins, which takes less than 15 minutes to get ready. You can keep the muffins in the fridge and reheat when feeling hungry during bedtime. One egg contains 72 calories, 6 g of proteins, and 83 mg tryptophan.
Late night snacks can be helpful when you find yourself hungry at bedtime. However, you must check on the number of calories to avoid overeating, especially if you are on a weight loss diet. That is because some studies have linked late night eating with a gain of body weight. Remember to keep your calorie intake below 200.
Most importantly, you ought to choose foods that don’t only quell your hunger but also healthy. If you are a dieter, ActivEats can help you find foods that will meet your nutritional goals. Our weight loss meal delivery is highly affordable. All you need to do is ordering your favorite food.