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Have you ever stopped yourself from having a snack at late hours? Maybe because you heard it’s bad for your health. Or it will make you gain weight. I totally understand where you’re coming from. But what if I told you, you don’t have to?
See, this belief stems from research that says bedtime snacks slow down your metabolism or weight gain: But that research has since been disproven. Late-night snacks are not bad for you.
In fact, there are some proven benefits to satisfying your late-night cravings.
Why bedtime snacks are not bad for you
So what are some of these benefits? Here are the most important ones:
- It curbs your appetite: If you have a problem with eating unhealthy snacks filled with sugars, salt, and preservatives at late hours. Opting for a healthy, low-calorie snack instead can help curb your appetite. And prevent you from overeating.
- It improves the quality of your sleep: Ever noticed that if you’re feeling hungry before going to bed, it makes it harder to fall asleep. Many people have this problem. And, as you might already know, a lack of (quality of) sleep can lead to elevated levels of stress: One of the main causes of binge-eating. That’s why having a late-night snack can improve the quality of your sleep. And prevent you from binge-eating.
- Stabilize blood sugar level: Researches have shown a bedtime snack may also stabilize your blood sugar level the next morning.
12 bedtime snacks for weight loss
With that being said, yes, it’s CRUCIAL to eat the right kind of snack. So, what are some of the best late-night snacks? Here are your 12 best options:
1. A handful of nuts
Nuts are a great late-night snack because they contain mostly unsaturated fats, which are good for your health. But they also provide a high amount of proteins and fibers.
This makes them very filling. Just be mindful of your portions. Stick to a handful of nuts. Nothing more.
2. Low-fat Greek Yogurt
What’s so great about Greek Yogurt? It contains a lot of calcium, which can improve the quality of your sleep. It also contains casein, which can reduce your hunger the next morning.
3. Any type of (dried) fruit
If you have a sweet tooth, you simply can’t go wrong with having a piece of (dried) fruit. Fruits are low in calories, rich in nutrients, and often high in fiber. Plus, you have a lot of different options, so you’ll never get bored:
- Tart cherries
4. A flavored protein shake
Protein shakes are not only a delicious treat after the gym. They’re also a perfect bedtime snack: You can whip one up quickly.
And research has shown having a protein shake before bedtime may enhance muscle growth and strength.
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5. Whole-grain crackers with cheese
Whole-grain crackers with cheese are delicious. And have a great balance of macronutrients.
Just make sure you don’t buy crackers that contain trans fats: Check the ingredient list for “hydrogenated oils.”
Avocados contain a high amount of magnesium, which can improve the quality of your sleep.
And, while they’re high in (healthy) fats, they’re also one of the most satisfying foods on the planet.
7. Dark chocolate
Ever felt guilty after eating some chocolate? Well, you don’t have to. That is IF you choose dark chocolate. The type of chocolate high in cocoa and low in sugar. The sour flavor of dark chocolate can help you eat less.
Its magnesium content can help you fall asleep. And you can expect a lot of health benefits from all its antioxidants and minerals, like iron and zinc.
8. A bowl of oatmeal
Oatmeal is not only great to eat for breakfast or lunch. It’s also great to satisfy your bedtime cravings. After all, oats are among the healthiest whole grains on earth.
And, because of its high fiber content, it makes you feel full and satisfied. You can add some flavor to oatmeal by adding some cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
9. String Cheese
It might surprise you to find any type of cheese on this list. But string cheese is actually a great late-night snack. Why? Because one stick only contains about 80 calories.
A whopping 8 grams of protein. And some Vitamin A and calcium. Just make sure you watch out for the processed kind. And choose the kind made from real Mozzarella instead.
10. Popcorn without salt or butter
Popcorn is only bad for you if you load it up with sugar, salt, and butter. Because if you don’t add anything to it. It only contains about 30 calories per cup.
And it’s a whole grain food with lots of biers. This makes popcorn incredibly filling.
11. Boiled eggs
Eggs are one of the absolute best foods you can eat. And before bedtime is no exception. One hard-boiled egg only contains about 80 grams of calories.
But 6 grams of protein and just about every vitamin and mineral the body needs. Why boiled eggs and not fried eggs? Because you don’t get any of the extra calories from the oil.
12. Pumpkin seeds
Lots of foods get the title of “superfood” undeserved. But pumpkin seeds is not one of these foods. Why? Because they contain an extremely high amount of antioxidants and nutrients:
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
- Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)
- Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
- Manganese: 42% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Zinc: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 19% of the RDI
What are some of the benefits of these antioxidants and nutrients? The tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium can improve your sleep. The fibers help to keep you full and satisfied.
And the zinc boosts your metabolism, which can aid in weight loss.
The Bottom Line
The commonly held belief that bedtime snacks are bad for you is not true. If you stick to the healthy snacks listed above. And pay close attention to portion size, having a bedtime snack is not bad for you.
In fact, it can even help improve sleep, keep you full during the night which will aid in your weight loss goals.