I think it’s safe to say that we all get hungry at night. That’s typically when we reach for a bag of chips, a bowl of cereal, a carton of ice cream, or even a glass of wine. It’s yummy and comforting as we sit up too late watching our favorite shows. But consuming a bunch of carbs at night is not the best idea. There are plenty of easy late night snack ideas we could choose instead. You don’t necessarily have to give up your late night snacks, but you do need to eat the right thing.
A good midnight snack should be beneficial to your body. I know all about staying up late or not getting enough sleep. I’m unfortunately a pro at doing all the wrong things, and I always have been. The mix of not getting enough sleep, eating on an odd schedule, and not eating the right things has always taken a huge toll on me. I don’t have much energy, I have a hard time falling asleep, and I’m stuck in a bad cycle.
While I definitely need to work on my own problems, we can all benefit from healthy late night snacks. Even if you’re on a good schedule, healthy late night snacks will make a huge difference. So I’m here to give you all the information you need and the best healthy bedtime snack ideas!
Is it Bad to Eat Late at Night?
Most people are under the impression that eating after 6-8PM is a big no-no. Well, I’m here to tell you that is entirely unreasonable. It isn’t the evening snacks that are contributing to weight gain or lack of sleep. If you’re eating reasonable portions of the right foods, your late night snacks are fine.
You can eat healthy late night snacks without having to worry about any dramatic side effects. But if you are pounding down a bag of chips while washing it down with a soda, you will definitely feel those pants getting a little tighter. But the thing is, that isn’t considered a good snack at any time of the day. The snacks you eat may be to blame, but the time of day you are eating them has nothing to do with it. Although, if you eat a heavy meal right before bed, you may have difficulties sleeping because your body is working hard to digest it.
Things to Consider
Get Enough Sleep
First off, you need to get enough sleep. Even getting between 6-8 hours of restful sleep will be enough. You want to shoot for 8 hours, but even getting close to that will be better than a few hours. The extra rest will energize you for the day and you won’t feel so tired all the time, or feel like you need a nap every day. I avoid napping entirely because I am on such a bad schedule, I don’t want to make it worse.
Get yourself into a routine. Like I said before, I’m terrible at keeping a good routine. The only meal I eat at a consistent time seems to be dinner at between 6-7pm. That’s because my husband gets home from work around that time and I know if I don't feed him, he will start snacking right away.
Eating on a good schedule is just as crucial as sleeping on a good schedule. Your body will know what to expect, and you won’t be so hungry all the time. If you’re hungry between meals or after dinner opt for a light snack. I’ll go into more detail about the right snacks later on in the article.
Keep a Balanced Diet
Even if you aren’t on a diet or trying to lose weight, you need a well-rounded diet. That includes eating lots of protein, healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and vitamins. So even if you don’t want to meal-plan or stick to a diet, just focus on whole foods. Meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and nut are the best foods to focus on. Cutting out carbs, sugar, processed foods, and salt will leave your body feeling much more energized!
Don’t forget about water either! If you aren’t drinking enough water, your body will be asking for it. Most people mistake their body’s need for water as a need for more food. Drinking the appropriate amount of water each day will curb hunger.
What You Need to Avoid
When it comes to keeping a good schedule, you need to remember to avoid a few things. By avoiding these bad habits, you will be able to feel better, get restful sleep, and fight insomnia. If you have a hard time falling asleep this should be a big help!
Avoid alcohol before bed because it causes inflammation in your body
Avoid caffeine because it will keep you awake
Don’t eat in front of the TV because mindless eating leads to eating too much
Avoid eating sugar before bed
Try to eat your late night snack about 2-4 hours before you plan to go to bed
Avoid eating a heavy meal before bed because it is hard to digest
Eating a late night dinner is nothing to be ashamed of, but keep in mind when you plan to go to bed. I’m always on a very late schedule, so eating late is good for me. I don’t snack much before bed when I eat between 6-8PM or even later. I’m also not a huge eater. Obviously, everyone has different moods. Sometimes I want to eat more, but most of the time I’m just not hungry enough for big meals.
Healthy Late Night Snack Ideas
Figuring out what to eat late at night, you want the most convenient thing to grab. Late night snacking leads to grabbing processed food or carbs. But there are plenty of late night fast food ideas that are healthy. Curb those late night cravings with the best midnight snacks! They’re easy, filling, and won’t tip the scales.
I know you might be thinking you could have come up with that idea. Fruit is an easy thing to grab. But half the time you might not be in the mood for it. Luckily, there are a few options! You could make baked apples or baked peaches as a delicious sweet treat! You could even top them with nuts to help stop late night cravings.
When eating fruits at night, you could even pair them with nut butter or greek yogurt, depending on what fruit you choose. Spreading unsweetened almond or cashew butter on apple slices is delicious and it will fill you up! Adding berries or peaches to greek yogurt will also satisfy you!
I love eating veggies. It’s one of those refreshing snacks that doesn’t make me feel gross after I eat it. But I know that just eating plain veggies can be a little dissatisfying for some people. Never fear! All you need is a little hummus or vegetable dip. Just make sure to measure out a serving size and try not to get carried away.
If you have a little time to spare, you could also roast some vegetables with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. It might be more time consuming, but it is one of my favorite things to eat! It also makes a great side to add to any low calorie meal.
If you need some low carb crunchy snacks, drop that chip bag and reach for the celery. All natural nut butter of your choice will come in handy here too. You could make a throwback to your childhood and make some ants on a log with peanut butter, celery, and raisins!
If you think you’re in need of some protein, you could try eating some meat or making a smoothie. Turkey is the best food to eat before bed because it contains the amino acid tryptophan. It contributes to making you feel tired. If you want, you could make a late night wrap.
Warm up a 6-inch whole grain wrap, spread a little roasted red pepper hummus, and add half a cup of chopped turkey or chicken. Add leafy greens if you’d like and wrap it up. It makes a great late night meal or snack, depending on how hungry you are.
Protein-packed smoothies are a great late night snack in moderation. All you need is 8oz of milk or low-fat milk and ⅔ of a frozen fruit of your choice. You could add yogurt if you want for added fat. A favorite for most people is milk, a banana, and peanut butter, so that is another great option!
Whole Grains and Nuts
Oatmeal before bed is another great option if you want something warm and comforting. Make sure you’re only eating an appropriate portion and using whole grains. If you need to sweeten it up, use a natural sweetener like honey or dates. You could also add dried fruit, nuts, or cinnamon.
I know I’ve already mentioned nut butter a bunch so far, but it is such a great healthy late night snack! But if you want to branch out, you could also try eating trail mix. There are plenty of places you can get healthy portion sizes on the go. Or you could make your own trail mix. If you do decide to make your own, you should try to include pumpkin or sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, or dried fruits.
The moral of the story here is that you need to choose good midnight snacks. Healthy late night snacks can be just as easy as snacking on chips or making ramen in the microwave. Just because it’s good for you and doesn’t have the carbs, doesn’t mean it’s hard to make!
Better yet, get all the processed food and snacks out of the house so your only options are healthy ones! Just remember that a healthy diet needs to be paired with a healthy routine. You need to shoot for a schedule that works for your lifestyle. Even if you aren’t a morning person because you work late hours, does not mean you have a bad schedule. You need the best routine for your lifestyle! So get plenty of sleep, drink enough water, and replace those cravings with healthy munchies!