It has happened to most of us at one time or another – you are sitting on the couch or lying in bed, and settling in to watch your favorite TV show, and your stomach makes that unmistakable rumbling noise. Late night food cravings are triggered by a number of reasons, such as anger, stress, boredom, lack of protein, dehydration or genuine hunger.
It has been said, that eating after a certain time will make you fat, and that is not necessarily a true statement. What is true; is that you must burn more calories during the day, than you consume, to avoid weight gain. It is recommended that you stay away from spicy, fatty or heavy-type foods, prior to bedtime, because it can disrupt your sleeping habits. Also, it is highly recommended that any food you do consume late at night, be less than 300 calories, and that there is at least 60 minutes of wait time before you fall asleep.
Many times dehydration is misunderstood as hunger pains, and that by drinking a tall glass of cool water, all will be right again. If it is not, and you still feel hungry, then check the extensive lists of tips and tricks, for choosing a healthy and delicious snack that will not destroy your waistline.
In general, poor choices are made when we are overtired, mentally stressed and famished. Convenience stores are notorious for having snacks that are high in sugar and fat content, and low in nutritional value.
If you are out and about; and happen upon a 24-hour diner or a fast food restaurant, here are some healthy alternative choices. Instead of having a huge egg omelet, add some power to it, by choosing a garden vegetable omelet. A caprese omelet is also an excellent choice, because tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil are also good for your body.
Below we are offering some healthy snack ideas for you to keep on hand, to help you curb your late-night food cravings, and avoid mindless food grazing that can lead to weight gain.
1. A high-protein snack
A high-protein snack, like a turkey sandwich, or peanut butter with celery, or an apple will have you feeling fuller and more satisfied, than a sugary treat alternative.
2. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is another high-protein, low-carbohydrate choice. Try to locate cottage cheese that has less than six (6) grams of fat, and contains live active cultures, as this will provide your body with probiotics without having to take a supplement. Add some chopped zucchini, tomatoes, red onions, and a touch of salsa to the cottage cheese, for a delicious evening snack
An ounce of nuts, especially pistachios, are a simple, yet very nutritious snack. Approximately two tablespoons of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, as well as, three tablespoons of peanuts, cashews, pecans and peanuts are all healthy snacks that are less than 100 calories.
A small bowl of high-fiber cereal (such as Raisin Bran) with some low-fat milk will give your body fiber, protein, and Vitamin D.
One hard-boiled egg is less than 80 calories, so enjoy one (or two) as a healthy late night snack.
6. Greek yogurt and fruit
Greek yogurt and fruit is a favorite choice for many late-night snacker’s, as it is low in carbohydrates, rich in protein, and an excellent source of antioxidants and important vitamins.
A banana, with a slice of whole wheat toast, is a perfect late-night food choice, because the combination of complex carbohydrates encourages the natural release of melatonin, which aids in relaxation and promotes a good night’s sleep.
Popcorn is not the healthiest snack when buried under salt and butter, but with alternative seasonings, such as cayenne pepper, it is considered a low-calorie snack that is easy to digest. This snack has been known to quench many late-night food cravings.
If you happen to wake up feeling warm and looking for a refreshing snack, some chilled watermelon slices (with a little and salt and pepper) are a perfect choice.
Before you have a late-night snack, think about where the feeling is coming from, and deal with the matter appropriately, as it may not always be a hunger issue. But, if you are truly hungry, take a moment to decide what type of food you are craving, is it salty or something crunchy, as an example, and then make your food choice accordingly.
Remember, the food choices made, when eating late in the day, should be something light and healthy, as to not mess up your morning meal routine. Eating first thing in the morning is something that should never be missed; as it gives you sustained energy throughout the day.