Healthy Late-Night Snacks: Dietitian Approved
It is a common myth that eating late at night leads to weight gain; however, when you eat does not affect your weight as much as what you eat. Making the right choice for a late-night snack can actually help curb cravings and lead to a more restful night’s sleep.
However, it’s important to realize that certain foods, like those high in fat or sugar, can lead to weight gain and interfere with our fitness goals. In an effort to avoid late-night cravings, one should try to eat a well balanced diet throughout the day, and avoid caffeine, high-fat foods, and alcohol in the evening. However, for those moments when you just need to eat, here are a few of the best snack choices to make at bedtime:
Low in carbohydrates and high in protein, cottage cheese helps your stay fuller longer and helps satisfy stubborn cravings. Cottage cheese also contains the protein casein, which is slow to digest in the body, helps keep the body fueled with amino acids and promotes lean muscle build up. A great snack idea is to eat cottage cheese with fruit and honey, as the fruit helps you stay full and regulates blood sugar levels.
One serving of string cheese contains filling protein and fat, leaving you feeling satisfied. Cheese also contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which can help you feel drowsy. L-tryptophan increases the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin in the body. Melatonin is a hormone that affects the circadian rhythm (the sleep/wake cycle) and having more of this hormone helps promotes sleep and a regular sleeping cycle. Serotonin is a hormone that has many functions in the body, which includes regulating the sleep cycle by increasing drowsiness. It also has regulatory effects on eating and digestion, and low levels of this hormone is linked to depression.
Apples contain high levels of fiber and the almond butter contains enough protein to help keep you feeling satisfied. Fiber helps regulate sugar levels in the body, which can help prevent cravings that come from insulin spikes in the blood. Fiber is also good for digestion and can contribute to a healthy weight.
Bananas are packed with both fiber and L-tryptophan to help keep you satiated and relaxed for bed. As mentioned above, L-tryptophan promotes the synthesis of both melatonin and serotonin in the brain, which helps promote sleep. Sleep is crucial for weight-loss, as studies show that sleeping too much or too little has an effect on ghrelin and leptin, two hunger hormones. Sleeping enough ensures that one will have the necessary energy for dailyactivities, as well as prevent excessive hunger associated with the imbalance of ghrelin and leptin. If the banana is not substantial enough, try eating it with a tablespoon of peanut butter, which is a great source of protein.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein and probiotics, all of which promote a healthy body. For a nutritious snack, try eating greek yogurt with fruit and granola, which will provide the body with extra fiber to help regulate blood sugar levels.