Bedtime snacks are sort of a taboo subject. Like, you guys know snacking should only be done when you are truly hungry. Not because you're bored, not because you're watching a movie, and not because its raining outside.
That said, late night snackers are gona' snack. And I'd rather help you make a healthier choice than merely ignore the fact that sometimes late night snacks happen.
So if you're going to snack - let's try and look at it as an opportunity to sneak extra fat-burning protein into your diet or load up on antioxidants from veggies. Snacking done right before bed can actually help you meet your goals!! If you know you plan on "vegging out" late at night, maybe try and adjust your daytime meals accordingly. Eat less at lunch and dinner, so you have an extra 200 or 300 calories to "spend" on healthy, nutritious late night snacks instead.
The key to setting up a healthy snack is to STAY AWAY from the refined carbs, sugar and processed foods that traditionally make-up a late night snack. Poptarts, ice cream, candy, chips... these sugar laden choices will contribute to increased hunger at overeating.
Ideally, a snack should be high in protein, fiber and water content. Protein will fill you up and is an efficient source of calories. Only about 33% of calories from protein actually contributes to daily calorie intake since a lot of the calories are lost in the digestion/metabolism process! Protein also helps to boost muscle-protein synthesis and therefore boosts metabolism.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that our body cannot digest and is found in great abundance in beans, veggies and fruits. Notice I did NOT say whole grains. Its a myth that whole grains are a GREAT source of fiber...but rather whole grains have some fiber but mostly just sugar. Fiber keeps us fuller longer and helps us stay thin.
Water content in foods usually suggests the food is a real, whole food. Veggies and fruits are great sources of water content. And, hey!! Water is also a great source of water (who woulda thunk?!?!). Carbonated flavored water like La Croix or sipping decaffeinated, herbal tea is a great late night treat.
“Peanut Butter Jelly” Cottage Cheese – mix ½ cup low fat/non-fat cottage cheese with 2 Tablespoons powdered peanut butter, 1 dropper vanilla stevia and blueberries
1 ½ cups of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or melon such as honey dew or cantaloupe or watermelon
Turkey or salmon jerky
Sugar snap peas or green beans
Greek yogurt seasoned with Simply Organic Spice Blends (dip fresh veggies in yogurt for a great sub for ranch dip)
Tea with unsweetened almond or coconut milk
Apple with powdered peanut butter (reconstituted with water)
Mash or blend frozen banana with berries and cocoa powder for a healthier “chocolate ice cream”
Enlightened Fava Beans
Make your own spicy crunchy mix! Drain two cans of 14-oz cans of chickpeas and coat with2 tablespoons avocado oil, ¼ cup black pepper, 1 ½ cup parsley, ½ cup garlic powder, ¾ cup onion powder, 2 Tablespoons dill. Bake on a cookie sheet for 40-60 minutes.
Microwave frozen edamame
Organic Valley cheese sticks
Hummus and carrots/broccoli/crudite