10 Awesome Healthy Snacks for Your Midnight Cravings
It’s the middle of the night, you can’t sleep and your stomach starts to rumble... Alas! It’s time for a midnight snack!
Why Take Advantage of a Midnight Snack?
Research has shown that individuals’ metabolic rate slows down during night time but it never really stops. It is still better to eat the bigger meals around the time of the day you’re most active but what if you really get hungry during midnight?
Even after a heavy and delicious dinner, you may feel hungry and crave for something chewy and that which satiates your pining for food. Midnight snacking may sound unhealthy and not advisable, however, with the right combination of nutrients, and choosing healthy snacks, you can satisfy your tummy needs without jeopardizing your overall health.
Always remember that no matter how late it is, it doesn't make sense to starve yourself if you’re hungry. Trying to ignore a complaining stomach and doing your best to go back to sleep may have worse effects on your body if this happens frequently.
Healthy Midnight Snacks
You may have heard that it's not great to eat right before bed or during the middle of the night. So what's the best thing to snack on when hunger pangs arise? Below are helpful and healthy snacks that fulfill your needs.
High-Fiber Cereal and Milk - Cereals are often fortified with vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in whole-grain cereals support multiple body functions and may also protect against several chronic diseases, including heart disease. Combined with milk, which is known to contain a variety of B vitamins, you can satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.
Avocado or Hard-Boiled Egg on Crispbread - Avocados have potential health benefits which include improving digestion, decreasing the risk of depression, and protection against cancer. Hard-boiled eggs, on the same note, add good fats to keep your heart healthy. They are also packed with important vitamins to protect your eyes and keep your bones strong. Whichever you choose from the two, they can be a great pair with crispbread.
Banana with Peanut Butter - With the right kind of bread, a peanut butter and banana sandwich is a nutritious food that supplies a healthy dose of fiber, protein and certain vitamins and minerals. Bananas are also known in helping to lower blood pressure and reduce risks of developing cancer and asthma. Peanut butter is a versatile spread that is surprisingly good for your health. This high protein and healthy oil may help suppress hunger and provide help with weight loss.
Fruit and Nuts - Nuts contain unsaturated fats and other nutrients. They're a great snack food — inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you're on the go. Fruits, as we all know, contains vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining overall health, however high sugar content in some fruits may not be suitable for midnight snacking.
Turkey Slices on Bread - Turkey contains the amino acid, tryptophan. This is said to be the cause of people wanting to nap and may help you get back to sleep more easily. Eating foods like turkey that are high in protein help to increase the feeling of satiety, meaning that they make a person feel fuller for longer. Feeding yourself without taking in too much is possible with this healthy midnight snack.
Greek Yoghurt with Granola or Fruit - People often enjoy this combination as a quick and healthy midnight snack option. Both yogurt and granola may also offer you several potential health benefits including but not limited to providing your body with nutrients like calcium, protein, and fiber. It is also known that granola helps in regulating digestion, aiding in weight loss, improving your heart health, preventing anemia, and improving skin quality.
Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers - Cheese is a great source of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. It has proven health benefits which include supporting healthy bones, supporting a healthy heart, helping prevent cancer, managing and preventing osteoporosis, supporting healthy teeth and reducing stress. Other benefits include promoting brain function, promoting immunity and supporting gut health. Whole grain crackers can help lower cholesterol as well as reduce constipation and diverticulosis.
Whole Grain Toast with Nut Butter - There’s more to nut butter than peanut butter. Nut butter made from cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, and more that are widely available in your local grocery store or market can be the best alternatives. Nuts are good sources of healthy fats. They also provide essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals.
Pistachios - Pistachios offer ample amounts of protein, fiber, and micronutrients that support good health, and they're versatile, too. Many people love eating pistachios as they work well with many dishes and baked goods. They can also be crunchy toppings for salads.
Cottage Cheese - Cottage cheese contains all the essential amino acids needed for it to qualify as a complete protein. It offers various nutritional benefits as it gives your body protein, Vitamin B-12, calcium, and phosphorus. Cottage cheese makes a great high-protein midnight snack and contains extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals if its made with oatmeal and mashed banana.
Snacks That You Need to Avoid
Fatty Foods - Chips, ice cream, French fries, pizza, cheeseburgers -- they’re all so tempting and, unfortunately, can be loaded with fats, sugar, and salt. It is recommended to avoid these as it may take a long time to digest inside the body.
Caffeinated foods and drink - Although you are up and eating during at midnight, taking advantage of caffeinated foods and drink can cause trouble when trying to fall back to sleep as these foods and drinks can keep you awake and increase your energy levels for the next few hours.
Spicy food - There are plenty of benefits to eating spicy foods. But like so many other things, spicy food has good and bad sides. Unfortunately, when we are talking about midnight snacking, the bad will outweigh the good. The main reason to avoid this during midnight is that it may lead to indigestion. Moreover, capsaicin found in spicy foods is a blood thinner. It may not be a big deal for most people but if you are taking any medications, capsaicin may cause thinning of the blood too much which can lead to bigger risks.
Sugary foods - The harmful effects of sugar go way beyond empty calories. It has been known that added sugar is unhealthy and is commonly referred to as the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. Eating too much of this can lead to a spike and crash in blood sugar.
Helpful Tips for Eating Your Midnight Snack
- As mentioned above, bigger meals should be eaten during the most active part of your day.
- Regardless of what you snack on at midnight, make sure to keep your portions small. Your body will not immediately register that it’s full so it can be tempting to eat more. Furthermore, why not try waiting a few minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full? You’ll be grateful you did and you’ll get a continuous and better night’s sleep for it.
- Give your body a few minutes to digest. As much as possible, don’t crawl back into bed immediately after your snack. The body needs time to digest, which means there should be a gap between snacking and going to bed.
- Don’t forget to brush your teeth after snacking!
- The only way to have a healthy midnight snack option on hand is through effective preparation. If you are a chronic midnight snacker, you can start preparing your snacks before you go to bed.
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Eating midnight snacks is a ritual that many people undertake. It has been adopted by our ancestors to preserve energy and to survive during prolonged periods of food scarcity. However, in our current society, these high-calorie foods and beverages are detrimental to our health, leading to people being overweight or obese. Always remember that eating the wrong midnight snack before falling asleep can have negative health effects, from poor sleep to diabetes and excessive weight gain around different parts of the body.
Always remember to SNACK RESPONSIBLY.
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