Before we delve into the top five healthy midnight snacks, let’s take a look at why you get hungry at bedtime. In today’s busy society, many people do not have set meal times. When you have scheduled meal times, your body becomes accustomed to eating at certain times. Without scheduled meal times, hunger can strike at any time, including at or near your bedtime.
Another common reason for hunger pains at bedtime is dehydration. To determine if your hunger pains are actually linked to dehydration, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Does the water satiate you? If so, you were dehydrated and you can head to bed without snacking. If you are still feeling hungry, then go ahead and enjoy one of the snacks listed below.
- Say Cheese!
Mozzarella cheese is a great late night snack. It is low in calorie and is a great source of protein and fat to help you feel satiated. The protein found in cheese is a slow digesting protein, which means it will prevent hunger for hours and may help ease heartburn at bedtime.
- Celebrate Cereal
Breakfast cereals are the perfect midnight snack. However, you should avoid sugary cereals and instead opt for a cereal that contains healthy whole grains and complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, bran flakes or corn flakes. This type of cereal is easy to digest and usually contains less than 200 calories per serving.
Oats contain melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. The combination of protein and carbs in a bowl of cereal will help you go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The fiber in this type of cereal will regulate your glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of the sugar in the cereal.
- Get Your Greek On!
Greek yogurt is another great midnight snack. A serving of low sugar Greek yogurt contains only 150 calories. This means you can harness the power of protein and tryptophan without sacrificing your waistline. Adding some flaxseed to your Greek yogurt increases the healthy fats to supply you with a steady dose of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The carbohydrate in flaxseed will help your body absorb more tryptophan, thus increasing the amount of melatonin in the body.
This natural probiotic-rich snack is especially beneficial to those suffering from digestive issues. The probiotics will help restore gut health and improve nutrient absorption, so you can rest better.
- Gobble Up Some Turkey
Turkey is another food item that is loaded with tryptophan. Think of how you feel after enjoying a Thanksgiving meal. Do you feel relaxed and sleepy? This is due to the naturally occurring tryptophan in turkey. In addition to this, a couple of slices of turkey (white meat only) has a little over 100 calories, making it the perfect midnight snack for those looking to lose weight.
- An Apple a Day
Apples do more than keep the doctor away. They also welcome the sandman so you can get to sleep sooner. Apples supply you with fiber to keep you feeling full while you sleep. Additionally, they are low in calories and have a low glycemic index. The natural sweetness of an apple will satisfy your sweet cravings.
In order to get the most out of an apple at bedtime, couple it with some peanut butter or another protein source. This slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream to help prevent an insulin spike. Additionally, the vitamin C found in apples lower blood pressure and improve respiration, which can help you to relax.