Nothing can disrupt your beauty sleep more than being with hit a midnight crave. Midnight munching is common phenomenon experienced by many people irrespective of their dinner and meal habits. Many people believe that midnight snacking is the fastest way to pack on additional pounds as the body’s metabolism is at its lowest at night. However, this is not always the case. There are many healthy midnight snack options available which help curb the hunger while at the same time improving your body’s metabolism.
Choose From The Following Ideas To Enjoy A Healthy And Low Calorie Midnight Snack:
In many instances, one often mistakes hunger for thirst. The minute you feel yourself craving something at night, pour yourself a glass of water. Should you still be hungry, opt for a low calorie snack.
A cup of milk is highly recommended at night as the calcium and Vitamin D helps improve bone health. Further, milk contains tryptophan which boosts production of serotonin in the body, thereby helping you to fall asleep better. For those unable to consume regular milk, choose from healthy variants such as soy milk and almond milk that are loaded with nutrition.
Pistachios pack in high nutritional value and are rich in biotin, fiber and vitamins, making it a great midnight snack. Further, as you have to peel of the shells to eat the nut, some studies show that the amount of pistachios consumed are lessor than any other nut, thereby helping with the quantity.
Nuts are high in nutrition, fiber and antioxidants making them a healthy midnight snack. A handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts, while curbing the hunger, also help regulate blood sugar thereby keeping you full for longer. An added advantage of nuts is that they promote production of serotonin in the body enabling you to sleep better.
Popcorn is a tasty and healthy snack that can be made in minutes without adding on to the calories. A bowl of popcorn done in minimum butter with low salt is great to snack on at night, especially while watching your favourite movie. For maximum benefits, stay clear of the microwave popcorn packets and instead pop some kernels in a pan with low butter.
Enjoy guilt free snacking on vegetables while loading up on vitamins and essential minerals. Fill your plate with slices of carrot, celery stalk, tomatoes or cucumber that help you feel full without the calories. A large portion of the vegetable is actually water thus keeping you hydrated through the night. To enhance the nutritional content, sprinkle a dash of ground flaxseed, sunflower seeds, or poppy seeds on the vegetables.
Whole grain Toast or Crackers
Choose food made from whole grain for a filling and healthy midnight meal. Avoid refined and processed food as they are high in sugar and fat while being low in nutrition. Have a whole grain toast with a bit of butter or even a couple of whole grain crackers with cheese for a yummy snack.
Peanut/ Almond Butter
Peanut or Almond butter is another tasty and protein rich snack. Have a spoonful by itself, with fruit or even spread it on a toast or cracker. This nut butter helps you stay full while satisfying your crave. Choose organic nut butter without added sugar for maximum health benefits.
A bowl of oatmeal makes for a great night time snack. This fiber rich food is great for the heart, helps lower cholesterol and keeps you full for a long time. Add a bit of fruit or nuts to enhance the taste. For those of you with a sweet tooth, substitute sugar with honey for lower calories. In addition, a sprinkle of ground flaxseed provides the body with omega 3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants.
Pick a low fat yogurt as a healthy midnight snack that soothes your stomach at night. Stay away from flavoured fruit yogurts as they are high in sugar and lose a large amount of their nutritional value. It is better to add slices of fresh fruit to plain yogurt.
Frozen Banana Ice cream
Ice cream is a highly craved midnight food but contains all the wrong ingredients to snack on at night. A healthy alternative to store-bought ice cream loaded with sugar and fat is an easy to make frozen banana ice cream. Simply freeze chopped slices of 1-2 bananas and once frozen, give them a whiz in a food processor on high. This creamy texture actually achieves ice cream like consistency without the calories.
Chocolate may be considered to be unhealthy by many – but dark chocolate actually offers you several health benefits. Chocolate which has 70% or more cocoa is rich in antioxidants while being low in sugar. Further, dark chocolate has been associated with boosting one’s mood, fighting inflammation and regulating blood pressure. In some studies, it has also been linked to prevent heart diseases. Dark chocolate is also recommended as a night snack as it soothes the craving, and promotes better sleep as it releases endorphins in the body. However, for maximum health benefits this should be consumed in moderation and not by the bar.
Foods to Avoid at Night
While certain foods make for a healthy midnight snack and help you sleep better, there are some foods which can disturb your sleep and should be avoided at night.
Foods high in Spice or Fat
Spicy foods may be enjoyable during dinner but can cause severe discomfort later such as acidity or indigestion. Also, high fat foods are tough for the body to digest, harmful for the heart and should be avoided at night. Further, the calories from fat are tougher to burn if consumed late at night.
Coffee is great to kick start your metabolism in the morning but can severely disrupt sleep when consumed at night. Same holds true for caffeinated teas and soda. A better alternative is to stick with herbal teas and decaffeinated drinks. Further, herbal teas also help eliminate harmful toxins from the body and are rich in antioxidants. It is recommended not to consume a beverage just before sleeping as you may wake up at night to use the bathroom.