I try not to eat much at night — Rob and I usually have a light dinner with some fresh fruit, soup, a few tacos or something similar. Being honest, though, there are definitely times when I feel like a late-night snack. If friends come over to watch a movie, I want something to eat! Plus, when I’m stressing about work, it tends to give me the munchies. The next time you're hungry at night, try these foods to drift off to dream land with a smile on your face.
We’re going for healthy protein here, not salty, greasy junk food. That’s why you want unsalted nuts. Beyond that, you can practically choose any seeds or nuts you want; almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts and peanuts are all awesome sources of filling protein that fit in the palm of your hand. Almonds have melatonin, a big help for avoiding insomnia.
Some kinds of dried fruit can be on the sweet side, but that’s not necessarily a problem as long as you’re only grabbing a handful. A little bump in your glycemic index can make you sleepy. Of course, if you’re trying to maximize your metabolism at night, go with tart fruit such as goji berries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, mulberries and other berries.
If you get the munchies a lot at night, it’s smart to stock up on several different cheeses. My favorites are Monterrey jack, cheddar, ricotta, Swiss, provolone and mozzarella. These cheeses are high in protein, so they calm tummy rumblings right away.
Also, cheese can help you fall asleep faster. Did you know that cheddar has 60% more sleep-inducing tryptophan than turkey?
Nut Granola With Yogurt
If you’ve never eaten granola at night with yogurt, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Greek yogurt is filling and the crunch of toasted almonds and oatmeal are irresistiible. As an added benefit, eating yogurt at night can make you less hungry the next day.
Veggies and Homemade Dip
You can make a delicious dip ahead of time for when friends come over or just because. Personally, I find the crunch of baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, yellow peppers, green beans or cucumbers relaxing when I’m worrying about something.
- Tzatziki: Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, dill, and chopped cucumbers taste just as amazing with fresh veggies as on a grilled chicken shawarma.
- Herb and garlic hummus: Totally comfort food in a healthy package, the protein in hummus will have you smiling happily and sleeping like a baby in no time. You need chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh parsley.
- Greek yogurt dip with onions: Tangy, sweet and smoky, this veggie dip mixes caramelized onions, Greek yogurt, fresh basil, olive oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Whole-Grain Toast and a Fresh Topping
This one just has so many possibilities. Making an open-faced sandwich with a slice of toast only takes two seconds, and you can adorn it with anything filling that tickles your fancy:
- One egg
- Avocado slices
- Chunky peanut butter / peanut paste
- Strawberry or kiwi slices
- Smoked salmon
- Tomato slice, mozzarella and olive oil
- Turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato
Obviously, some of these options are more work than others. But they really hit the spot. The key to a perfect late-night snack is opting for small portions of satisfying proteins or foods with fiber.