What food is best to eat late at night?
Snacks that are nutrient-dense and full of fiber, healthy fats, and protein are ideal in the evening. Keeping them under 200 calories is optimal. Foods that are sugary, spicy, or greasy will only keep you awake, as you’ll be overstimulated or struggling with a stomach ache.
How can I satisfy my midnight cravings?
If a glass of water or cup of herbal tea is ineffective, keep healthy options readily available so you can grab a savory bite without feeling bogged down. Make sure to portion out the food you’re munching on to avoid overeating and take your time with it, especially if you’re in front of the television or with your tablet or laptop, so you can enjoy your snacks without overdoing it.
Healthy late-night snack options
Here’s a list of healthy late-night snacks with weight loss in mind. You may want to keep these handy for when your late-night cravings hit.
1. Air-popped popcorn
With many recipes available, you could make your own in 15 minutes or less, but that bag of chips is always going to be quicker and less work. A bag of ready-made popcorn, however, is a perfect alternative. Keep your cupboards stocked with this no-cook late-night snack, and you’ll always have a healthy go-to munchable with a wide variety of flavors. They’re available in the snack aisle of your grocery store or easy to order online.
Popcorn is a whole-grain snack that’s high in fiber, and each serving is only 120-150 calories depending on the ingredients.
2. Roasted chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are a healthy midnight snack that you’re not likely to find dull, thanks to their versatility. They’re a solid source of protein and fiber, with only 135 calories per half-cup serving. Here’s a recipe that takes only five minutes to prepare.
- 15 ounce can of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain and rinse your chickpeas.
- Dry them on a clean kitchen towel and pick off any loose skins.
- Spread them on the baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the salt or other desired seasonings on top.
- Place them in the oven for 45 minutes and allow them to cool for an hour.
Recipe adapted from Simply Low Cal
3. Deviled eggs
Your partner may not appreciate you eating these right before bed, but you’ll definitely feel full after snacking on one or two of these low-carb late-night snacks. One egg contains 63 approximately calories, depending on the egg’s size, but each one packs plenty of vitamins and protein.
This recipe takes 10 minutes to prepare, not including the time to boil and cool your eggs.
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon sale
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Paprika, garnish
- Dried dill, garnish
- Peel your boiled eggs and slice them in half, lengthwise.
- Gently remove the yolks and put them in a medium bowl. Set the whites aside on a plate.
- Mash the yolks with a fork and add the rest of the non-garnish ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Using a spoon or piping bag, fill each egg white every with the yolk mixture.
- Sprinkle with paprika and dill.
Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies
4. Peanut butter and jam sandwich
Bread is an excellent source of fiber, especially if you go with whole wheat. Mixed with peanut butter and jam, you have a sandwich full of protein and nutrients. Whole-wheat bread contains approximately 247 calories per slice, jam 56 per tablespoon, and peanut butter 94, which is a lot together. But you’ll undoubtedly stop yourself from satisfying other cravings when choosing this snack. Additionally, it’s a quiet midnight snack you can make without waking everyone in the house.
5. Hummus and veggies
Hummus contains chickpeas which are a source of protein and fiber. This 10-minute recipe is only 100 calories per serving, not including the veggies you’ll want to dip in it.
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of tahini
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to the bowl of a food processor, processing for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the olive oil and process for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients minus the salt and pepper.
- Process until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from Pear Tree Kitchen
Here are some unhealthy but ultimately tasty midnight snacks ideas you may want to indulge in occasionally.
6. One-minute microwave brownie in a mug
Sugary snacks in the evening are not ideal for getting shut-eye, but sometimes you need a pick-me-up. This sweet midnight snack offers some protein and weighs in at 707 calories per serving.
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons of milk
- 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
- A pinch of salt
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized microwave-safe mug.
- Add the wet ingredients and stir.
- Place it in the microwave for one minute and 40 seconds until it rises and the batter no longer looks wet.
Recipe adapted from Bigger Bolder Baking
7. Nacho cheese sauce
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium. While this 10-minute nacho cheese recipe contains 220 calories for a quarter cup, that’s not inclusive of your chips and a second helping that’s more than likely to be inevitable.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add flour and cayenne, cooking for one minute.
- Slowly add and stir in the milk.
- Once the milk starts to bubble, slowly add and mix the cheese into the saucepan until it’s melted.
Recipe adapted from The Stay at Home Chef
8. Classic grilled cheese
Bread is an excellent source of fiber and helps you feel full. This 10-minute recipe for the classic grilled cheese sandwich is sure to hit the spot. While it contains 457 calories, it’s quick, easy, and satisfying.
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 slices of bread
- Butter both outer sides of the bread.
- Place one slice in a pan over medium heat.
- Top it with the shredded cheese.
- Place the other slice of bread on top and carefully flip once the first slice is golden.
- Once both sides reach a toasty golden brown, it’s ready to eat.
Recipe adapted from Simply Homecooked
9. Rice Krispie Squares
Rice Krispies are made from natural rice grains and offer some nutrients to their consumers. They also create tasty, albeit sugary, snacks when paired with marshmallows. This recipe makes 24 servings with 75 calories per serving.
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- 6 cups of Rice Krispies
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Add marshmallows and stir steadily until melted.
- Remove from heat and mix in the cereal and vanilla, stopping once having coated the entire mixture equally.
- Press into a greased 13-by-9 inch baking pan using a buttered spatula.
- Allow them to cool completely before cutting.
Recipe adapted from the Kellogg's Rice Krispie box.
10. Classic potato chips
Is game day really game day without your go-to bag of chips? Why not grab some from the store or order some for delivery and enjoy a tasty snack occasionally? A small serving of the average potato chip is actually only 150-200 per serving. Just be sure to pay attention to your specific bag and portion sizes.
The bottom line
Hefty snacks right before bed could prevent you from getting proper sleep, but if you’re unable to resist, remember to keep your portions small and your foods light. Most importantly, no matter the time of day, you want to pick nutrient-dense snacks that contain plenty of fiber, healthy fats, and protein to help kick unhealthy cravings. But a portion of potato chips or a less nutritious snack can still be a nice treat every so often if you’re mindful of your calorie intake.