Snacking before bed is the ultimate diet don’t, but maybe we shouldn’t be so strict about it. In some instances, it might help you sleep better. And according to Time, a post-dinner snack can help stabilize your blood sugar levels overnight, meaning you’ll feel less sluggish when you wake. If you eat dinner early in the evening or are very active throughout the day, those late-night cravings might mean your body really needs nourishment. Just make sure you’re choosing healthy options and eating proper portions.
Check out these options for some inspiration. They’re among the best midnight snacks you can eat.
Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat and make a great snack right before bed. A 1-ounce serving is 160 calories and delivers 6 grams of protein that will help keep you full for the rest of the night. Cooking Light also says almonds contain tryptophan, a sleep-supporting amino acid that can help you doze off. They also contain magnesium, which helps relax your muscles. Have a serving before you call it a night for a guilt-free snack that offers wholesome nutrients.
2. Homemade vegetable chips
According to Livestrong.com, eating foods high in fat and sodium right before bed not only causes bloating, but it can also hinder your sleep efforts and cause discomfort throughout the night. Part of the problem is the temptation to eat too much since there’s little fiber or protein to fill you up. By the time you feel satisfied, it’s likely you’ll have eaten more than one serving.
Instead of reaching for a bag of those processed snacks, PopSugar recommends making a batch of low-calorie carrot chips. You only need carrots, a little bit of oil, and salt. The best part is, since they’re homemade, you can can customize the amount of salt and even add other seasonings.
Livestrong.com notes popcorn is a great low-calorie snack that’s made from fiber-rich whole grains. As long as you’re not dousing the kernels with butter, popcorn is a very healthy option to snack on before bed. Stick to air-popped popcorn when you can. A plain, 3-cup serving only has around 90 calories and 1 gram of fat. To add flavor without fat, try sprinkling any of your favorite herbs or spices on top.
4. String cheese
Women’s Health says string cheese makes a filling snack option right before bed because of its fat and protein content. Similar to almonds, cheese also contains tryptophan to increase drowsiness to help you fall asleep. If you’re worried the dairy alone won’t satisfy you, grab some raw veggies as well.
5. Yogurt with berries
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, yogurt with fruit is a filling option that’s filled with protein and nutrients to help you get a good night’s rest. You’ll want to aim for plain yogurt, not one that’s fruit flavored or packed with other added sugars. Life by Daily Burn says plain yogurt contains potassium, which may be helpful for managing insomnia. To add naturally sweet flavor, top it with fruit like raspberries or strawberries. Both contain vitamin B6, which increases melatonin production in the body to help you sleep better.
6. Banana with nut butter
This sweet combo contains lots of nutritional benefits and won’t hurt your waistline. Authority Nutrition mentions the fruit boasts vitamins C and B6, plus magnesium and iron. A medium banana usually contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. Combine this with a tablespoon of nut butter for protein and fat, and you’ll have a filling snack that leaves you satisfied right before bed. Self says bananas also contain melatonin, which can help you sleep better.
7. Carrots and guacamole
Since avocados have a high amount of unsaturated fat, Glamour says they make a healthy and satisfying option for a late-night snack. All you have to do is mix half an avocado with salsa for a guacamole dip to pair with carrots. Carrots offer lots of antioxidants and filling fiber that, when combined with the avocado, deliver the perfect mix of nutrients for a satisfying snack. You can even try other veggies. Jicama, snap peas, radishes, and broccoli florets are all great choices.
8. Dark chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, you’re in luck. But first, please don’t think your run-of-the-mill candy bar will cut it. A candy bar is bound to have tons and tons of sugar, plus plenty of other additives — not ideal for bedtime. Instead, grab dark chocolate, specifically one with at least 70% cacao content. According to Livestrong.com, dark chocolate will fight inflammation, calm your mood, and can help lower your blood pressure.
Pistachios are definitely worth snacking on, according to Livestrong.com. Surprisingly, the work it takes to eat a pistachio is one of the many benefits of eating them before bed! Since it’s a process that takes some time, we’re bound to eat less than if they were already shelled. They’re also one of the leanest nuts, so you’re less likely to go overboard. To top it all off, the nuts are packed with fiber, vitamin B6, and biotin.
We’re ending this list on a sweet note with blueberries, a wonderful late-night snack. According to Men’s Fitness, frozen or fresh out of the refrigerator blueberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Blueberries are also extremely easy to mix with nuts or blend with a little milk and chia seeds for a blueberry smoothie. Whatever you end up making with them, blueberries are ready to send you off to sleep in a healthy way.
Additional reporting by Jordan Porter-Woodruff.