Late night cravings are the worst! They’re seldom curable without gorging yourself on sweet or salty food. By the time the craving surpasses, you’re sitting around with a stuffed belly and a guilty conscience. Trust us when we say that one too many diets have been left by the wayside due to late night, calorie-packed cravings.
Reasons for Food Cravings
Food cravings are often a sign of a deficiency in the body. You may not be getting enough protein in your diet. You may have low salt levels or suffer from hypoglycemia, aka low blood sugar.
If you have high metabolism, you’ll need to eat more frequently than your friends and family members. You may also experience food cravings due to dehydration or boredom. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to have a list of safe foods to choose from to suffice your hunger and give you the nutrition you need to sleep soundly at night.
Delicious Options for You to Nosh On
Rather than reach for something that taxes your digestive system, aim to eat the following snacks instead. They’ll fill you up without weighing you down and satisfy your late night cravings without piling on the calories. Do both your waistline and conscience a favor by selecting vitamin-packed, nutrient-rich foods as evening snacks for yourself.
With this handy list, it’s easier to select the right option to tickle your taste buds. Here are ten of the best options for you to choose from:
It’s better to air pop than microwave. Skip the butter and opt for seasonings instead. Create a Mexican chocolate inspired snack by adding cinnamon, cayenne, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Or, aim for a savory topping including oregano, basil, fennel, red pepper flakes, marjoram, and olive oil. If you prefer salt, sprinkle a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast on your popcorn. It’s a vegan alternative to cheese and really delicious.
Packed with flavonoids and theobromine, cacao is wonderful. Stick to dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cacao or cocoa and limit yourself to seven ounces of the sweet stuff which equates to four dark chocolate candy bars a week. High in fat and sugar, eating more than the recommended amount leads to irregular blood sugar and weight gain.
Fresh or Dried Fruit
It can’t get better than a piece of fresh, organic fruit. If you can’t eat it in its natural form, however, opt for dried fruit. Choose raisins, figs, cherries, apples, pineapple or apricots. Chewy and sweet, it helps you curb your urge to devour a whole plate of cookies or brownies.
Create a small plate consisting of bell pepper strips, radishes, cucumbers, celery and carrot sticks with ¼ cup of hummus or guacamole. Dip into something good. Both are healthier alternatives to ranch dressing.
Mix dark chocolate chips with cherries, raisins, almonds, popcorn, and sea salt. Enjoy a ¾ cup serving for under 200 calories. Benefit from a boost of protein and fiber. Best of all, you’ll satisfy both salty and sweet cravings with one healthy snack.
Handful of Nuts
Enjoy from 10 to 15 nuts at a time depending on fat content. Enjoy the crunch and meaty texture of the nuts you eat. Protect artery walls from damage, build strong bones and teeth, and reduce your risk of heart attack with almonds. Pecans and hazelnuts are also good options for late night snacks.
Corn Tortilla with Black Beans
Black beans improve digestive health. They deliver a healthy amount of protein and fiber which helps stave junk food cravings. A corn tortilla with black beans helps the stomach feel full without overeating.
Loaded with healthy fat, avocados are creamy and nutritious. Increase their flavor by squeezing lemon juice on the fruit and liberally sprinkling sea salt and dried basil over the top of both halves. Rich in Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E, it’s among the most nutrient-rich snack on the list. You’ll also receive trace amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1, B2, and B3.
High in lycopene, an antioxidant, tomatoes provide a myriad of health benefits including lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health. Carotenoids are antioxidants found in bright colored fruits and vegetables. Add carrots and peppers to your gazpacho for a soup that packs a punch nutritionally.
Greek Yogurt and Fresh Blackberries, Strawberries, and Blueberries
This protein-packed, creamy treat tastes great with fresh fruit toppings. Keep sliced fruit in the fridge to add to plain Greek yogurt. A small handful goes a long way in boosting the flavor profile of this treat. A spoon of honey or agave helps sweetened the yogurt to make it more palatable.
Aim for a snack with 100 to 200 calories. It’s the best way to keep blood sugar stable and prevent a late night bingefest on fattening foods. This is especially important for hypoglycemics and dieters because a drop in blood sugar causes cravings to intensify.
Additional Tips for Getting Over Food Cravings
You may mistake thirst for hunger. Before eating late at night, try drinking a glass of water to see if it improves how you feel. If you still feel hungry, grab one of the aforementioned snacks to eat slowly.
Give your brain the opportunity to tell your body that it’s full. Savor each bite of your late night snack so you don’t overindulge. The digestive system works slowly at night. If you tax it by eating too much, you may experience irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion or heartburn as well as insomnia.
Without the proper amount of sleep, you have difficulty staying alert, concentrating, and solving problems. You’re also at greater risk for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and Diabetes. The late night snacks you choose should help you feel good not cause a myriad of health problems so be wise when stocking your shopping cart and refrigerator in the next couple of weeks.
Image Credits: VeggieFrog, Lee McCoy, Vegan Feast Catering, Cipher, Andy Melton, Adam Wyles, Sandi, Jaanus Silla, CycloneBill, Celeste Lindell