It doesn’t take a nutritionist to recognize that your midnight forays to the fridge are a bad idea. There’s a school of thought that believes that all food consumed after 8 p.m. promotes weight gain. We’ll have you know that that, is in fact, baseless. There’s no science that proves that claim. As long as you stay within your daily caloric intake limit, you’ll be fine.
Though it may not affect the number on your bathroom scale per se, eating right before bed can still negatively impact your sleep and make you feel bloated. But fret not our hungry, night dwelling friend. Healthversed has got you covered. Today, we’re going to provide you with a few guilt-free nighttime munchies that won’t give you nightmares. Let’s go!
Not only is the extra salt bad for you, it’s completely unnecessary. People love roasted almonds for a number of reasons. They’re delicious, filling, healthy, and delicious. Yeah, we know we said delicious twice. Almonds are that good.
Pro tip: heat your oven to 350⁰, mix raw, unsalted almonds with a few tablespoons of smoked paprika, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them for 10 to 15 minutes. Trust us, smoked paprika is better than salt. They’re also very easy to overeat, so it’s important to always be mindful of your portion sizes.
Don’t get your hopes up. We aren’t talking about popcorn of the drenched-in-butter variety. This is a health and wellness website after all! No, we’re talking the air-popped-with-a-little-bit-of-seasoning variety! Pop a cup or two of popcorn and lightly dust with paprika (we prefer smoked paprika) or cinnamon. But be careful, it’s easy to mow down 10 cups of popcorn in a sitting and end up feeling bloated. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes and you should be fine.
Don’t let that bunch of bananas go bad! Snack on them before bed. You can eat them on their own, or blend them with some low-fat milk and a few other common household staples. Not only is it delicious, but the Vitamin-D/Calcium combo has been shown to promote falling asleep. Not to mention bananas are great for the digestive system.
Unless it’s a rich, high-sodium can of cream of mushroom soup, you have no reason to feel guilty. Soup can be very easy to digest. And very simple to prepare, especially the microwavable variety. Even more, consuming warm liquids is soothing, and acts as a great pre-bed ritual. Be smart about it though. Read your labels and steer clear of the instant ramen or the full-salt chicken noodle. Your local grocer should have plenty of healthy options.
High Fiber Cereal with Milk
It’s been said that small meals rich in whole-grain carbohydrates can help increase tryptophan levels and promote sleep. As such, a small bowl of high fiber cereal with a little bit of milk is a great way to take the edge off of your rumbling tummy and to help you sleep better. Not to mention, a healthy dose of fiber will encourage your digestion while you sleep. That’s why Healthversed gives your pre-bed, high-fiber cereal a pre-bed, high-fiber thumbs up!
A Hardboiled Egg
Low in fat, high in protein, and easy to make in a pinch. Hardboiled eggs are a dietary staple for anyone looking for a low-maintenance healthy snack. Some say that protein rich food before bed helps sleep, others claim that, because protein is harder to digest than soup or carbohydrates, that it actually hinders sleep. But, we think we can all agree that a hard-boiled egg, at 155 calories per serving, is much better than a big bowl of Cap’n Crunch.
A Glass of Low Fat Milk
It may not be a plate of ribs or a row of girl scout cookies, but pouring yourself a glass of low fat milk before bed is a great way to take the edge off your hunger before you hit the hay. It’s low in fat, high in protein, contains very little calories, and is packed full of healthy nutrients.
If you can stomach the goopy consistency (some can’t), then a small bowl of cottage cheese is the perfect pre-bed snack. Cottage cheese is great because it is packed full of a slow-releasing casein protein, which should provide your body with a healthy dose of amino acids while you sleep. What’s more, you can add flavor with fruit, spices, or even a tablespoon of natural peanut butter.
We’re adding another complex carbohydrate to our list of sleep-inducing foodstuffs. Oatmeal is a great pre-bed snack because it’s filling, low in fat and sugar, and rich in vitamin B6 and melatonin. It’s slow-releasing carbohydrates won’t disrupt your sleep either. A great, no-fuss pre-bed option to curb that rumbling stomach.
This may seem counterproductive given that cherries are relatively high in sugar. But this isn’t about sugar, it’s about melatonin. Yes, cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin. For the unaware, melatonin is the chemical that helps regulate your body’s internal clock. If you’re concerned about the sugar, try dried cherries or tart cherry juice instead. Research suggests consuming cherries roughly an hour before you head to bed to maximize the desired affects.
Feel free to steer clear of this one if you’re trying to stay carb-less. But, whole grain toast before bed can actually help you fall asleep. The secret to toast’s sleep-inducing ability? It’s all about the crash. We all know that the blood sugar spike caused by carb consumption doesn’t last. You’re on top of the world one moment and droopy eyed the next. A carbohydrate crash is a terrible thing if you’re struggling to grind out the last few hours of your work day. But, if you’re headed off to bed, then mission accomplished. Please, no processed white bread. A single slice of whole grain will do just fine.
Much like cottage cheese and low-fat milk, Greek yogurt is a great calcium filled late night snack to take the edge off. The slow releasing protein packed in Greek yogurt will keep your metabolism active while you sleep. An important note: not all Greek yogurt is created equal. Some of them are PACKED with added sugar and artificial sweeteners. Just because the label says Greek yogurt, doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. Be sure to read the label and find a brand that checks off all of the Healthversed healthy boxes.
Food to Avoid
Spoiler alert, this list is much larger than the guilt-free snack list. Frankly, this list is endless. But, let’s start with anything that contains caffeine, for obvious reasons. Coffee, soft drinks, chocolate … they may taste great but the caffeine and the sugar will render a full, restful slumber near impossible. Same goes for packaged snack foods (re: sugar).
You’ll also want to avoid anything alcoholic (alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle) and heavy meals. That’s right, Sunday roast with all of the fixings can disrupt sleep and even promote acid reflux. But, hopefully, there are already enough items on this list to keep your tummy from rumbling and waking your SO. Sweet dreams!