Have you ever wondered if it’s ok to eat healthy late-night snacks? Some people think that eating anything in the evening will derail their weight loss efforts. But it’s common to feel tempted by snacks after dinner, so what’s the best thing to do? In this article, we explain what the science says along with some deliciously healthy late night snack ideas.
- Can you eat at night if you want to lose weight?
- Simple rules for healthy late-night snacking
- What are healthy late-night snacks you can eat?
Can you eat at night if you want to lose weight?
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you may have heard that nighttime eating is bad. The premise is that the calories don’t have time to be burned off and therefore turn to body fat. Unfortunately, there is some scientific evidence to support this. Studies have shown that eating before bed causes calories to be stored as fat (instead of glycogen which is used for energy).
However, it’s not all bad news. Research also shows that consuming a small snack doesn’t contribute to weight gain. Scientific studies have found that eating a meal that contains less than 150 calories will not derail your weight loss efforts. So, if you keep your late-night snacks small and nutritious, then there’s no issue.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Our willpower is at its lowest by the evening. The more we use it to resist cravings throughout the day, the more depleted it becomes . So, by the time it gets dark, we’re more likely to give in to temptation and eat unhealthy foods. But by following some simple rules and knowing a few recipe hacks, you can enjoy healthy late night snacks that are satisfying too.
Simple rules for healthy late night snacking
If you want to snack at night without gaining weight, then there are some simple rules to follow. First, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. Many of us crave food when we’re actually just bored or feeling stressed. This type of emotional eating needs to be dealt with in a different way. Having a healthy snack may address the symptom but it won’t get to the root cause.
Once you’ve established that you really are hungry, make smart snacking choices that meet these criteria…
- Contains 150 calories or less
- Is rich in protein since excess is excreted rather than stored
- Or low in fat and processed carbs which are converted to sugar (fruit and veg is totally fine)
- Contains compounds which will support your sleep like melatonin, serotonin, tryptophan, calcium, and magnesium
- Includes metabolism boosting ingredients like chili and black pepper (or consume alongside a supplement like PhenQ
Eating a filling lunch or dinner will help to avoid craving snacks later in the evening. It can also be helpful to make your healthy late-night snacks from scratch. This is usually more satisfying and healthier than packaged food, plus it distracts you from hunger while you’re making it.
What are healthy late night snacks you can eat?
By finding snacks that meet these criteria, you’ll be able to satisfy your hunger without sabotaging your weight loss goals. The key is to be prepared with some go-to recipes or ready-made options that you can grab in a bind. Let’s look at some of the best healthy late night snacks for weight loss…
Healthy Alternatives to Pizza
Pizza is many people’s downfall. It’s filling, cheese-covered, and comes with any topping you can think of. However, it’s also packed with calories that go way beyond the 150 limit, so here are some healthier alternatives…
Quinoa Pizza Bowl
Quinoa is rich in protein so won’t convert to as much sugar as rice or pasta will. Cook a small portion in boiling water with a stock cube for added flavor. Then mix in your favorite pizza toppings like black olives, sliced peppers, chicken breast strips, or small cubes of cheese. This can satisfy your pizza cravings without the large volume of calories.
Mini Pepper Pizzas
These mini pepper pizzas from Delish are tasty and perfectly proportioned. Instead of using a dough base, all of the toppings are loaded onto half a bell pepper. This reduces the carbohydrate content and increases the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And because it’s snack-sized, you won’t overindulge on the calorie count.
Healthy Alternatives to French Fries
French fries are a go-to snack for many of us. Unfortunately, they’re also high in calories, salt, and saturated fat. Swapping them for a healthier alternative is an easy and effective way to feel satisfied at night.
Baked Carrot Fries
These baked carrot fries are a much healthier alternative to French fries. Because they’re baked in an oven, they don’t contain as much oil and therefore have a lower fat content. Carrots also have more nutrients than potatoes so make for a better snack all around. You’ll enjoy fewer calories without sacrificing taste or flavor.
Crudités & Dip
Crudités are the ultimate healthy snacks to eat at night. Batons of raw carrot, cucumber, and celery are packed with vitamins and minerals, yet seriously low in calories. It turns out that you can eat a fair few of these bad boys before hitting the 150 mark. Plus, the crunchy texture will often satisfy our snack craving. Just don’t go too crazy on the dip as some are full of unhealthy fats.
Healthy Alternatives to Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are often a favorite after a night out. They’re full of protein which is a good thing but it’s the way they’re prepared that does the damage. Usually deep-fried in oil and covered in a sickly-sweet sauce, this is what’ll cause the weight gain. Here are some healthier alternatives to choose from…
Roasted chicken is a far healthier option when it comes to late night snacking. It contains around 150 calories per 100g which is a little less than a drumstick. Because it’s mainly protein, the calories won’t convert to fat or be stored as energy. So, you can enjoy a meaty snack guilt-free
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Another tasty alternative is Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. If you’ve got a craving for Buffalo sauce, then enjoying it with this nutritious veggie is a great option. It’ll satisfy your hunger for spice while also providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber too.
Healthy Alternatives to Cereal and Milk
If we’re feeling a little hungry at night, many of us will reach for cereal. It’s filling but doesn’t feel like a full meal so we can enjoy it without worry, right? Except that cereal is mainly carbohydrate and often full of sugar. This makes it a no-no in terms of healthy late-night snacks. Here are some better alternatives to go with…
Berries & Yogurt
he combination of juicy berries and creamy yogurt will more than satisfy any cereal cravings. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all packed with antioxidants that are good for our health. Plus, they’re low in sugar so won’t lead to weight gain. Choose a yogurt that’s low in fat and sugar – Greek yogurt is ideal as it also contains protein!
For another healthy alternative to cereal, try blending up an oatmeal smoothie. Oats don’t contain the same amount of sugar and have plenty of fiber too. Combining them with some low-fat yogurt and berries is a low-calorie alternative that won’t derail your weight loss efforts.
Healthy Alternatives to Ice Cream
When you think of late-night healthy snacks, ice cream probably doesn’t come to mind. It usually contains high amounts of fat and sugar, both of which contribute to weight gain. Yet there are times when we need something sweet so here are some alternatives to consider…
Frozen Banana Whip
Did you know that blended up frozen banana tastes exactly like ice cream? It has the same consistency and sweet flavor, yet a fraction of the calories.This recipe walks you through exactly how to make it along with some flavor variations. If you’re after healthy movie night snacks, then this is ideal.
Frozen Yogurt & Honey
Frozen yogurt and honey is a super-quick alternative to ice cream. Simply put a spoonful of yogurt into a freezer-proof container and drizzle some honey over the top. Then pop it into the freezer for around 10 minutes and let it harden up a little. It’ll taste just like soft-serve ice cream yet without all the sugar and fat. You can even sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top for extra flavor.
By choosing healthy late night snacks, you can satisfy your cravings without sacrificing weight loss goals. Small snacks that contain less than 150 calories won’t derail your healthy eating efforts as long as you follow some simple rules. Opting for foods that are high in protein or low in fat and sugar will help you feel fuller without the calories. Being armed with nutritious alternatives to your favorite snacks will help you avoid temptation.