When you're on a diet, it's important to reach for healthful fare if you want to eat a midnight snack. Many dieters run into trouble with nighttime snacking because the food they consume puts them over their calorie goals for the day. If you must snack before you go to bed, make sure to stick with a nutritious option that will fill you up with relatively few calories.
Fruit With Nut Butter
Fruit such as an apple or a banana topped with a tablespoon of all-natural nut butter is an option, particularly if you're feeling very hungry. The protein in the nut butter will fill you up and keep your stomach from grumbling while you sleep. Fruit can also satisfy a craving for sweets. Make sure to eat only nut butter that has no added sugar, as sugary, hydrogenated brands contain more calories and unhealthy fats than natural versions.
Cheese and Crackers
Whole-grain crackers topped with low-fat cheese can be a satisfying treat for those who crave salty items late at night. The protein and carbohydrates in cheese and crackers are filling without being bulky. As long as you monitor your serving size, this can also be a relatively low-calorie snack. Eat no more than one ounce of cheese and two to four crackers.
Vegetables With Hummus
Fresh vegetable sticks with hummus make a filling snack that also packs a nutrient-laden punch. Try carrots, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, squash and cucumber to get a variety. Hummus contains healthy garbanzo beans and tahini, and is generally OK for even low-carb diets. Make sure to choose a hummus that isn't laden with fat. Some varieties contain a lot of tahini and olive oil that can elevate the calorie and fat content. Good choices have about 50 calories in a two tablespoon serving.
Whole-grain cold cereal with skim milk or oatmeal are filling midnight snack options. Choose a cereal that has very little sugar and fewer than 150 calories per serving and make sure to measure it out into your bowl. Many people think they're being sensible by snacking on cereal, but end up eating two or three servings instead of just one because they simply filled the bowl.
Low-fat or fat-free yogurt is a snack that's easy for your stomach to digest while you sleep. Select a plain, no-sugar-added variety and stir in a small amount of honey or calorie-free sweetener, along with some sliced fruit if desired.
- US News Health: 10 Healthful Snacks That Won't Break the Calorie Bank
- "Betty Crocker's Healthy Home Cooking"; Betty Crocker; 2003
- South Beach Diet: Midnight Snacks