Remember back when we used to believe eating late at night causes weight gain? While it's not entirely true that doing so can add pounds to your frame (it has more to do with the total calories you consume in a day), it can lead to some unwanted bloating if you're choosing the wrong snacks.
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If you find yourself feeling peckish before bed, choose a winning snack combo that won't cause you to wake up puffy. These six recipes will crush your cravings without causing digestive unrest the morning after.
1. Mini Banana Almond Butter Sandwiches
- Calories: 156
There's no combination quite like banana and almond butter, and you'll be happy to learn it's a great late-night snack, too. When you're looking for a winning late-night snack combo, you'll want to include all three macronutrients, explains Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
"I like a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat," she says. "You need that combination of all three to actually feel satisfied without having a ton of food."
Get the Mini Banana Almond Butter Sandwiches recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Herb Lovers' Popcorn
- Calories: 221
Movie night is incomplete without some popcorn, but instead of filling a huge bowl with a buttery microwave version, Taub-Dix suggests an air-popped variety that's lower in sodium, as salt can cause water retention.
Watch your portion sizes, too, Taub-Dix says. Although air-popped is low in calories, eating large amounts of any food before bed is often a cause of next-day bloating. Pre-measure your popcorn and stick to one serving before you pour it all into a bowl.
Get the Herb Lovers' Popcorn recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Fuji Apple With Dark Chocolate Drizzle and Almonds
- Calories: 305
If you like to finish your night with something sweet, fruit is a great way to go — and it won't cause bloat the next morning. Lack of hydration is a big cause of water retention and bloat, which is why Taub-Dix loves to incorporate fruit into her after-dinner snack.
Get the Fuji Apple With Dark Chocolate Drizzle and Almonds recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Roasted California Grape Guacamole
- Calories: 91
Whereas most guacamole is made with avocado with some spices and lime, this recipe will take your favorite dip to the next level, combining grapes, jalapeno pepper and pistachios.
Instead of tortilla chips, which can be high in salt, eat your guac with some cucumber or carrots. While you certainly don't want to avoid high-fiber veggies, like broccoli or cauliflower, they can be hard to digest right before bed, especially if you're sensitive to fiber, Taub-Dix says.
Get the Roasted California Grape Guacamole recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Goji Berry, Almond and Cacao Trail Mix
- Calories: 172
DIY trail mix takes practically no prep time and makes a crunchy, satisfying snack that won't cause unwanted bloating. This recipe combines a trio of non-bloating foods — cacao nibs, goji berries and almonds — for a subtly sweet touch.
Nuts are high in calories and can be easy to overeat, so make sure you measure your portions carefully.
Get the Goji Berry, Almond and Cacao Trail Mix recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
- Calories: 184
If you're craving a candy bar after dinner, dark chocolate-covered strawberries are a great compromise. Oftentimes, "healthy" candy bars pack artificial sugars or sugar alcohols, which can lead to bloating and gas. Not only are chocolate strawberries lower in calories and higher in nutrients but they might also help you avoid bloating, Taub-Dix says.
"Sugar alcohols can cause a lot of gas and bloat, like xylitol or sorbitol," she says. "That, in itself, can be a problem."
Get the Chocolate-Covered Strawberries recipe and nutrition here.