It’s likely that you’ve stayed up late at night, felt hungry, and started rummaging around the fridge to find something to snack on – eventually settling on chips or coffee. It’s not healthy but it’s convenient.
What if we told you there were snacks you could eat past your bedtime, maintain your weight and actually sleep better?
In this guide, we break down what a healthy late-night snack is and explore 15 incredibly delicious recipes for you to try!
What is a Healthy Late Night Snack?
A healthy late-night snack is a combination of protein and fiber that equals just half of what you might eat at dinner. You can have fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, or just blend all of these to make a smoothie. This doesn’t include junk food like chips, fruit juices, or soft drinks.
What Should You Eat if You Crave a Late-Night Snack?
If you’re craving a late-night snack, try one of the following items. They don’t require cooking, are easy to whip up, and are healthy – you may even burn fat while you’re sleeping! Bonus: some of them have compounds that will help you sleep soundly.
1. Cereal with Warm Milk
Love breakfast for dinner? You’re going to devour this late-night snack. Since cereal is full of fiber and milk is made of healthy proteins, the combination keeps you full for the night and is the perfect sleep aid. Don’t forget to warm the milk up before adding in the cereal.
Similar to cereal, oatmeal is full of healthy grains that will keep your appetite at bay and help you get a good night’s sleep. The best part is, when cooked with water, it averages less than 125 calories per serving! You can add sweeteners or a few seeds to amp up the flavor of the healthy snack.
Having fruit is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a balance of nutrients, curb the sweet cravings and get your fill for the night. Tart cherries are the best fruits to try if you’re struggling to get quality sleep. You could also have two kiwis or two whole cups of strawberries — all of them promote better sleep.
4. Hummus and Celery
Next on the list is a crowd-favorite: hummus and celery! The pair is packed with protein, has a delightful crunch factor, and can be customized to your dietary needs. Plus, it is low in calories so your late-night snacking will be healthy.
5. Nut Butter with Fruit
If you need something heavier than just fresh fruit, pair it with your favorite nut butter. Almond butter is recommended because it contains magnesium which improves sleep quality. Try a tablespoon or two with a sliced banana and get quality sleep within an hour or two.
6. Turkey Sandwich
Turkey is an ideal source of ‘sleep hormones’. It consists of tryptophan (an amino acid) which converts to melatonin (a sleep aid) when consumed. Pair it with fibrous bread and nutrient-packed veggies, and the delicious sandwich is bound to keep your midnight cravings satiated.
7. Classic PB&J
Want something easier than a turkey sandwich? Slather on some peanut butter with your favorite jelly on bread and enjoy the bedtime magic. Like turkey, peanut butter also has tryptophan. When it becomes melatonin, the hormone induces sleep. Carbs in the bread and proteins in the PB&J aid digestion too!
Didn’t see that coming, did you? Popcorn is full of whole grains that do not add up to a lot of calories but can keep you full for a few hours. You can eat three cups of salty snacks and still be under the maximum amount of intake.
9. Nuts or Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with heart-healthy nutrients along with sleep hormones. Not only do they keep your routine in check and your stomach full, but they will improve your lifespan! Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are a source of tryptophan while pistachios have the highest amount of melatonin levels among plant-based foods.
10. Boiled Eggs
We know eggs are natural sources of protein, but a lesser-known fact is that they are also rich in melatonin. Boil two to your liking and you’ll have an easy, no-fuss snack ready within minutes. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and your stomach won’t rumble for a few hours at least.
Freeze a cup of your favorite ‘sleepy’ fruit (or tart cherry juice) then blend it with a tablespoon of chia seeds, some Greek yogurt, and milk until you get a smooth consistency. The hearty smoothie is ready for you to enjoy through the night. Just make sure not to go overboard with the nutrients.
Filled with complex carbs, there’s no reason why toast wouldn’t suffice as a healthy late-night snack. Pair it with avocado, boiled eggs, or peanut butter, and it won’t even cross the 100-cal mark before you’re full.
13. Kale Chips
Reaching for the potato chips? Try kale chips instead. They are just as yummy and filling but cost no calories. You can sleep without feeling bloated too! Wash a bunch thoroughly, place on a sheet pan, and spray a light layer of oil. Bake in the oven or place in the air-fryer until they’re golden and crispy. They are excellent sources of sedative nutrients.
14. Sticky Rice
Are your blood sugar levels dropping? Try eating a bowl of sticky rice or boiled white rice. It’s full of tryptophan (hence, a source of melatonin) which will help you to sleep, and a high glycemic index which will keep your insulin in check. If the flavor is lackluster, add some leafy greens or salmon on the side.
15. Cheese and Crackers
The easiest of the bunch, cheese and grain crackers have lots of carbs and proteins between them. It lulls you to sleep, is yummy enough to eat with a group of friends, and keeps you full until the next meal. You could also create a cheese board and have fun while eating healthy.
How Many Calories Should You Have in a Late-Night Snack?
As a general rule of thumb, a late-night snack should be no more than 200 calories per serving. To put into perspective, dinner usually has 500 calories. So, a midnight snack would be half of that. This keeps your brain from overpowering.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best late-night snack for weight loss?
The best late-night snack for weight loss is popcorn. It’s hearty but packed with (essentially) zero calories. A three-cup serving doesn’t even equal 100 calories and you can eat 200-cal at midnight! Plus, it’s easy to put together and you can add whatever you want for a delicious snack.
What food burns fat while you sleep?
Lemons are known to burn fat while you sleep. The alkalinity of the sour fruit is strong enough to retain itself for a few hours, clean up the bad fat and promote metabolism. You could squeeze some on your avo-toast and enjoy a healthy late-night snack.
Is it okay to eat 30 minutes before bed?
No, it’s not okay to eat 30 minutes before bed. That is, most likely, going to promote indigestion and heartburn. It’ll also disturb your sleep so you spend the night tossing and turning. The ideal way is to eat at least three hours before bedtime — perfect for metabolism.
Now you know what a healthy late-night snack is, how much of it you should be having, and the easiest things to whip up when you’ve got the midnight munchies. Whether you’re eating out of boredom or to satiate your emotional health — your future self will thank you for keeping a check on the nutrients!