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Healthy Eating

Here you will find tons of information about healthy eating and incorporating the principles of healthy nutrition into your daily life. Built around Dr. Cederquist’s nutritional foundation for healthy weight loss, these articles place a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

Can't Sleep? Try These 10 Healthy Midnight Snack Ideas to Cure Your Hunger

Believe it or not, it's acceptable to feed into those late night hunger feelings. Do not be discouraged to reach for a midnight snack if you can't sleep!

Can't Sleep? Try These 10 Healthy Midnight Snack Ideas to Cure Your Hunger

Is hunger for a fourth meal waking you up each night? Individuals often believe giving into that pesky growling stomach will pack on the pounds. Although metabolism does slow down while resting, it does not completely stop.

Furthermore, avoiding hunger can keep you awake, leaving the body sluggish and tired the following day. Do not feel discouraged to reach for these midnight snack ideas if struggling to fall asleep!

Best Midnight Snacks to Cure Hunger

1. Warm Cup of Oatmeal

Let the warmth of oatmeal soothe you back to sleep. Since the complex carb is loaded with fiber, hunger will remain at bay until breakfast time. 

Naturally elevate the nutritional profile and flavor by drizzling favorite nut butter, berries, cinnamon, and other favorite oatmeal toppings.

Also add a splash of milk for added benefit, as the calcium-booster is also a natural source of tryptophan. Pairing tryptophan with carbohydrate increases the bioavailability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an integral role in sleep regulation.

2. Glass of Banana Milk

This midnight snacking idea may sound bananas, but hear us out! Milk is an excellent source of sleep-inducing tryptophan, while the carb content from the banana can help unveil greater serotonin levels much like that warm cup of oatmeal. 

And not to mention, bananas are a rich source of potassium and magnesium, two minerals that act as muscle relaxants.

Preparing banana milk is simple: Combine a ripe banana and a cup of milk in a blender until smooth. Make a golden banana milk by adding turmeric, a spice shown to induce a calming effect, and black pepper, which assists in the absorption of turmeric. Also enhance flavor with vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and ginger as desired.

3. Whey Protein Shake

Slugging down whey protein is much more than a post-workout rhythm for muscle growth, as whey shows to reduce appetite more than tuna, eggs, and tuna.

Besides, drinking a whey protein shake is fast and expedient, which leverages more time to fall into dreamland.

4. Tuna Salad

While whey protein suppressed appetite more than the other protein sources, tuna still greatly induced satiety. Tuna is also a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, in which high levels of the fat are significantly associated with better sleep according to research from the University of Oxford.

Select tuna soaked in water, rather than oil, to reduce unwanted fat calories. Also look for the blue Certified Sustainable food label, BPA-free indication on packaging labels, and "light" or "white" tuna products that are naturally low in mercury.

Also make tuna salad ahead of time for a quick midnight snack. mix a 5-ounce can of wild albacore tuna with a small avocado, diced carrots and celery, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Complement with a fiber-filled carb source for a light meal or snack, including whole grain crackers, sliced bell peppers and cucumbers, or carrot sticks.

5. Scrambled Eggs and Whole Grain English Muffin

Eggs are low in calorie, packed with protein, and provide tryptophan. Top scrambled eggs onto half of a whole grain English muffin for a greater release of serotonin and calming effect.

For added convenience, keep hardboiled eggs prepared in bulk and stocked. You can also pair with a slice of wheat toast or sprouted crackers.

6. Boiled Potatoes

Whereas potatoes are often scrutinized for their high-carb content, they may just be the most satiety-inducing food. 

In a study that measured the satiating index of 38 foods, including fruits and protein-rich foods, people ranked boiled potatoes highest, reporting that they felt fuller and ate less two hours after consuming them.

What's more, potatoes are chockfull of fiber and other nutrients that bare steady energy and lasting fullness. They are also packed with potassium!

Add flavor to potatoes with favorite spices and seasonings, along with a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle of part-skim cheese for greater satiety. 

7. Leftover Soup

Heat up a cup of that leftover batch of soup for a quick, healthy midnight snack. Not only is the warmth soothing, but the high-water content of a low-calorie, broth-based soup can fill up the stomach without packing on calories.

Pro tip: Bulk with veggies and beans for extra satiety-inducing fiber and protein.

8. A Square or Two of Dark Chocolate

Sometimes cravings resemble hunger and sometimes those cravings are towards chocolate… 

Amidst such temptation, go for a piece of dark chocolate. Research shows dark chocolate promotes satiety, lowers the desire to eat something sweet, and suppresses energy intake compared with milk.

And not only can that chocolate craving be kicked, but can likewise be done so in a healthy manner. Dark chocolate contains both saturated and monounsaturated fats, along with a healthy dose of various vitamins and minerals and powerful antioxidants.

But to ensure a low-carb, late night snack, look for dark chocolate products with minimal added sugars and relish on a square or two.

9. Bowl of Popcorn

Craving something salty and crunchy? Drop the chip bag and reach for the popcorn! Three cups of those air popped kernels clocks in at just under 100 calories! 

Unlike most packaged snacks, popcorn takes up more room in your stomach to help you feel full without skyrocketing calorie intake.

For added flavor, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and other preferred seasonings you have on hand.

10. Yogurt with Berries

Though too much protein may be a little tough on the stomach prior to bed, a small cup of Greek yogurt induces satiety to relieve that nighttime hunger. 

And rather than going strictly for a nonfat option, choose a yogurt with some of its fat retained to induce satiety even further.

Just stay cautious of any yogurt loaded with added sugars. Offer natural sweetness with a ½ cup of berries, light drizzle of honey, and dash of cinnamon.

Still can't sleep? Give these tips a try:

• Drink a glass of water: Since hunger is often mistaken for thirst, try drinking a glass of water or a warm cup of tea. If you still feel hungry, go for that healthy midnight snack.

• Rethink alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt sleep cycles and increase appetite.

• Stay consistent with sleep and wake times: Doing so helps regulate sleep cycles.

• Avoid large meals before bedtime: Even though small snacks can fit into a nightly routine, avoid heavy dinners and meals right before you lay down. Try to consume a larger meal at least 4 hours prior to rest.

• Limit caffeine: Too much caffeine in the afternoon or evening may interfere and disrupt precious sleep cycles. Limit caffeine consumption after morning hours to help encourage a more restful night.

• Exercise daily: Keeping active is a proven method to support healthier sleep cycles.

• Cut off screen time at least an hour before bedtime: The blue light that emits from TVs, cell phones, and other electronics can interfere with circadian rhythms, the natural sleep and wake cycles.

• Create a comfortable sleep environment: Keep the room dark and cool, along with the mattresses and pillows supportive.

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on July 13, 2016. Updated on October 18, 2020.


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