Healthy Bedtime Snacks for Weight Loss
Can the concept of "you snooze, you lose" really tailor to weight loss? These healthy bedtime snacks may just be your ticket losing weight and sleeping better!
Most think to achieve weight loss, one must not snack, especially at bedtime. But when late night cravings attack, it may be hard to avoid a trip to the kitchen.
Although late night snacking can contribute to weight gain, filling that bedtime hunger pang can still take place without negotiating health goals.
Besides, these healthy bedtime snacks may result to better sleep and weight loss!
Healthy Bedtime Snacks for Weight Loss
Snacks that Make You Sleepy
Did you know the coupling of tryptophan-containing and low-carb sources can help induce sleep?
The essential amino acid tryptophan is a converter to serotonin and melatonin, two hormones associated to sleep and wake cycles.
But tryptophan cannot be used immediately, as consuming tryptophan sources fills up the tryptophan brain tank and a lower carb snack helps empty it for utilization.
So unlike popular belief, eating tryptophan-containing turkey or other poultry and meat at Thanksgiving is not the primary culprit of that post-meal nap. What is likely occurring, though, is the pairing of stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and other.
(And not to mention, consuming a large volume of food can also induce sleepiness.)
However, overeating can start impeding on weight loss goals. So to keep portions controlled whilst keeping sleep cycles in check, give these duos a try:
1. Half of a Turkey Sandwich
Turkey is notorious for its tryptophan content, but remember, it needs a little assistance from a carb source to induce sleep effectively.
So to satisfy that late night hunger while controlling portions, toast (or not) a slice of whole grain or wheat bread and layer with a few slices of turkey. To limit fat content, skip out on the mayo and opt for a squeeze of mustard.
2. Smoked Salmon Bagel
Salmon is rich in tryptophan, along with supplying adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Ensuring adequate vitamin D may be key for weight loss, as a deficiency in the vitamin is linked to obesity. Supplementing with the vitamin shows to decrease weight, body mass index, waist and hip circumferences.
Whereas bagels can be extremely high in calories and carbohydrates, reduce carb content by consuming only half or going for the mini bagels found at most grocers. Choosing whole grain bagels can further provide the body with essential fiber and B vitamins.
Top bagel of choice with a thin slice of smoked salmon. Also add a light smear of reduced-fat cream cheese as desired.
3. Egg Wrap
When hunger calls, why wait to answer in the morning hours?
Crack that appetite with an egg wrap, which supplies some of the finest foods to eat before bed to lose weight and induce sleep.
Eggs are low in calorie and rich in tryptophan, high-quality protein, vitamin D, choline, selenium, phosphorus, some B vitamins, and antioxidants.
Simply prepare an egg to desired "doneness" and wrap in a low-carb, whole grain tortilla shell. For an extra nutritional punch, add spinach, peppers, and other non-starchy veggies to the egg wrap.
Healthy Dairy and Grains
Like poultry, meat, salmon, and eggs, dairy products are also excellent source of tryptophan. What's more, these dairy products are a natural pairing with whole grains for a nutritious, sleep-inducing snack for weight loss:
4. Whole Grain Cereal and Milk
Instead of categorizing cereal as a strict breakfast option, grab your favorite cereal bowl and spoon a little sooner. But instead of a sugary cereal, opt for a whole grain variety.
Whole grains are rich in magnesium, a mineral shown to improve sleep efficiency, time, and onset when supplemented.
The complex carbs of whole grain cereal paired with protein-rich milk can further induce sleep while keeping the belly satiated until the morning hours.
5. Oats with a Splash of Milk
Unlike a bowl of cereal with chilled milk, the warmth of a whole grain bowl of oatmeal can be quite comforting and soothing before bedtime.
But instead of sweetening and fattening the oats up with sugar and butter, add a splash of milk, berries and cinnamon to add natural sweetness and nutrients.
6. String Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers
The tryptophan sourced from cheese can be emptied more efficiently when pairing with whole grain crackers.
As a pro tip, stock up on string cheese to keep portions moderated and prevent from overeating.
7. Cottage Cheese
A protein-filled snack like cottage cheese is the way to go if eager to eat a snack before bed, reports new research.
As an added bonus, cottage cheese supplies natural carbohydrate and milk proteins proven to replenish glycogen stores and stimulate muscle growth.
8. Greek Yogurt
While a lot of protein may be a little tough on the stomach prior to bed, a small cup of Greek yogurt can reduce the chance for reaching for that ice-cream pint.
Stay cautious of yogurts loaded with added sugars, though, and offer natural sweetness with some of the best fruits to eat at night for weight loss described below.
Fruits and Nut Snacks
These nuts and their corresponding nut butters gift a healthy dose of tryptophan, while fruits gifts natural sweetness to kick that pesky sweet tooth:
Kiwis are one of the best fruits to eat at night for weight loss for a number of reasons.
First off, kiwis are low-calorie while being full of nutrients, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K.
A study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21669584) suggests consuming kiwifruit may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances.
From blueberries to strawberries, berries are some of the best foods to promote a good night's sleep.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which according to the National Sleep Foundation, may help counteract oxidative stress caused by a sleep disorder.
11. Tart Cherry Juice
The Cherry Marketing Institute reports tart cherry juice may help improve the quality and duration of sleep, reduce the severity of insomnia, and increase overall sleep efficiency.
The rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice may also reduce muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise, which is particularly notable in healthy runners.
If desiring the crunch, apples a great healthy late night snack for weight loss, while the skin of an apple is rich in insoluble fiber known to promote good digestive health.
Also pair an apple with peanut butter (read on) for added benefit.
13. Peanut and Nut Butters
While the high-fat and caloric density of peanut butter before bed may be discouraging, hear us out…
Peanut butter is a plant-based source tryptophan, which is helpful for individuals following a strict vegetarian or vegan eating pattern, trying to simply reduce meat intake, or requiring a dairy or lactose-free diet.
Pairing fruit, including an apple, also helps ensure blood sugars remain stable. But to keep fat and calorie content in check, opt for a tablespoon.
Almonds are filled with satiating protein and healthy fat, with research suggesting an almond-enriched low-calorie diet (LCD) is effective in decreasing body weight compared to following a complex carbohydrate-enriched LCD.
Almonds are also rich in magnesium and melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles.
Quick Bedtime Bites
While the listed healthy bedtime snacks above are mostly convenient, these quick bedtime bites will also have you feeling satisfied without sacrificing weight loss goals:
15. Frozen Yogurt Blueberry Bites
Prepare and stock frozen yogurt blueberry bites for a quick bedtime snack.
Also feel free to use other favorite berries and garnish with other toppings, including finely chopped nuts and cinnamon.
That classic bowl of popcorn can be a healthy movie night snack, just do not load the kernels with oil, butter, and salt.
To enhance flavor without popping on calories, sprinkle with savory or sweet seasonings such as a taco packet or cinnamon.
17. Sliced Veggies and Hummus
Keep low-calorie and easy-to-digest veggies, including bell peppers and cucumbers, sliced and stocked for the ultimate healthy bedtime snack.
Dip into a tablespoon or two of hummus for added protein and healthy fat.
Final Thoughts Regarding Healthy Bedtimes Snacks
When it comes to the best late night snacks for weight loss, it is critical to stick to portions and serving sizes.
Despite the healthy associations of the foods listed above, excess of each can pack on the calories and lead to weight gain.
Also truly to gauge if you are actually feeling hungry or if it is the late night movie triggering cravings and the munchies.