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Absolutely Amazing Healthy Snacks for Late-Night Cravings

At the end of a long day, while preparing for bed- it’s not entirely uncommon to discover the familiar disruption of that infernal, internal rumbling calling you to the kitchen. While you know that snacking can keep you up later, the capricious craving can be impossible to ignore.

Common wisdom dictates that late-night snacking can lead to weight gain, but there's no sufficient evidence to show this is the case. Rather, the total amount of calories you consume throughout your day is the determining factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight (Zelman, 2009). in fact, there may actually be more benefits to late-night snacking than meets the eye.

Can Late-Night Snacking Actually Benefit My Health?

The effects of late-night snacking vary depending on the person. Studies in women with obesity show that snacking late at night can negatively impact both appetite and the efficacy of insulin, however these effects can be mitigated with regular exercise. On the other hand, individuals with GSD or type 1 diabetes may need late-night snacks to control their blood sugar levels.

For the general population, more studies are needed to determine the effects of late-night snacking. However, it is known that healthy men can enjoy the benefit of improved muscle protein synthesis from high-protein snacks, such as protein shakes, when consumed before bed (Kinsey & Ormsbee, 2015).

This being said, as with snacks any other time of the day, it's important to ensure that the food you consume is meeting your body's needs. We've all felt the pangs of boredom and mistaken them for hunger, and when that boredom brings beignets to our bellies it can cause some serious problems for our waistlines.

How Can I Make Sure My Late-Night Snacking Habits are Healthy?

But don't worry- there is a way to enjoy late-night snacks in a healthy way, and it's as simple as performing a simple check before putting something on your plate. Simply remember to ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Am I really hungry or am I just bored, anxious, tired, or depressed? Am I seeking a snack out of habit or hunger? Make sure that your body does indeed need the extra calories before deciding to look for a snack. It may be necessary to break habits if you find that you are used to a snack before bed but don't always need one. Try brushing your teeth to help curb cravings or substitute in another habit to take your mind off of snacking, such as reading a book.
  • Does my snack meet my nutritional needs? Be sure that your snack includes fiber and protein to help curb your hunger pangs. The snack should be low in sugars, starches, and fats to ensure that the treat helps you feel full without adding more fuel to your fire right before bed. Snacks that offer vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients are also ideal.
  • How much should I be eating? Portion control is essential to a healthy diet, and this is doubly true for snacks. When eating popcorn or chips straight out of the bag, it can be nigh impossible not to overeat. Instead, pour out a single serving into a small bowl and focus on your food while you snack. Take 15 minutes between servings to help your body feel your food before reaching for seconds. It's okay to eat more than one serving if you still feel hungry, but it's essential to be aware of how much you're eating.

To help you strike the perfect balance between an absence of energy and an excessive intake, we've compiled a concise list of healthy treats and recipes below.

Late-Night Snack Recipes

Searching for a late night snack can be a struggle in itself, but you can ease the strife with some simple preparation. Try out some of these recipes to have some stellar late night snacks at the ready when hunger strikes. But be sure to remember that, no matter what you are snacking on, you need to keep the portion sizes in check!

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad {gluten-free}

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe {gluten-free}

This scrumptious salad is packed with protein and fiber in spite of a low calorie count and sparing fat content. Prepare some as a side dish for your day’s dinner and save the rest for midnight munchies!
Ingredients: Quinoa, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh parsley, fresh mint, black pepper, salt.
Total Time: 40 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Truffle

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Truffle Recipe

These tantalizing treats take the idea of the classic confection and create a wholesome, equally appetizing alternative. Store some in your fridge for a late night bite that’s sure to thrill!
Ingredients: Jumbo Mejdool dates, almond flour, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, cacao powder, agave or maple syrup, almond milk, unsweetened shredded coconut.
Total Time: 15 minutes | Yield: 24 truffles

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites {gluten-free}

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites Recipe {gluten-free}

Yet another delectable dessert, these cheesecake bites offer a surprisingly satisfying serving to stave off hunger and permit a peaceful rest. Try this easy recipe today!
Ingredients: Pitted dates, almond flour, cacao powder, vanilla extract, almond milk, raw cashews, maple syrup, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Yield: 16 - 20 squares

Quinoa Veggie Wrap {vegan}

Quinoa Veggie Wrap Recipe {vegan}

When you're craving a munchie that’s a bit more hearty, a delectable veggie wrap offers the perfect size and savor to satiate without making you full.
Ingredients: Tortilla wraps, quinoa, hummus, fresh spinach, sun-tomatoes, shredded carrots.
Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 4 wraps

Late-Night Healthy Snacks

Snacking late at night doesn’t have to derail your eating plan. Our health nut and registered dietitian has picked out some snacks for you to stock-up on for a late night fix. Each of the snacks delivers nutrients like vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, and magnesium. Plus each of the snacks provides fiber and protein to help fill you up and balance blood sugar levels.

References

Kinsey, A. W., & Ormsbee, M. J. (2015, April 9). The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425165/

Zelman, K. M. (2009). Diet Truth or Myth: Eating at Night Causes Weight Gain. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/diet-truth-myth-eating-night-causes-weight-gain