Are you a late night snacker? Do you stay up late nights because your work demands it? Or perhaps you are a student preparing for an upcoming examination? Or is a TV show keeping you up? Well, whatever your reasons are, eating late night snacks can lead to weight gain and it can also sabotage your weight loss effort.
Hence choosing the right late night snacks is key to satisfy your cravings or hunger without packing on the high amount of calories which may lead you feeling bloated and regretful in the morning. So if you eat late night snacks, I want you to stick to these 3 rules:
1. Keep your snacks under 200 calories. Remember: this is a snack not a meal. If you overeat especially late at night when we are physically inactive, those calories are more likely to be stored as fat.
2. Drink a glass of water first and wait for 20 minutes before snacking. This will allow your brain to register whether are you truly hungry or are you just dehydrated or bored.
3. Ask yourself “Why am I still up so late? Shouldn’t I be in bed?”. Lack of sleep can also sabotage your weight loss effort.
Healthy late night snacks
So to help you with your snackings here are my top ten healthy late night snacks under 100 calories:
1. Frozen yogurt ice cream
My number one choice has to be my favorite frozen yogurt ice cream. Instead of the typical creamy, high calorie, high fat ice cream this healthy alternative is light, low in calories and satisfy your ice cream cravings. To make them you’ll need:
- 50 grams of sliced bananas;
- 150 grams of frozen strawberries or any other fruits of your choice;
- 200 grams of Greek/Plain yogurt;
- 1 tablespoon of goji berries.
Blend all the ingredients until thick and smooth. Place the mixture into 6 popsicle molds and freeze them overnight. The best part is that each popsicle has only 40 calories.
2. Honey popcorn
This second snack is perfect for a late night movie. Popcorns are generally low in calories recording at only 31 calories per cup. This is of course the no butter, no sugar popcorn. So instead of buying ready popcorns which are loaded with fat and added sugar, lets go back to the basic and make our own healthy popcorns and add our own flavors. It is really simple:
- Place 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into a microwave safe bowl.
- Cover firmly either with a lid or a plate. Make sure there’s no gap between the bowl and plate.
- Microwave it for about 5 minutes or until the popping slows down.
- Be careful when removing from the microwave as the dish is very hot.
- Top it up with your own flavors (honey in my case).
Allow them to cool down and you have a healthy snack ready to munch. Each 2 cups of popcorn with a half of tablespoon of honey is only 94 calories. Store the rest in a food container and you’re always have your healthy movie snacks for emergency. 🙂
3. Seafood vegetable soup
If you are truly hungry and you want a bigger portion without adding the extra amount of calories, then a bowl of warm soup is perfect. At this time of the night go for broth based soup which is light and easy to digest. Of course skip the noodles to avoid bloating and the extra calories which may be stored as fat. For the seafood vegetable soup you’ll need to cook:
- 2 cups (500 ml) of vegetable broth;
- 50 g of green leafy vegetable and carrots;
- 30 g of prawns;
- 1 tablespoon of goji berries.
This bowl which looks like a meal only has 93 calories. Enjoy!
4. Carrots and hummus
We all know that vegetables are healthy, low in calories, keep you satisfied and perfect to be eaten all day long. So one of my favorite late night snacks is carrots and hummus. Instead of buying the dips I have made my own hummus. The ingredients you’ll need are:
- 120 g of chickpeas, washed and drained;
- 60 g Greek/Plain yogurt;
- 1 clove of garlic, minced;
- 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil;
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried parsley;
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process until you have a smooth and creamy texture. The hummus plus one large carrot has only 99 calories. You can change the vegetables and the dips to your own taste.
If you are working or studying late night and you need something to munch on to keep you going, try this out!
5. Tuna sandwich crackers
Instead of choosing bread which is more dense and has more calories, go for whole grain or whole wheat crackers. These crackers typically have about 35 calories each. For this sandwich you’ll need only 2 whole grain crackers and 1/4 can or 30 g tuna.
This is light, high in protein and high in complex carbs which can help to control further craving. It has only 100 calories so enjoy it!
Most of us start our day with a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. And this can actually be part of the healthy late night snacks.What you want to avoid is the sugary cereals. So go for smaller portion, go for a small bowl of whole grain or whole wheat cereals to curb hunger. This way you can have your breakfast as your late night snacks.
7. Zucchini bread
The typical zucchini bread has a lot of added sugar and oil. For my recipe we will be replacing it with banana and honey. And instead of using white or whole wheat flour I’ll be using a combination of rye and oat flour.
Of course, you may still use whole wheat flour, however it is worth noting that rye is high in fiber in comparison to whole wheat. And rye keeps you satisfied for much longer because the fiber in rye bread has a high water binding capacity which expands during digestion and produces a great feeling of fullness. Rye is also low in glycemic index and it is recommended for a healthy weight maintenance and also weight loss.
To make the healthy zucchini bread you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1+1/2 cup rye flour;
- 1/2 cup oat flour;
- 1 tbsp baking powder;
- 1+1/2 cup zucchini, shredded;
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup;
- 2 eggs;
- 1/4 cup of milk;
- 1 large banana, mashed;
- 1 tsp vanilla extract;
- 1/2 tsp mixed herbs/cinnamon/nutmeg.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
Shred the zucchini with a food processor.
Combine in one bowl all the dry ingredients: rye, oat, baking powder and mixed herbs.
In another bowl mash the banana. Whisk in the eggs, add milk, honey and vanilla extract and mix them well.
Then combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Add in zucchini and mix until you have a thick and moist batter.
Grease one loaf pan with cooking spray, pour the batter into the loaf pan and make sure it is level in the pan.
Sprinkle some oats on top and bake it in the oven for 60 minutes.
Allow the zucchini bread to cool down for 15 minutes before removing from pan then cool it down for another 15 minutes before slicing. Each slice has about 90 calories, so enjoy!
8. Yogurt and fruits
More healthy and light late night snacks include yogurt and fruits. Mix 100 grams of low fat yogurt with a teaspoon of raw honey and 1/4 cup of strawberries and you get a delicious snack with only 100 calories.
9. Hot chocolate
A one glass of milk or hot chocolate will not only help you sleep better, it can also help you reduce food cravings. I recommend one cup of unsweetened soya milk with one teaspoon of cocoa powder. This snack is also under 100 calories. And of course you can choose to sweeten it with honey or stevia.
10. Other healthy snacks
Other healthy late night snacks are whole fruit, nuts, dried fruits, healthy snack bar and even an egg.
What you want to avoid is obviously:
- high fat greasy foods;
- energy drink;
- starchy food which tends to be high in calories.
In fact even all the healthy food should be consumed in moderation to avoid sleep indigestion, bloating and excess calories intake.
Eating healthy late night snacks is also about being prepared. The more healthy snacks you have in the fridge, the more likely you are to reach for them instead of opting for other unhealthy options. The more prepared you are, the more likely you will stick to your fitness goal.