It’s late at night, and you’re about to go to bed when your stomach begins to gurgle. There’s no way you’re dropping off to sleep if you’re starving, but aren’t late-night snacks bad for you?
Not always. While a lot of foods are a definite no-no for midnight snacking, there are a lot of great, healthy options that will keep you nourished and satisfied until the sun comes up. Some of them might even help you sleep!
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Most often associated with breakfast, cereal works as well as a late-evening snack just as a morning meal. This is because most cereals contain high-glycemic carbs, which take longer to digest, keeping you fuller for longer. Some studies have shown that HG carbs can also help you fall asleep faster.
Avoid high-sugar cereals, as night-time snacks should be no more than 2-300 calories. Sugar can also prevent you from falling asleep.
Popcorn is a great late-night alternative to chips as you can eat a ton of it without racking up the calories. It’s also much higher in fiber than its starchier counterpart, so just a few handfuls will keep you satisfied until morning. Skip butter and sugar. They’re excess calories you don’t need to eat at night. Try paprika instead to give your popcorn a kick.
Yes, you can have bread late at night! A turkey sandwich is packed with a hormone called tryptophan, which naturally occurs in turkey and is proven to aid sleep in humans. If you’re vegan, try peanut or other nut butters as these are high in serotonin, another hormone associated with relaxation.
Remember that whole wheat or rye is a better bread option than the white, and keep your sandwich on the small side to avoid feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
Avoid cookies after dark. If you need something a little sweeter, grab a granola bar instead. Just make sure to check the label for added sugars, as this might keep you awake. The best granola bars are packed with nuts and dried fruit, with very few additions. Alternatively, eat a straightforward handful of nuts. They’re high in magnesium, which relaxes the muscles, and that all-important sleep aid tryptophan.
Cheese and Crackers
If you’re craving something savory, cheese and crackers are the way to go. Don’t go too big. As we mentioned, late-night snacks should be kept to just a couple hundred calories, and cheese can get calorific pretty quickly. Make sure to go for wholegrain crackers, too, as these are high in fiber and will keep you comfortably full all night.
Fruit and Yogurt
Dairy yogurt is packed with calcium, which is thought to help us fall asleep. Stick to natural varieties that are low in refined sugar and add fruit for flavor. Berries always work well with yogurt and are full of filling fiber and magnesium, which relaxes the muscles and helps us go to sleep.