Late nights are called the ungodly hour for a reason. During late nights, whether very chill or very active, the cravings may kick in and you may be easily tempted to have a quick run to the fridge. We get it, the ambiance is just oh-so-conducive to eating.
Defining Hunger and Why it Matters
Hunger is the discomfort caused by the lack of food intake and is, more often than not, accompanied by the feeling or desire to eat. The former is something physiological, whereas the latter is psychological. Sometimes, they come together, and there are also instances that the psychological part of hunger kicks in faster. However, regardless of whichever arrives first, the reason behind it remains the same – something needs to be addressed or satisfied.
The Myth About Midnight Snacks
Previously, there has always been a negative perception of midnight snacks and how this practice makes you gain weight or jeopardizes your weight loss journey. The truth is that midnight snacks are totally fine for you as long as you are doing snacking correctly. The recommended midnight snack should have no more than 200 calories, which, if you come to think of it, is actually a very considerable margin. It always boils down to the critical aspect of the food choices you will be making. You have the freedom to explore, but we want to remind you that healthy snacks aren’t always necessarily boring and flavorless, so do not dismiss these healthy goodies.
Here are some healthy late-night snacks that are worth checking out, and some might actually surprise you:
Let’s start with something exotic and fresh. Kiwis are flavor-rich fruits that are bursting with vitamin C and also contain a good amount of fiber. These are just some of the reasons why kiwi is one of the most recommended fruits to be consumed at least once a day. Even better, consuming kiwis at night may even promote better sleep. What’s not to love, right?
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, which also induces better sleep. Consuming a small serving of pumpkin seeds is highly encouraged to be paired with some healthy carbohydrate sources, like a small slice of apple, because this tandem stimulates the brain to produce more melatonin.
Bananas with Almond Butter
You might be taken aback by this combination because it sounds overindulgent. However, this combination not only satiates cravings and hunger but also promotes restful sleep. Research confirms that consuming bananas elevates melatonin in as fast as two hours. When you pair this with almond butter (always choose the unsweetened one), it further amplifies melatonin, as well as magnesium, to create a solid boost to help you sleep later. The recommended serving size is a small banana (approximately 16 to 20 grams) and a tablespoon of almond butter. Get ready to catch some Zzzs.
Interestingly enough, hot cereals can be a healthy choice to simmer down your late-night cravings. Being a fantastic source of fiber, a hot cereal preparation can be incorporated with small pieces of nuts or fruit.
You need to hear us out about this. Popcorn seems to have had a bad rap, but it is actually a healthy late snack choice as long as you’re preparing it correctly. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack. In fact, you can have three cups, and it will only amount to approximately 100 calories. This is because this crisp snack is naturally low in calories. Things will only get crazy when you douse it with a dab of butter or seasoning. Our best recommendation? Cook your popcorn using an air popper to skip all the additional fat without compromising flavor. Cravings fixed.
Supplementary Tips to Alleviate You Craving for Late Night Snacks
Once you are able to gain full control of your food choices whenever the need for late-night snacks kicks in, here are some supplementary tips you can do to help alleviate the frequency of having late-night snacks.
Always Incorporate Protein in Your Meals
Regardless of your diet regimen, your meals should be able to meet the recommended daily allowance and requirement for protein and must be properly planned ahead. One of the major reasons why late-night snacks or cravings occur more frequently, especially in terms of the physiological aspect, is that the body is still seeking fuel. Remember that bodily processes don’t stop the moment you hit the sack. These are continuous processes to ensure that all systems and functions are in tip-top shape. When there is a considerable lack of protein, the body will keep on sending signals that you should “take in more.”
Consider a Solid De-Stressing Routine
The term “stress eating” is becoming more and more prevalent these days because there are days that things can overwhelm you, and the only workaround you can resort to is to eat. Most of the time, this occurs during the latter part of the day. Dears, don’t forget to breathe and de-stress. Try to engage in meditation, yoga, or even just a short quiet time to allow your mind and body to catch up and take a breather. You can also do a brief exercise routine at night to encourage restful sleep afterward.
This is the simplest tip in the bunch, but it is also one of the most overlooked. You see, when your body is accustomed to a particular eating schedule, provided that such a schedule satisfies your caloric requirements, you should be fine. However, problems arise the moment that your eating schedule becomes severely erratic. Picture it this way: Your body is waiting for a delivery that is not arriving on time, which makes everything go haywire.
Always remember that we should eat to live, not the other way around. May these recommendations and simple tips give you better direction on how to address late-night snacking to make this practice work in your favor toward achieving your fitness goals.