An Australian nutritionist and health blogger has revealed the best snacks to eat at night if you’re feeling hungry before bed.
Jessica Sepel, founder of JS Health, posted on her website and listed a selection of healthy snacks to choose from that are filled with protein to keep you full.
‘Feeling snacky at night, and find yourself reaching for a whole block of chocolate? Or maybe you’re looking for a healthy option to curb those late night cravings,’ Ms Sepel said.
The snack suggestions included Greek yoghurt with fresh berries, dark chocolate, protein balls, almond butter-filled dates and ‘nice cream’.
Australian nutritionist and health blogger Jessica Sepel (pictured) has revealed the best snacks to eat at night if you’re feeling hungry before bed
First on Ms Sepel’s list of healthy late night snack food is Greek yoghurt for calcium and berries as for antioxidants
Greek yoghurt with berries or cherries
First on Ms Sepel’s list of healthy late night snack food is Greek yoghurt for calcium and berries for antioxidants.
‘Greek yoghurt contains protein and calcium, so it will actually make you feel full and satisfied,’ she said.
‘It contains probiotic strains which are brilliant for gut health, plus the antioxidant hit from the berries make it a well-rounded, nutritious option.’
When in season, tart cherries are also a good snack option as they contain small amounts of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
How much protein do we need?
The recommended dietary allowance for protein suggest that individuals should focus on getting at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
This may increase depending on variables such as activity level, age, gender, the rest of your diet composition and how you digest and utilise protein.
A dietary intake of 1.0-1.6g of protein per kg of body weight per day is recommended for those participating in minimal to intense activity, respectively.
Rather than reaching for the milk or white chocolate, choose the dark chocolate option as it is a rich source of magnesium – which can help with sleep and relaxation.
‘The rich flavour of dark chocolate can do wonders for satisfying those sweet cravings,’ Ms Sepel said.
Dark chocolate is also known to contain less sugar and more antioxidants compared to other lighter chocolate.
Rather than reaching for the milk or white chocolate, choose the dark chocolate option as it is a rich source of magnesium – which can help with sleep and relaxation
Protein balls and smoothies
Whether you’re a gym guru or are looking to incorporate a bit more protein into your diet, late-night protein balls are a great snack to eat before bedtime if you’re feeling peckish.
‘The high protein content of protein bliss balls makes for a satiating, satisfying late night snack! Add some nut butter to your bliss balls for a hit of quality fats, and to make them even more filling,’ Ms Sepel said.
Alternatively protein smoothies made with peanut butter, berries, almond milk and yoghurt are also a great evening snack to have after dinner.
According to Healthline, milk-based smoothies supplies protein for muscle repair and tryptophan, which is used to make sleep-promoting brain chemicals.
Whether you’re a gym guru or are looking to incorporate a bit more protein into your diet, late-night protein balls are a great snack to eat before bedtime
Why are you snacking at night and how can you stop it?
1. You’re not eating enough protein
This macronutrient keeps us full and satisfied. Interestingly, protein also contains chemicals, like tryptophan, that help you fall asleep.
Solution: Fill up on protein at dinner and you’ll not only have less of an urge to snack later, you’ll also be ready for bed at a decent hour.
2. You’re stressed out
A stressed mind and body will often turn to food. If you’re under a lot of stress, you may find you get a second wind in the evening – this may also tell your body that you want food.
Solution: Really listen to what your body wants. Stop and put your legs up against the wall for ten minutes. It will relax your nervous system and help prepare you for sleep.
3. Your blood sugar is imbalanced
Ensure you’re eating not only enough protein but also good fats at each meal instead of a purely carbohydrate-based meal. Sugar and refined carbs (like white bread and pasta) will cause your blood sugar to crash.
Solution: A generally low carb/low sugar diet, but gluten-free, complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa are great staples.
4. You’re drinking coffee in the afternoon
Not only will the caffeine impact your ability to fall asleep later, it will also have a direct impact on your blood sugar level – which, often leads to those nighttime cravings.
Solution: Try to cut caffeine by 3pm.
5. You’re caving to the afternoon sweet tooth
People who have a sugary treat at 3 or 4pm tend to crave sugar after dinner too.
Solution: Instead, enjoy a protein rich snack in the afternoon
6. You’re consuming alcohol regularly
Substances like liquor, wine and beer will affect your sleeping patterns-– and will also make you likely to snack more, especially late at night when your more susceptible to eat mindlessly.
Solution: Keep drinking to special occasions, try to have at least 3 or 4 alcohol free nights a week and when drinking stick to 1-2 drinks!
7. You’re glued to your phone after dinner
The screen time impacts the hormones needed to help us sleep.
Solution: If you need to be on a screen after 8pm, you can download a blue-light filter that will help minimise the hormonal upset.
Bananas or dates with almond butter
In addition to eating berries, yoghurt and protein balls, Healthline recommends snacking on bananas with almond butter.
One banana dipped in almond butter will not only keep you full, it also only contains around 164 calories and makes for a delicious evening treat.
Almond butter is also a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E and magnesium.
Ms Sepel recommended eating almond butter-filled dates for a sweet treat as well.
Ms Sepel’s final recommendation included ‘nice cream’ – a simple homemade alternative to eating ice cream.
‘Simply blitz up your fave fruit with some plant-based milk, and top with some cacao nibs or granola, if you like,’ she said.
‘You’re getting a hit of nutrients from the fruit, and it’s oh so creamy – it will really hit the spot.’