Chances are that if you are up past midnight, you are itching to raid your kitchen fridge. The concept of midnight snacks has become even more popular in recent years owing to the availability of streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
What better way to binge your favourite TV series or watch the latest movie than with a bowl of delicious snacks. However, while snacking at night is fun, eating too much fried or processed food can be detrimental to your health. Here, we bring you some of the healthy midnight snacks to satiate your night-time cravings without harming your waistline.
1. Pistachios and mixed nuts
Quick and easy midnight snacks that are great for your health too – munch on a handful of mixed nuts or in-shell pistachios. Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fat that actually help reduce hunger pangs. Opt for a mix of almonds, walnuts and a few cashews. Keep in mind that while they are rich in nutrition, they are also high in calories. To avoid overeating, take out a handful of nuts in a bowl and avoid eating from the jar itself.
For those of you that prefer a hint of salt at night, in-shell pistachios work wonders. The act of removing the shell for each pistachio helps slow down the speed of eating and consume less. Keep in mind, 15-20 pistachios are plenty in one sitting. They also help promote better sleep ensuring you won’t be up too long.
Sugar cravings at night are one of the most common concerns. But before you reach for that box of chocolates that you will regret in the morning, turn your attention to the sweet and nutritionally-dense berries. These tiny and colourful snacks are placed low on the glycaemic index (GI) meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels at night making them one of the best healthy night snacks.
The sweetness of these berries is sure to satiate your sugar cravings while a small bowl of these berries is sure to keep you full. Other than munching on them by themselves, they can also be adapted to different formats. Top them on a bowl of low-fat yogurt or blitz them with milk for a filling smoothie. If you are a vegan looking to avoid dairy (or not in the mood for dairy-free milk) simply blend them in water with a bit of lemon and ice for a slushy. This will help counter those ice-cream cravings that are pure sugar while calming the hunger pangs.
3. Yogurt and veggies
One of the best and healthy midnight snacks that are also quite delicious, munch on a plate of veggies with some yogurt on the side. Vegetables are extremely low in calories while offering a host of nutritional benefits. Choose from beetroot, carrots, cucumber and celery stalks. The high-fibrous content of some of these veggies will keep you chewing them longer thus making you feel full sooner. Also, be sure to prep for these in advance. Chances are you’re going to be feeling way too lazy at night to peel and cut the veggies. Instead, do so sometime in the day, especially for days you know you’ll be up such as the weekend.
Using yogurt as a dipping sauce will not only enhance the taste but offer several health benefits as well. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium and tryptophan making it one of the best midnight snacks. For some extra crunch and flavour, add a spoonful of seeds to your yogurt.
4. Veggie chips
We all know that veggies make one of the most healthy night snacks. However, sometimes all you want is the crunch of a chip. Munching on a big bag of potato chips may be delicious for the tongue but it is definitely not the best idea for a night-time snack. However, don’t be disheartened because we have an alternate solution for you – veggie chips!
Loaded with minerals and with far fewer calories, veggie chips are dehydrated and often air-fried chips that make delicious and easy midnight snacks. You can find a host of options ranging from the mildly sweet beetroot chips to the salty zucchini and okra chips. A lot of brands also offer a variety of green leafy chips such as spinach that are perfect for the fun of the crunch without the unhealthy fats. Look for options that add a bit of seeds or nuts to the packets for an even more filling and nutritious snack.
5. Homemade popcorn
The classic midnight snack, a bowl of popcorn is one of the most beloved and common midnight munchies for people everywhere. In itself, popcorn is actually a great night-time snack as it has lesser calories than most chips out there. What is important here though, is the preparation.
A bowl of movie-style butter popcorn loaded with salt offers no health benefits. But that doesn’t mean that this snack cannot be prepped in a delicious manner. Instead of buying premixed popcorn packets that have high amounts of salt and fat, buy plain popcorn kernels. Cook them in a low amount of fat for a crispy and fun snack that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.
For those of you who would like to enjoy a big bowl of this snack without even a spoonful of fat, air-popped corn is a wonderful midnight snack.
6. Nut-butters or hummus with wholegrain crackers
Nut-butters, such as almond butter and peanut butter, are great sources of protein that help you feel full sooner. For those of you with just a light craving, a spoonful of nut-butter is the perfect snack to help you fall asleep again. However, if you would like something a little more substantial, serve a couple of wholegrain crackers along with the nut-butter. An important point to keep in mind is that nut-butters are very high in calories. So, be sure to serve a teaspoon on your plate to avoid temptation.
For those of you that don’t enjoy nut-butters, hummus is a great night snack too. Chickpeas are another rich source of protein that helps you feel full. You can top your crackers with hummus at night or even dip some veggie sticks in hummus for a delightful and healthy midnight snack.
A common breakfast option, oatmeal is one of the healthiest midnight snacks as well. In most cases, the midnight cravings need only a bit of munching to calm down. However, there are also those days where you feel hungry enough for an entire meal. Falling asleep again without giving your body sufficient food seems impossible.
In such cases, instead of loading up on junk, prepare a quick and healthy bowl of oatmeal for yourself. This complex carbohydrate is perfect to help you feel full without upping your calorie intake. Further, due to reduced activity levels at night, the low-fat and low-sugar content make it an ideal night-time meal. Unlike simple carbs such as white bread or baked goods, oatmeal breaks down slowly in the body ensuring your blood sugar levels won’t fluctuate in your sleep.