• Deanne Pandey

Nighttime Snacking- All you need to know

All of us have been there- the constant rumbling in the stomach, the urge for junk and the guilt that follows. Nighttime snacking is one of biggest challenges when it comes to healthy and balanced eating. The challenge is figuring out what you can eat that’s quick, tasty and won’t cause you to pack on the pounds. Although, it’s easier than it seems. Nighttime snacking can be healthy and not add on to your daily calories as much. Before getting into exploring healthy nighttime snack options, it is important to understand why do we struggle with late-night cravings. Nighttime eating may be the result of overly restricted daytime food intake, leading to ravenous hunger at night. It may also be caused by habit or boredom. However, nighttime eating has also been linked to some eating disorders, including binge eating disorder and night eating syndrome. Identifying the cause will help you take the right steps to solve the problem. People reach for food for many reasons. If you're not hungry but nonetheless find yourself eating at night, think about what led up to it. Tracking your eating and exercise habits alongside your feelings will help you identify patterns, enabling you to work on breaking any negative cycles of behaviour. Eating the bulk of your food in the evening, when your activity level is low, results in winding up with far more fuel than you body needs, and the surplus gets sent straight to your fat cells. Your body also does the bulk of its maintenance, healing, and repair work while you sleep, so the quality of the food you eat close to bedtime is key.

In order to break this pattern of unhealthy snacking, curb your habit by being more conscious about your things you eat and opt for healthier and lighter options.

Here are some healthy options you can go for when you feel like snacking late at night-

1. Sandwich

When you want something to fill you up, a sandwich on whole wheat bread is a good pick. Your body digests whole grains more slowly so you'll feel satisfied longer. Turkey is a great additive as turkey has tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to make you sleepy. If you're not into turkey, try peanut or almond butter on whole wheat toast. Nut butter has healthy fats that raise your levels of serotonin, a feel-good mood chemical that helps you relax.

2. Whole grain crackers with cheese

If you're craving something cheesy, try a small amount with a few whole-grain crackers or go for a scoop of cottage cheese. This is a great snack to have late at night.

3. Popcorn

As long as it's not drenched in butter or super salty, popcorn's a pretty good choice, especially while watching movies. It's a whole grain and it has fiber, so it’ll be more satisfying than chips and tide you over for longer.

4. Low-sugar Granola Bar

This can be a good stand-in for a cookie, as long as you check the nutrition label. Make sure your bar has some protein and fiber and not too much sugar. Or reach for half a banana and a handful of almonds -- both good sources of magnesium, a mineral that can help you wind down. This fruit and nut combo has some tryptophan, too.

5. Kiwi

Kiwis are a light, satisfying snack that’s rich in vitamin C. Two peeled kiwis pack only 93 calories. They’re also a natural source of serotonin, which promotes relaxation and helps curb appetite.

6. Greek Yogurt

When you want a creamy treat, protein-packed Greek yogurt is a better idea. Top it with some cherries or raspberries, which have melatonin. Not only will it keep you satisfied but, it will also enhance your sleep.

Try including these snacks in your nighttime routine and get rid of the guilt! Stay safe, Stay balanced!

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