Dinner is done, dishes have been washed now it’s time for binge watching some of your favourite shows. This is the perfect example of lazy nights where you just want to chill and relax after a tiring day.
You start to watch the show, you have been watching episodes back to back and all of a sudden you feel hungry. Your stomach gets galloping. How many times have we been stuck in this situation? hundreds or even thousands of times. Even the strong-willed among us have fallen for this trap.
But when it comes to choosing between what to eat, our mind gets confused between options available to us. But eating anything during the night could affect our health badly sometimes. Fighting late night hunger is one of the biggest challenges and if not taken care can lead to weight gain. After all, there’re enough scientific proofs that eating too late at night could make weight control harder.
What could be the reason?
Stress, intake of unhealthy fats during the day and not having enough meal during daytime are some of the factors leading to midnight hunger.
While eating late at night can lead to several health hazards like an increase in blood sugar levels, heart diseases, obesity, and acidity. It’s because, the later you eat, the lesser your body is prepared to sleep, which might have adverse effects on your memory and efficiency for the next day.
According to research from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania concludes that eating late at night raises glucose and insulin levels, both of which are causes of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers have also found out that improper meal time can contribute to an increase in cholesterol levels which raises the risk of heart disease or even suffering from a heart attack.
The food is stored as fat after eating a few hours before sleep. The myth about late-night eating can be bad for the diet has been disproved but on the other hand, it doesn’t mean all snacks to be treated the same. Choosing what to eat and how much to eat is the main criteria. Pick something light and give yourself a buffer before your sleep won’t make a huge difference. So go ahead and storm the refrigerator but in a healthy way!
Avoid having a huge meal, anything fatty, spicy, super sugary, or caffeinated because your body will have to work hard in order to digest, which might keep you awake.
What to eat then?
The best late-night snacks which are easy to digest are carbs but with less fibre, protein or fat. But, if you are really hungry, then a small nutrient-rich snack under 200 calories can do fine for the night. First, make sure to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and even during the evening, as dehydration can lead to hunger feelings.
When hunger strikes you, prepare these for quick snack time!
1. WHOLE GRAINS
Whole-grain cereals like oatmeal, milk, barley are good sources of fiber and carbs to boost the levels of tryptophan and even keep you full until your next meal because of complex carbohydrates containing serotonin which also helps the body to relax.
Bananas can do a great snack if you’re hungry at night just spread peanut butter on it and its protein will keep you full. Bananas also help you fall asleep due to the presence of magnesium and potassium, acting a great source of natural muscle-relaxants.
3. COTTAGE CHEESE
Due to the slow releasing protein presence of casein protein cottage cheese gradually releases amino acids while you are asleep and repairs your muscles.
4. AN APPLE AND PEANUT BUTTER
Besides being deliciously plain, the fiber and protein of this combination will fill you up without feeling too heavy with Apple delivering a satisfying crunch.
Cherries contain melatonin which regulates sleeping patterns and can be a perfect snack for those who have a sweet tooth. It is also a good source of antioxidants and repairs damage of your cells caused by free radicals.
One of the best snack no matter what the occasion is. Easy to eat and the nutrients in it keep you going. To add some twist to it, sprinkle chat masala on fruits to enjoy the tangy taste.
Watching the screen and popcorn is one of the best ideal combinations. Not only a good source of complex carbs it also contains fewer calories.
Rich in antioxidants, nuts can be a great night time snacks. Since nuts contain a lot of fibers, you might feel heavy waking up in the morning. They also help in regulating blood sugar. Pistachios stand out among other nuts for their high levels of sleep-promoting melatonin. And almonds are also among the best-preferred ones.
Yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium and keeping one’s bone strong, having mineral in it helps to sleep better. Yoghurt, especially Greek yoghurt is rich in protein, particularly casein is very healthy for the body.
Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of snacks, depending on how much time and effort you want to put in.
11. PROTEIN BAR
Protein bars helps to feel energized and active. The chewy texture of the bars will make one feel like he/she is eating a lot when actually they aren’t.
12. SMOOTHIE/ HOT CHOCOLATE
By skipping the store-bought fruit juice and adding protein, plant milk, and good fats, to your smoothies can be tasty and satisfying and even healthy at the same time. Cut down the sugar and add some cocoa to your hot milk with honey to enjoy the taste as well as health.
Being a desi guy I also have a few recommendations regarding midnight healthy desi snacks. Just roast them with a small amount of ghee and sprinkle a bit of black salt to enjoy this weight-loss friendly snack.
1. Fox Nuts/Makhana
Makhanas are rich in good carbohydrates, proteins and are also gluten-free comprising a flavonoid called kaempferol, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Due to high magnesium in it, it’s good for heart health and also the regulation of levels of calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood which is why they have become so popular as evening weight loss snacks, which you can munch on happily.
Both raw and roasted nuts are good for us because they provide health benefits like calories, protein, carbs, and fibre. Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and protein. In addition to snacking on whole almonds, you can bake with almond flour or add the nuts to a salad for extra crunch.
The high fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 content all support heart health. Chickpeas contain significant amounts of fibre helps to lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. It is a perfect snack for weight loss as it helps to reduce overall calorie intake by a person.
Comment down below, what’s your healthy snack during midnight hunger?
Graduated with specialisation in Journalism and currently working in the PR industry. A big-time foodie who loves to travel and explore more food. Stay connected with me to read feature stories.
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