Healthy Late Night Snack Ideas

popcorn_latenightsnackThe best way to avoid turning into the cookie monster at night is to eat a filling dinner that is satiating. However, sometimes late a night you might find yourself rummaging your cupboards for something to eat and turning to not-so-healthy choices like sugary or carb laden foods. So what’s a girl who is trying to be sensible about her diet to eat?

When it comes to snacks (and every other meal, actually) you have to stay away from sugars and carbs. Why? Because sugar and carbs cause an insulin spike in your blood which prohibits fat loss and leaves your blood sugar level so low that you will find yourself feeling hungry again shortly after. If you try to be good and just have one recommended portion/serving size but there’s more of that food around, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that you’ll end up polishing off another serving or two, or three before the night is over.

Turn to these low calorie, low sugar/carb alternatives instead.

1. Kale Chips – To make, preheat oven to 375°F. Wash 2 bunches of kale, remove stems and tear into small pieces. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Salt lightly and bake until crisp and slightly golden around edges (10 minutes). These satisfying chips only have 34 calories per cup, versus a cup of bagel chips, which would be four to five times more calories.

2. Tuna and avocado- Use half a can (30 calories) or a whole can (60 calories) of tuna soaked in water and place it in a very large bowl. Add spices, red/green peppers, pepper and other herbs. Cut the avocados in a quarter or a half, and peel. Cut the avocados into 1/4-inch dice. Carefully mix the avocado into the tuna mixture. Break out the spoon and eat away – sans bread or crackers. If you really want a shuttle, place your mixture on a roasted portabello mushroom cap.

3. Natural Popcorn – popcorn is mostly air and therefore you can eat a lot for minimal calories. You get about 3.5 cups for only 100 calories.” And since popcorn is naturally a whole grain, you also get 4 grams of filling fiber. For extra flavor add paprika, chili powder, vinegar and pepper or cinnamon.  Plus, you’ll chew a lot and that is important to snackers and feeling like you’ve eaten something substantial

4. Smoothie – Extra sugar and fat found in most store bought smoothies can be avoided when you blend your own 8oz cup. Just remember not to add any honey, sugar or sweet fruit juices. I’d recommend berries, half a banana and almond/soy/rice milk. You can also add a handful of nuts and seeds, such as almonds and flaxseed, and the added fiber will help you feel fuller despite simply consuming a liquid.

5. Hummus and shrimp – A tasty snack that’s perfect if you’ve got cold storage nearby. Hummus is best when you make it yourself using chickpeas — but if you don’t have time to do this, opt for the reduced fat variety, which will supply you with vitamin E, manganese, and disease-fighting garlic. Use one serving size of shrimp (about 5 to 6) or raw veg — such as beta-carotene-rich carrot sticks and potassium-rich celery — to dip into the hummus, in order to boost your fiber intake.

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