Healthy Late Night Snack Food

Mmmm Food

It's hard not to get munchy after supper. I say 'munchy' because we all know it's not hungry per se , it's just...wanting something to eat. I, in fact, am terribly bad for this. I recently lost a ton (well, what my ego considers a ton) of weight and in trying to keep it off, tried not to snack at night. Woa. Did I fail. Staving off those late night cravings only makes things worse. But I wasn't really knowledgeable on the subject of 'healthy' late night snack food. Just the last part.


The longer you deprive yourself of what your brain is telling your stomach it needs, the more excessive the indulgence will be when you cave. Case in point: I've done extremely well throughout the day, only to get to bedtime and devour 2 or 3 nanaimo bars, or leftovers from supper, or a small fortune in chocolate. Sounds horrid. Is delicious. Feels bad.

So no more of this savagery, no more feeling bad the next morning because I'm not hungry for breakfast due to the debauchery from the late-night snacking the night before. I say no more! I am determined to have my cake and eat it too. I have been on the hunt for healthy snack foods that don't make me feel like I'm eating healthy snacks, and also don't make me feel bad for eating them. Sounds like it's a fine balance. Bring it on.


The best tidbit of ridiculously simple advice I found was that you need to keep things available to you to snack on, or you’ll go for the first thing you see. You'll end up with the chips you know are going to taste delicious, or the ice cream that you’re already eating in your mind. No good. Another reason having things made in advance is a good idea: when you're hungry and craving something you're more likely to overindulge. So if you're having, say, celery and peanut butter you might add way more peanut butter than you would had you prepared them when you weren't hungry.


So, what are some things to have on hand you say?

  • Sugar free/low fat Jell-O (it tastes no different) with Cool Whip whipped cream (low fat, available in a tub in the freezer section). Make the jello and separate it into 3 or 4 small dishes. When it's ready, top with cool whip and mmmm and ahhhh your way to satisfaction.
  • Popcorn is a given as I'm sure you know. So long as it's not loaded with too much butter, half a box of salt, and an absurd amount of flavoring. Sprinkle some chili powder on it, or garlic salt, or freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or maybe some dill weed. You can even make this in advance. Let the popcorn cool off and put handfuls of it into baggies for ready-to-eat snacks.
  • Celery sticks and peanut butter. Go one step further if it suits your fancy and add raisins to make the famous 'ants on a log'. Have celery sticks cut up in the fridge for this. You could even have peanut butter (and optional raisins) already on them.
  • Celery sticks and cheez whiz. Yes, cheez whiz is processed, and no, it's not negative calories or anything, but the small amount you'll be adding to the celery for flavor isn't going to do major damage either (91 calories, 6.9g Fat and 3g carbohydrates / 2 tablespoons). You can snack on this seemingly counter-productive food, and still stay under that 100 calorie mark many aim for. Point is, cheez whiz is tasty, good in small quantities, and never tastes like diet food. Again, have the sticks already cut so there's less work involved, and more instant gratitude.

  • Cheese and crackers or pita chips. When I say cheese, I mean a few cubes of cheese and a handful of crackers. Not super awesome packed with taste artery clogging crackers, but more like Wheat Thins, Breton, grain crackers, tortilla chips, soda crackers, Triscuit, graham crackers...you get the point. Cut up cheese cubes beforehand and keep them in the fridge as too much cheese will turn this from healthy late night snack into unhealthy late night over-indulgence. (1 cu.inch of cheddar contains 69 calories, 6g fat and 0 carbohydrates. You could have two cubic inches, cut into thin slices and eat them with crackers or tortilla chips)
  • Tortilla chips and salsa. Oooo one of my favorites. Choose a chip that's not high in bad things (ie: Old Dutch lightly salted rounds contain about 130 calories, 13g fat and 32g carbs / 20 chips), and a salsa that's good as well. This is as easy as comparing two tortilla chip bags side by side at the grocery store, and same with the salsa. So worth it. This is such a tasty combination. Just be sure not to eat from the bag. Use a bowl or plate and put the bag away.
  • Nachos. Oh yea, I said nachos. A couple of tablespoons of cheddar cheese sprinkled over a handful of tortilla chips and melted? Mmmm good.
  • Fruit with whipped cream. Mmm again! I buy these huge bags of frozen fruit in the grocery order, and I'm never, ever without whipped topping. A small bowl of fruit with whipped topping is so good. Obviously the sugar in the fruit can be an issue if you're eating too much of it. So not every day, but this is still a very tasty snack that is also very healthy.
  • 1/2 a cup of yogurt, a handful of berries and 1 or 2 T of granola. Heaven. This can also be made in advance. The granola will get soggy hanging out with the yogurt too long so add the granola when you're going to eat it
  • veggies - carrot sticks, celery sticks, green pepper slices, broccoli florets, cauliflower, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, whatever suits your fancy. You can add dressing (read the label to know how much you should have. Some dressings have 0 calories /2T, some have 160/2T) or just have the veggies the way mother nature made them. Keep them ready to eat in the fridge.
  • two (normal) handfuls of pretzel twists.
  • pita chips or triangles, with hummus.

  • an english muffin with melted cheese (mmmmmm).
  • a salad with your faves - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cranberries, mandarins, whatever you like! You can even pre-make salads and keep them in the fridge for those moments when you've been holding out on your taste buds for so long that you're on the hunt for something instant.
  • get popsicle trays and freeze 100% unsweetened juice, or crystal light in them for oh-so-good popsicles.
  • again with the popsicle trays, only this time, freeze yogurt! You could even put some crushed berries in the yogurt before freezing. Ooo this is so good. Just don't make them crazy big. (ie: 2 of the individual containers of Dannon/Activia Light yogurt would keep you at the famous 100 calorie mark) Everything in moderation.
  • rice cakes with almond butter spread on them.
  • trail mix. This is something you can pick away at - which is a good thing. It also can (especially if you concoct it yourself) contain nuts which, while being sinfully delicious are not so good in large quantities. (I have a lot of trouble just eating a few peanuts. Or Cashews. Or Almonds.) You'll get the healthy advantage of nuts while not over indulging in them. Beware though - this can get really high in fat and bad for you in no time. Just a little of everything will do. There are lots to choose from - unsalted peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts; unsalted sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds; dry cereal; dried fruit, raisins; pretzels... the grocery store is your oyster. This is something you would make in advance, and keep in individual ziplock bags for future enjoyment. This is also a good thing to keep in your purse. It won't spoil or leak, and it'll save you on the way home from work, or at the mall, or even while grocery shopping.
  • Fruit! I know I mentioned frozen fruit and whipped topping earlier, but there's also simple fruit. A small to medium sized bowl of cherries, bowl of grapes, a sliced apple, frozen (yep, frozen) orange slices, frozen grapes, peaches, plums, pears, berries, carambola (starfruit), melon, kiwi, apricot, 1/2 an avocado... there's lots to choose from.
  • Apple slices and peanut butter. I wouldn't recommend slicing the apples in advance unless you want to eat unattractive apple slices. If you do slice them in advance, you can either a: cut the apple underwater and keep it in the water until ready to eat, or b: keep them in a lemon-water solution (3:1).
  • a small bowl of cereal

Notable Notes

  • Be wary of 'all natural'. All natural can still be full of all natural sugar, which isn't your friend either, out of moderation.
  • Always check the labels. If you've got to pick a fat to stay away from, stay away from trans fat.
  • Don't be confused by the term 'multi-grain'. Multi-grain means more fiber (which isn't a bad thing). Not less calories and less fat. Many people associate multi-grain with low fat and low calorie, but in some cases multi-grain even has more fat and calories than it's counter-part.
  • Be wary of low fat. This one always annoys me. 'Try it now! Low fat!' should say 'Try it now! Low fat, higher sugars, and more calories! But low fat!'
  • Substitute. If you absolutely must have something specific, say, chocolate, opt for something like chocolate milk or hot chocolate before devouring a chocolate bar, and later staring resentfully at the empty wrapper.

This should be a pretty good start to your 'healthy late night snacking' life. There are tons of things you can eat and snack on that are healthy, and most of them are pretty inexpensive, too. (Bonus!) Healthy food does not have to be expensive.


Voila! You have late night snacking, made guilt-free.


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Comments 19 comments

ExpandYourMind profile image

ExpandYourMind 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Yummy. Great info and delicious pictures. Thanks for pulling this together.


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 6 years ago from Tennessee

I really need to keep all that in mind! I am bad for odd snacking times. Love this hub! It's so cute, too.


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 6 years ago from Tennessee

Well, that shouldn't be hard. I love rice cakes! I tend to stay up really late and eat just before I go to sleep. It's horrible. Lol.


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hah. I share that problem. For whatever reason I'm never 'tired enough to go to bed' until I've been up so long I'm hungry again. lol


myster!ous 6 years ago

Your hub makes me hungry. Thanks.


AnnaStephens 6 years ago

Great on all the ideas for healthy eating. Bad on making me absolutely ravenous from reading all those yummy foods!!!

Great hub

Anna


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks to both of you :) After reading through it here just now, I feel a little bad as I too am now hungry. lol

Glad you like the ideas! If I come across more, I'll keep on updating it. You can never have too many healthy snack options!


tnvrstar profile image

tnvrstar 5 years ago from doha, qatar

Thanx for sharing, your hub will certainly keep me to stay healthy and fit


txgal profile image

txgal 5 years ago from Texas

Those pics made me crave food at 10:30 p.m.


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 5 years ago from Canada Author

@tnvrstar

Thanks for your comment :) Healthy and fit is my aim!

@txgal

Heeheheh. I read my comments and whatnot in the evenings, and anytime I'm lead here I end up the same way. I just went and got myself some tortilla chips and salsa. lol


keripik setan 5 years ago

i didn't realize there are a plenty healthy food and very tasty too, thanks friend


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 5 years ago from Canada Author

You're very welcome, Keripik! Thank you for the feedback :)


jseven profile image

jseven 5 years ago from Michigan

I like some of these nighttime snacks and always try to get organic. Nice hub.


anonymous 4 years ago

let's be very clear - except for the "veggies" all the above suggested night time snacks contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates, which will spike blood sugar (combined with the decreased insulin sensitivity at night) and the resulting insulin secretion will make you store fat.

Obviously the food above is delicious, but don't eat it thinking that its healthy because you read it online. THIS WILL MAKE YOU FAT!


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 4 years ago from Canada Author

anonymous: Thank you for that info :)

This however, isn't something I simply read on the internet; this information comes both from the recommendations of a dietician, and my own personal experience, re: what worked for me.

After extensive research online, all of the above snacks have been deemed 'safe' for healthy snacking.

Everything has carbs, but it's not just the amount of carbs you consume, it's the type as well that matters. The above snacks, (note that I also note that moderation is required to maintain healthy snacking levels and not going overboard into unhealthy) are perfectly fine for snacking on. They are intended for occasional use when you need something to snack on, as a healthy alternative to a chocolate bar, a bag of Doritos, or a bag of chip nuts and some pop. Which all of them are.

The food above is not categorized as "diet food", and not listed under foods to make you lose weight. These are very simply healthier alternatives to other, worse snacks that are generally more commonly considered when the urge to snack hits.

Thank you for your comment, and the info about carbs. It’s very important to pay attention to carbs when your goal is to actually lose weight :)


lol 4 years ago

i thought this article was about healthy snacks at night but your talking about nachos and melting cheese , rice cakes with almond butter spread are you f ing kidding me ........


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 4 years ago from Canada Author

@ "lol"

Thank you for your colorful response.

The point of this article wasn't aimed at cottage cheese, vegetables and fruit with low sugars. It was aimed at giving people options that are within a healthy calorie range. Fact is, weight loss comes down less intake of calories than your calories expended.

Cheese is healthy for you in moderation. It even has dental benefits.

Tortilla chips, while not full of nutrients, are not going to break your diet either. Having a small amount can stave off a craving that could lead to a far worse indulgence, which was the point of my list. If you read through the hub, you should know that this list was created out of a need to have something more than a carrot, yet still remain under a reasonable caloric range. There are also several different types of tortilla chip available now, with increasingly lower sodium contents.

Rice cakes are a very healthy alternative to chips, crackers and cookies. They're very low in calories and fat. The only downside is that they lack the nutrients found in say.. a bowl of fruit.

Almond butter is high in a LOT of things, like vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. They're also high in fiber, and because of their a monounsaturated fat content not found in many other foods, they are generally considered a healthy food choice. In moderation. Many health experts - on and off line - recommend rice cakes with a think layer of peanut or almond butter as a healthy snack. My dietician included.

This article is exactly what I wanted it to be - a list of suggestions for people who are craving something more than carrots, but need help staying within a reasonable caloric range.

:)


L a d y f a c e profile image

L a d y f a c e 4 years ago from Canada Author

That should read "thin layer of peanut or almond butter"

not "think layer"


Marie Shanahan 3 years ago

Thanks for this. :) I've been doing something very similar and the weight is coming off, but it's coming off SO SLOW. I had to have my thyroid remove years ago, but never experienced any significant weight gain aside from the first year when I put on 3o pounds. It took a whole year to lose that, but when it came off, it stayed off. (I've always been tiny, 5 feet 1 inch and about 112 pounds at most.) Then, two years ago, at 43 years of age, I had a total hysterectomy and this where the weight and scar tissue "belly" came. I'm M I S E R A B L E because it is all in my stomach, so I look chubby in anything I wear. So having never snacked at night before, I do now because of those "menopause cravings." But I keep things light, so thank you for letting me know that I'm doing what I should be doing. Cheers! :)

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