photo by Ola Mischchenko

Many nutritionists agree that when it comes to eating, you should have a cut off time that will be several hours before bed. That will give your body plenty of time to digest what you consume and promote a restful night’s sleep. Of course, that can often mean you eat an early dinner and by the time your favorite show comes on TV, you are starving. Having the occasional late-night snack is not going to upend your diet plan provided that snack is on the healthy side. Don’t worry!

You can still be totally satisfied and eat healthy even with a snack.

Hummus and Whole Grain Crackers or Veggies

Hummus is one of those “superfoods” that always makes for a good snack. One of the reasons is that it is packed with protein. You’ll get up to three grams of protein from every two tablespoons of this chickpea treat. Why is protein important for a late-night snack? That is what will fill you up and not leave you craving more food. As for the dipping, it is a good idea to go with whole grain crackers. It is even a better idea to go with cut up veggies. There are also plenty of flavor varieties of hummus that will ensure that your taste buds will never get bored.

Oatmeal

How often do you have “breakfast for dinner?” It turns out that you can also have “breakfast for a midnight snack.” More specifically, oatmeal. The oat part of oatmeal is categorized as a complex carb. That will help them break down slowly through your digestive system. That’s always preferred in the food that you eat because it helps regular blood sugar levels that could disrupt your sleep. There is also the “comfort factor” to consider. If you think of a warm bowl of oatmeal as a comfort food, then your brain will be released serotonin upon consumption and that just calms things down all over.

Popcorn

Who doesn’t love curling up with a bowl of popcorn while watching a movie on TV? As a snack, popcorn is low in calories and it also the complex kind of carb that is perfect for late night snacking. The only caution with popcorn is how it is prepared and what you add to it. A healthy alternative to popping in oil (yes, there is oil in a bag of microwave popcorn) is to invest in an air popper that uses hot air to trigger the pop of the corn. As for the topping, try to avoid melted butter. Instead, you can use flavor packets from salad dressing mixes, seasoned salts and even tabasco.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Finally, the ultimate late-night snack might just be the ultimate lunch sandwich: Old fashion P,B & J. Peanut butter is a good source of tryptophan. That’s the amino acid that induces sleep that is found in turkey. The carbs in your sandwich provide the one-way ticket to brain for the tryptophan. Plus, it’s protein and fiber which is always a powerhouse combination for a late-night snack.

Just be sure that after snacking that you brush your teeth. You don’t want to get in trouble with your dentist!