Have you ever felt hungry in the middle of the night, when you were studying or working? Eating a heavy meal for dinner can make you full and even make you sleepy. When midnight cravings are impossible to evade, late night snacks are the only thing that helps.
Here are some of the best affordable and healthy late night snacks that you might really like.
01. Whole-Grain Crackers & Cheddar Cheese
What about taking a “Superfood” night? No worries, it’s not a heavy meal or anything just a small snack. There is nothing else that helps you stay full other than protein, and whole-grain crackers and cheese are a tasty snack full of carbs and proteins. If you have trouble sleeping, this is an excellent combination to eat late at night since carb-rich food like whole-grain crackers and cheese helps you to sleep much better.
Per Serving: 4 crackers | 132 calories | 17.2 carbs | 2.8g protein | 6g fat | sugar 3.2g | Cost: 1.72$/pack
There is no organic snack like a tree nut that is beneficial for our physical and brain health at the same time. Walnuts, peanuts, and almonds also do some fantastic work providing us with these benefits. But pistachios work like magic, help your brain focus, and enable you to sleep better since it has plentiful amounts of melatonin.
Per Serving: 1 oz| 170 calories | 9 carbs | 6g protein | 13g fat | 2g glucose | 0.4$/1oz
High Fiber fruit like a banana does make a good late-night snack, and if you can mix it up with almonds or almond butter, you could add more health benefits. Banana also helps prevent diseases like high blood pressure, and asthma. Eating bananas dipped in almond butter late at night can help you fall asleep easily after finishing your work.
Per Serving: 1 medium banana| 105 calories | 17g carbs | 1g protein | 0g fat | 14g glucose | 0.22$
04. Hummus and Veggies
Let’s face the reality; there is no other thing like green veggies that have so many nutrients all packed together. Get a quarter full cup of traditional chickpea hummus and mix it up with a cup filled with sliced bell pepper, celery, carrots, cauliflower, or any vegetable you may like to eat with hummus. One study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that eating high fiber and low saturated fat and sugar foods will slowly put you to sleep.
Per Serving: 2 oz| 132 calories | 11.3g carbs | 3.8g protein | 7.6g fat | 2g sugar | below 2$
05. Boiled Eggs
Keeping some hard-boiled eggs in your refrigerator when you need a quick snack late at night is perfect. You could also use eggs with other snacks, for example, you could make an egg salad for a spread on crackers, or you could make egg muffins. Eggs are rich in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin D and E. If you could make an avocado egg salad, you can add more nutrition to your late-night snack.
Per Serving: 1 egg| 103 calories | 0.1g carbs | 7.6g protein | 8.5g fat | 0.1g glucose | 0.11$
06. Pumpkin Seeds
Sick of nuts? But you still want the salty and bedtime snack you can munch on just like nuts? Well, there is no other that pumpkin seeds that’ll full fill your midnight cravings and put you to sleep right after. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan and magnesium, which help our sleep. One study found that people who took pumpkin seeds daily with a nutrition bar, which is full of carbs, slept 7% better than those who didn’t.
Per Serving: 1 oz| 141.8 calories | 1.8g carbs | 7.1g protein | 11.5g fat | 0.9g glucose | 0.35$/1 oz
07. Trail Mix
Ever bought snack packs from amazon? There are tons of them available there, but what if you could make it yourself and save money? You could buy trail mix snack packs, but it’s also possible to make it on your own without sweating a bit. All you have to do is mix some dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. You would be saving while snacking on a delicious snack pack you made.
Per Serving: 1 oz| 131calories | 18g carbs | 1.9g protein | 4.3g fat | 13.2g glucose | 0.20$/1 oz
Worried about cooking late-night snacks? No worries, edamame can be bought frozen or fresh. You just have to mix it up with some pepper; you won’t need to cook it. Also, you could buy dry-roasted edamame if you’re worried about cooking. Edamame is a rich protein food just like green soybeans, and dry-roasted edamame has a high-calorie level compared to fresh edamame.
Per Serving: 3 oz| 120 calories | 9.4g carbs | 10.2g protein | 4.3g fat | 1.9g glucose | 0.12$/1 oz
Eating oatmeal in the mornings is pretty much healthy for you, but did you know that eating oatmeal at night time has its benefits too? Oatmeal is packed with carbs, which may control your blood sugar and bring you to sleep much faster. If you missed dinner without realizing having oatmeal late at night will be the perfect meal for you.
Per Serving: 1 oz| 113.4 calories | 18.1g carbs | 1.1g protein | 4g fat | 9.1g glucose | 0.07$/1 oz
10. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
As you already know, melatonin aids our sleep, and to make melatonin from tryptophan; we need calcium. Greek yogurt is a perfect source of calcium. People love to eat ice cream at night, but it’s not a healthy snacking choice, so you could replace ice cream with low-fat greek yogurt if you want to get some sleep at night.
Per Serving: 1 cup| 112 calories | 4g carbs | 3g protein | 9g fat | 4g glucose | 0.64$/1 cup
11. Turkey Sandwich
Remember, after thanksgiving dinner, you suddenly felt sleepy absolutely for no reason, and you thought it was just because you were tired. Well, that’s partly true, and the turkey had a small part too since it’s rich in tryptophan. Pair it up with whole-grain bread to get some additional carbs and help you sleep. But keep in mind this is one high calory sandwich.
Per Serving: 1 sandwich| 297 calories | 43g carbs | 25g protein | 5g fat | 4g glucose | 5$/1 sandwich
Worried about gaining weight after late-night snacking? And you still want to eat in large amounts for a while till you fall asleep? Look no more; strawberries are filled with vitamin C and melatonin, which aids sleep and, as a plus, they do not have a high-calorie level so you could always eat in large amounts.
Per Serving: 10 oz| 127.6 calories | 34g carbs | 2.8g protein | 0g fat | 22.7g glucose | 0.14$/oz
13. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are similar to strawberries, and it has rich levels of carbs and melatonin. You could also drink tart cherries at night if you don’t like to eat cherries. A study found that drinking tart cherry juice before bed helps adults sleep much more comfortably. Another study found that eating cherries help regulate your internal clock and increases overall sleep efficiency.
Per Serving: 2 oz| 178 calories | 40.9g carbs | 4g protein | 0g fat | 29g glucose | 0.23$/1 oz
14. Protein Smoothies
Our daily lives involve a lot of physical activities, whether you are a student or an office workers. After the day is done, most of us are heavily tired. That is because when we work or exercise, our muscles sometimes get damaged a bit; sleep help repair them. Protein-rich smoothies help this process, and since smoothies are made with milk, it is also rich in tryptophan; they can also help your sleep.
Per Serving: 1 scoop| 120 calories | 11g carbs | 15g protein | 2g fat | 12g glucose | 0.20$/1 oz
15. Cereal and Milk
Cereal is not only for breakfast, but it is also a good nighttime meal. If you’ve missed your dinner and you’re still hungry at midnight, you could eat cereal with milk and make it a bit interesting; you can mix nuts and dried fruits, even cinnamon if you’d like it. Cereal with milk is a hot source of melatonin, and besides putting away your hunger, it can also help your sleep.
Per Serving: 1 cup| 72 calories | 14g carbs | 15g protein | 1.7g fat | 4.6g sugar | 0.30$/1 oz
16. Air-Popped Pop Corn
Popcorn contains a hormone called serotonin, which helps you relax. If you want to eat in large amounts and don’t like to eat fruit like strawberries or cherries, popcorn is the best go-to snack at bedtime. Also, popcorn is a fiber-rich food that may help put away your midnight hunger.
Per Serving: 1 cup| 98 calories | 20g carbs | 3.4g protein | 1.2g fat | 1.5g glucose | 0.35$/1 oz
17. Herbal Tea
Drinking coffee or water at night can affect the way you sleep. But if you still want to drink something at night other than a smoothie, herbal tea will be the best solution. Drinking herbal tea like chamomile, valerian root, and lavender can help you fall asleep faster and even decrease nighttime awakenings.
Per Serving: 8 oz| 88 calories | 18g carbs | 1.5g protein | 0g fat | 14g glucose | 3$/20 tea bags
UNHEALTHY LATE-NIGHT SNACKS YOU SHOULD AVOID
There are a few types of food and snacks you should avoid at night because they can affect your health and sleep negatively. Lucky for you, there are some alternatives you could choose to eat at bedtime.
Here are the unhealthy late night snacks you should stay away from and alternatives that you can take.
Oh no, not pizza. It’s hard to understand, but pizza is a high-calorie food and can cause heartburn keeping you up late at night. So, stay away from pizza at night, no matter hard it is.
Alternative: Turkey Sandwich
Who doesn’t like to snack on salty chips, it’s a delicious snack. But you should avoid it at bedtime if you don’t want to stay up till the morning and it’s terrible for your mood.
There is no doubt that chocolate has some health benefits that other snacks don’t. But it’s high in sugar and caffeine, so if you eat it at night, it can keep you awake and mess with your mind.
Alternative: Strawberries and cherries
04. Ice Cream
Fat and Sugar are not a great combination to take near bedtime. If you choose to go with chocolate flavor since it has caffeine, it can also affect your sleep.
Alternative: Greek Yogurt
Drinking water is never bad since it has a lot of benefits, but if you drink water near bedtime, it can also affect your sleep cycle and harms your health.
Alternative: Herbal Tea, Protein Smoothies
Why Should You Eat Late At Night?
There are a few reasons people eat late at night; some of them could be unhealthy such as stress eating. Before choosing a snack, you should always ask yourself why you are eating late at night. Some of the situations can be understandable, but you should always think about how it might affect your health.
When you missed dinner due to your work or studies, you could take a late-night snack instead of a heavy meal at night. It’ll work like magic making your hunger go away.
Sometimes you just wake up at midnight for no reason, and all you can think about is eating something delicious. But eating high-calorie food can make you gain weight. So you could eat late night snacks instead if you don’t want to gain weight.
To Sleep Better
Sometimes falling asleep is hard at night. Late night snacks can aid your help since they have plentiful levels of melatonin, a chemical that helps us to sleep better at night.
Is Late Night Snacking Bad for Your Health?
You may have heard that late night snacking is bad for your health. Well, in some cases, yes, it can be horrible. But most of the time it’s because of the nighttime food you’re eating.
Some of that nighttime food you take have a high level of calories; there is a chance of gaining weight. Stick to a snack that has less than 200 calories per serving.
Affects Sleep Cycle
We take our rest in our sleep, helping our worn-out muscles to gain strength again from the food we eat. If your late night snacks are not helping you sleep, you will feel more tired the next day.
If you have no control over your snacking, it can seriously affect your health in a lot of ways, such as weight gain. Always control your daily snack intake.
These are common with any food you take at night, even dinner. So, munching the right type of nighttime snack can help you overcome those.
What To Eat and Not to Eat Late At Night?
When we go to sleep, our muscle usage slows down, so eating high calory food at night can indeed make you gain weight, especially if you had any heavy meal such as rice for your dinner. For your midnight cravings, you should not eat a heavy meal or high calory snack.
There are a few types of foods that can be healthy and even help your sleep if taken at night. Keeping the calorie level below 200 when you choose the snack or the drink you want to take at night can help you not worry about weight gain.
Conclusion – Healthy Late Night Snacks for College Students
Working at night or studying at night is needed sometimes, But the thing is people often forget that if they didn’t get enough sleep at night, it might affect their studies or work the next day.
It’s not easy to fall asleep when you have so many things to study or a lot of files to go over. Healthy late night snacks can aid your sleep and put a stop to your midnight cravings.
Late Night Snacking can be both beneficial and harmful to your health. It depends on the nighttime snack you choose to take. Understanding why you should eat at night is vital as the snack you are going to choose.