If you’re no stranger to late night cravings, you’re in the right place. Some nights just call for an extra snack at the end of the day. Not all late-night snacks are created equal, however. Some midnight bites are better than others at curbing cravings and setting you up for a great morning the next day.
For nutritious, yet indulgent, snack options that will curb your after-dinner hunger pangs without keeping you awake all night, check out these late-night snack options.
1. Cookie Dough Protein “Milkshake”
Instead of raiding the freezer for that old pint of ice cream tucked in the back, whip up a protein-rich milkshake sure to satisfy your sweet-tooth. Just add a few scoops of edible cookie dough to your favorite, blended protein shake or smoothie recipe, or simply throw it in the blender with your preferred milk option, some frozen yogurt or a handful of ice.
Protein helps to keep you satiated, so you’re less likely to wake in the night with a growling stomach. A milkshake or protein shake with bioavailable isolate protein is even better, as it undergoes a process to increase the protein content and reduce carbohydrates and fat.
2. N’ice Cream Sundae
Take this classic late-night dessert up a notch. Top some n’ice cream, or blended frozen bananas, with chocolate chips, drizzles of caramel, fruit, chocolate sauce, dollops of cookie dough or other toppings.
N’ice cream is a great late snack choice, as bananas are a natural relaxant due to their potassium content. Top your sundae with an extra drizzle of warm nut butter, which will help to trigger the sensation of satiation in your body. Choose almond butter for extra magnesium, which also helps your body to stay asleep throughout the night.
3. Smoothie Bowl
Like ice cream, or n’ice cream, but fruitier. What makes a smoothie bowl even better is the option to pile on the sweet toppings. When a craving for gummy bears, sprinkles or cookies strike, rather than grab handfuls of candy, just top a fresh smoothie bowl with a few sweet bites.
Smoothie bowls are like eating ice cream, but with half the guilt. Thicker and less drinkable than their liquid counterparts, smoothie bowls are endlessly customizable. Ditch the typical sugar-laden ingredients found in mall kiosk smoothies or ice cream bowls in favor of sleep-promoting ingredients like nut milk, flax seeds, almonds and chia seeds.
4. Dough Bites
It’s rarely a bad time for cake or cookies, but at bedtime, you’re probably not up for measuring flour and cracking eggs. Skip a few steps and roll safe-to-eat dough into balls and get snacking. If you’re feeling ambitious, dough balls can be rolled or dipped in shredded coconut, melted chocolate or healthy, whole grains.
The addition of whole grains, such as oats, is an excellent late night choice because they are a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly in your system, reducing blood sugar spikes that might keep you up throughout the night. Complex carbs also make it easier for your brain to produce tryptophan and melatonin, both beneficial for restful sleep.
5. Dessert Dips
Head to the pantry, grab some graham crackers, rice cakes or baked fruit chips and scoop them into a decadent, homemade dip. Cream cheese or yogurt can be whipped with other sweet ingredients like jam, pudding, cocoa powder, edible cookie dough or maple syrup for a relatively sinless snack.
For a late night snack that also promotes a better night’s sleep, choose Greek yogurt as a base for your dessert dip. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, but the added calcium in yogurt comes in to boost your brain’s production of melatonin and tryptophan as well.
6. Sweet and Salty Bites
One of the most classic combinations, it’s hard to go wrong with a mix of sweet and salty snacks. Chocolate dipped potato chips, salted caramel, jam & goat cheese — the possibilities are essentially never-ending.
Pretzels are the ideal vehicle for other sweet ingredients like yogurt, cookie dough and melted caramel. Better still, you can sandwich scoops of your favorite sweet treats between two salty pretzels for a satisfying bite that combines the best of both snack worlds.