Eating past 8 p.m. has gotten a bad rap! In reality, the reason you may have gained (or not been able to lose) weight probably has more to do with what you are eating and how much you are eating rather than the time of day you are eating. Nothing at night, if done healthfully, can offer some surprising benefits. Eating the right protein at night can help you build muscle while you sleep. Eating low-glycemic carbs at night can help control your blood sugar the next day and even help you regulate your appetite. Here are 16 snacks that are OK to eat at night. Some are not-so-guilty pleasures, some are great snacks to have after a light dinner and others make fantastic post-workout snacks (for those of you who work out at night).
HIGH-PROTEIN “CAKE BATTER”
Everyone loves cake batter. Dieters everywhere covet the delicious, rich, creamy consistency. But this indulgence doesn’t need to be off-limits. This high-protein version will satisfy the strongest late-night cravings — and it packs in 19 grams of protein! Combining vanilla protein powder and heavy cream with pumpkin spice gives a warm flavor and spicy feel, but you can pick any flavor of you like. CALORIES: 274.
Who doesn’t like cold and creamy desserts? Unfortunately, most of the standard store-bought frozen desserts are packed with calories and sugar. Here is a simple dessert that uses frozen mango and coconut milk to make a dish your friends will rave about. To make it vegan, opt for a vegan protein powder like hemp, brown rice or pea. CALORIES: 171.
NO-BAKE HONEY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
These simple-to-make no-bake cookies contain the great flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate, along with a little hint of sweetness from honey. The addition of oats adds a punch of fiber and plant protein that makes them very satisfying. This recipe works well with miniature muffin tins as well. It makes about eight cookies — so one tin is more than enough. Tip: To cut down on calories, you can make 16 half-size cookies instead. CALORIES: 238.
Chocolate is often seen as a forbidden food — but not all chocolate is created equal. There is a big nutritional difference between your average convenience-store chocolate candy and cacao-rich dark chocolate. The dark chocolate lacks the high added sugar content of traditional chocolate and instead provides you an antioxidant punch that has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, fight inflammation and improve your mood. Next time you need to wind down at night, have an ounce of your favorite dark chocolate (70 percent cacao or greater).
Pistachios in the shell are an excellent nighttime snack because the shelling process requires some work, consequently slowing down how fast you can eat them. The slower you eat, the less you will consume. Another bonus with pistachios is that you get to eat more nuts per ounce (49 nuts) than any other nut. The combination of getting to eat more and having to eat them slower makes pistachios one of the best options. In addition, nuts come with a unique nutritional package because they contain fiber, biotin, vitamin B6, thiamin, folate, unsaturated fats and plant sterols, all of which makes them highly nutritious as well as satisfying. If you are looking for something more, you can pair pistachios with goat cheese or a fruit like raspberries.