What are the best healthy snacks for late-night?

If someone chooses to eat healthy food, then occasional late-night snacks aren’t usually an issue. If this becomes a habit, and people snack on unhealthy foods regularly, it can lead to weight gain or other symptoms.

There are some quick and easy snacks people can make if they feel hungry at night. These can be a range of fruits and nuts. Some foods might also have compounds that aid in sleeping.

This article explains why some people snack at night and the health consequences. This article also offers tips to help you avoid snacking at night.

What people eat at night, and the possible health implications.

There are many reasons people might snack at night. It may not be a problem if someone does it occasionally. If late-night snacking becomes a regular habit, it could be a sign of an underlying disorder or lead to potential health problems.

Boredom, emotional eating and sleep deprivation can lead to people eating later in the night. Some research suggests a link between emotional Eating, Depression and Obesity.

A 2018 review states that night-eating disorder (NES) can be described as a condition where someone eats more than 25% of their daily calories at night.

People with NES eat a lot of food at night, especially after getting up from bed. People with NES may eat less in the morning, have trouble sleeping, and often feel depressed.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who eat food at night and evening had higher body fat percentage and body weight index (BMI).

According to the authors, this could be due to the lower thermic effects of food after melatonin onset. This refers to a lower metabolism and energy use later in the night.

People with acid reflux (or gastroesophageal regurgitation disease (GERD) should avoid eating at night as it could exacerbate their symptoms. Experts recommend that people with GERD avoid eating for 3 hours before bed.

Breakfast is defined as “breaking a fast”. According to research, overnight fasting may be beneficial for your health and help you reduce your risk of becoming obese. It is best to avoid late-night snacking.

The best evening snacks

A balanced diet should be a goal for everyone.

A diet high in refined sugars or carbohydrates can cause blood sugar imbalances. Evidence indicates that high-glycemic (GI) foods can cause blood glucose dysregulation.

A person’s blood glucose dysregulation can negatively impact their mood and crave more food. A person could gain weight by eating high-GI foods and too many calories before bed.

Certain foods may contain compounds such as tryptophan or melatonin that help people sleep.

These are healthy snacks that you can eat if you are feeling hungry. It is important to remember that late-night snacking can lead to weight gain.

If you find yourself craving a lot of food at night, it is worth speaking with your doctor.

Tart cherries

A pilot 2019 study showed that Montmorency tart cherry extract increased the sleep efficiency and time of people over 50 with insomnia. The sleep-promoting properties of tart cherries could be due to their high levels of procyanidins and melatonin.

Many tart and sour cherries are sold in frozen form at grocery stores. To help you sleep, you could try eating them with natural yogurt containing tryptophan. Retailers can also sell Montmorency tart cherry liquid.

Turkey sandwich

Turkey is a good source of tryptophan. Light turkey meat contains more of it than dark turkey meat.

Studies have shown that tryptophan directly affects sleep. It is converted to serotonin and then to melatonin. This works in the pineal cell to induce sleep.

A 2016 study found that carbohydrates may help people absorb tryptophan to the brain. A turkey sandwich made from whole grain bread may be a good option for someone who needs to go to sleep.

Oatmeal

Oats are a natural source of melanin. Other cereals like wheat and barley are also good sources of this substance.

Oats are a whole food that is rich in vitamins and minerals. If a person wants to keep a moderate weight, they should eat fewer oats before bed. This could cause weight gain. A 40g (g) serving of oats has approximately 140 calories.

You can also sprinkle cinnamon over your oatmeal. Research suggests that cinnamon can balance blood glucose. This may help with cravings, weight and mood. It is also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

People with liver problems or taking medication, like warfarin, should consult their doctor before they consume cinnamon.

Bananas

Bananas can increase melatonin, which can aid in sleep. A medium banana has 105 calories. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are quick and easy to prepare to be eaten quickly before bed.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of Calcium. Research suggests that Calcium is important for bone health and may help with sleep. Another good source of HTML of tryptophan is this food.

Yogurt is high in protein which can make you feel fuller. Particularly, eating casein protein at bedtime can help to reduce hunger the next day.

It is best to choose plain varieties if you eat this food as a snack. You can add unsweetened fruits like berries to flavor it.

Nuts

According to the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day as part of a low-fat diet may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Another review suggests that nuts, especially pistachios contain the highest melatonin levels among plant foods.

The healthiest nuts are unflavored and unsalted. You can also try these types:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • hazelnuts
  • macadamia nuts
  • pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Although technically considered a legume, peanuts are a good source for tryptophan. A slice of toast with peanut butter can be a good evening snack since carbohydrates aid the body in absorbing tryptophan.

Eggs

A 2017 review found that eggs are another good source of melatonin. They are also good protein sources, with one egg containing 6.28g.

As an evening snack, a person could try a boiled egg with two oatcakes. They could also make egg and vegetable muffins to freeze for later use.

Other tips

You can also try these additional tips to help reduce late-night snacking:

  • Healthy meals: People who eat healthy meals every day can avoid snacking at night. People can feel satisfied until breakfast by eating healthy fats, protein, fiber and other healthy nutrients as part of their evening meals.
  • Sleeping in: A regular bedtime routine that includes a wind-down can help people fall asleep and prevent snacking.
  • Strategies to reduce stress: Meditation and mindfulness can help you overcome emotional eating. Individuals may also consider seeing a counselor or therapist help them fall asleep.
  • Regular exercise and physical activity can help to balance hunger hormones. It may help people sleep better and manage their stress.

Summary

If someone eats healthy food, late-night snacking should not be a problem. Frequent and excessive late-night snacking on unhealthy foods can lead to weight gain and exacerbate reflux symptoms.

Healthy foods like eggs, turkey, and nuts can be good snacks to help someone fall asleep. Regular, balanced meals, regular exercise, and a relaxed evening routine can help people avoid snacking late at night.

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