Sampson Independent

Smart snacks to have before bed

Sometimes, hunger strikes at night. You’re in the middle of a Netflix binge, and your stomach starts to rumble. But when it’s so close to lights out, you need to choose your snacks wisely, you don’t want to eat something heavy that will keep you up all night while your body tries to digest it. Reach for low-calorie, sleep-inducing foods, full of nutrients that will satisfy. Here are six great options for you to try.

Reduced-fat cheese

This savory treat has protein and fat, so it will stop hunger in its tracks. Just stick with light varieties, preferably portion controlled, to avoid overdoing it. Grab a serving of Snack Bites cheese snacks, a stick of light string cheese or a slice of reduced-fat cheddar.

Nonfat Greek yogurt

The plain kind is my top pick to stave off late night hunger. It’s loaded with protein and low in calories Avoid the flavored kinds, which are usually higher in calories and chockfull of sugar. If it’s too tart on its own, stir in some natural no-calorie sweetener and vanilla extract. Stock up on the pre-portioned containers, because they make a great anytime snack. You can also toss in fruit and nuts for a healthy no-cook breakfast.

Turkey-pickle roll-up

You’ve probably heard that turkey makes you sleepy, so it makes sense that it’s a good pre-bed snack. No need for a full sandwich though! Wrap turkey slices around some pickle or cucumber spears for a low-calorie snack. Dunk in mustard for added flavor. It’s one of those smart snacks you’re probably not eating.

Chickpeas

These little legumes provide a great punch of protein and other important nutrients. Grab a can, drain and rinse, and enjoy a ½ cup serving for only around 110 calories. Even better, Crunch chickpea snacks are becoming increasingly popular. You could make your own with a simple recipe.

Apple and peanut butter

With this easy to make snack, the apple’s filling fiber, and peanut butter’s healthy fat team up to tame your hunger. Stick with a single tablespoon of peanut butter to avoid a too heavy treat.

Broth-based soup

A warm cup of soup is soothing, and it’s ideal for putting you in that calming mindset you want before you hit the hay. Simple is best: broth, protein, and veggies.

Only eat if you are truly hungry, try to get to bed at a decent hour, and aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. We all need sleep to function properly, especially when losing weight is a concern. Sleep is an important component of any healthy eating and weight loss plan. Also, incorporate healthy fats, proteins, and carbs throughout your daily meals and you’re less likely to have these nighttime cravings. These tasty snacks are just as great during the day.

By Lethia Lee

Contributing columnist

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP Program Assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.