The clock is creeping past ten. You’re unwinding in your pajamas, snuggled into the couch, wrapped up a cozy throw blanket… when your stomach grumbles. You know you “aren’t supposed to” eat after 8pm, but is that really a hard rule? And who made the rule? Why do you have to follow it?
As it turns out, the supposed link between weight gain and late-night eating is a myth. Our metabolism doesn’t slow down at night, converting everything we ate into fat. The same daytime rules apply at nighttime: everything in moderation. That said, we’ve compiled a collection of tasty late night snacks that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
Late Night Snacks You Can Feel Good About
1. Strawberry Smoothie. Combine vanilla yogurt, milk or your preferred milk substitute, frozen strawberries and blend. Depending on how sweet the yogurt is, add honey to sweeten the shake. Using Greek yogurt will increase your protein intake — on average 15 to 20 grams per 6 ounces — and make for a more satisfying snack. Low fat yogurt is also an option for reduced calorie intake.
2. Avocado Toast. Simply make a piece of toast and slice up half of a small avocado. Smash the avocado on top of the toast with a fork. Add other toppings like nutritional yeast, green onions, sliced radishes, or baby arugula. Using multigrain or sprouted bread will increase both your fiber and protein intake.
3. Frozen Grapes. This may sound a little strange if you’ve never done it before, but trust us — frozen grapes are delicious. Pull grapes from their stems and place them in a freezer bag. Once they’re frozen you have snackable sorbet. This is a wonderful low-calorie option for those of us who like to reach for a frozen treat at night.
4. Whole Wheat Crackers with Cheese and Turkey. Fiber-rich woven wheat crackers are low in calories and very satisfying. Just six Triscuit crackers contain 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Top with thin slices of your favorite cheese and roast turkey. Very satisfying!
5. Quesadilla Half. Heat one 8-inch multigrain tortilla on a skillet and place grated cheese on one half. Layer with other toppings if desired (deli meats, baby spinach, green onions), top half with second layer of cheese and fold the quesadilla in half. Once one side is toasted, flip and toast the other side until the cheese is melted through. Serve with salsa and enjoy!
6. Greek Yogurt and Low-Fat Granola. As we mentioned earlier, Greek yogurt is packed with protein so a small serving will ward off hunger for a long time. Combine the yogurt with the fiber punch of granola, top with honey, and you have a sweet, creamy, and crunchy snack.
7. Ham and Provolone Roll-Ups. Cut out the carbs with these quick and easy ham and provolone roll-ups. Spread a thin layer of mustard on a slice of provolone, top with a slice of ham, and roll it up! Packed with protein and flavor, this filling snack will put an end to your hunger pangs.
8. Dark Chocolate. If you’re craving chocolate, the darker the better. Milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate and contains more milk, sugar, and cream. Savoring a little bit of quality dark chocolate will satisfy your craving and will be a relatively healthy treat.
9. Banana and Peanut Butter. Snacks don’t get much easier than this! Simply spread a little bit on peanut butter on a banana as you peel it. While peanut butter is high in protein, it’s also high-calorie and high in saturated fat, so spread accordingly.
10. DIY Popcorn. Air pop your own popcorn at home or pop with oil. Either way, it will be far better for you than the sodium and chemical-loaded stuff that comes out of the microwave. The benefit of popping it yourself is that you’re in control of the toppings — what they are and how much. Add a little parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or zesty lime seasoning. Have fun with it!
11. Black Bean Salad and Tortilla Chips. Keeping a batch of black bean salad in the fridge is a great way to spice up salads, rice, and other side dishes throughout the week. It’s also wonderful as a flavorful and hearty snack on a handful of tortilla chips.
12. Pita with Veggies and Hummus. Cut a small whole wheat pita in half, open up the pocket and spread the inside with hummus. Place mixed greens and sliced veggies inside for a fresh and tasty treat!
For more ideas for how to unwind in your pajamas this winter, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.