While watching a movie on the couch or reading a book in your bed, you’re likely to participate in a common practice: eating at night. While some nutritionists recommend not eating after a certain time, the fact is that eating at night does not have to be unhealthy. As is the case with most forms of snacking, it can still be healthy to eat at night if the right foods are selected.. The most important thing to remember when eating at night is to keep your food choice within your daily caloric limit. If you should eat 1800 calories a day, in an effort to lose weight, and you have already consumed 1795, finding a snack that only has 5 calories may be difficult. However, if you have an extra 200 calories left in your “calorie bank” for the day, your options will be greater. Read on to find out what types of snacks are healthy to indulge in when eating at night.
Lean Sources of Protein
Because lean protein is muscle food, snacking on a quality source of protein at night will actually benefit your metabolism. In addition, protein is both filling and satisfying, leaving your desire to “graze” on a snack less likely. Lean sources of protein include boiled egg whites, grilled chicken, grilled turkey or even low-sodium deli meats. Vegetarians will find pleasure in soybean crisps, tofu and legumes. Nuts, such as almonds, chestnuts or pistachio nuts are good foods to snack on, with high protein amounts. When eating nuts, make sure to measure them out according to the amount of calories that are left in your calorie bank at the time of snacking.
Reduced Fat Dairy Products
Reduced fat dairy products can also be a healthy snack when eating at night. To reduce the amount of fat and calories that are being consumed at this time, purchase fat-free or low-fat varieties of cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt. Be careful to select varieties with low amounts of sugar, as this can cause a spike in insulin levels during the night hours.
Veggies always make a wonderful snack, including when eating at night. Keep fresh, raw vegetables sliced in your refrigerator that are easy to pull out when the craving for a snack attacks. Refrain from dipping these healthy treats in dressing, as it just adds unnecessary fats and calories. Good vegetables to snack on include carrot sticks, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. If your calorie bank allows, add a small amount of peanut butter to a stalk of celery for a serving of protein.
Generally, you should stay away from carbohydrates, such as fruits, pasta, breads and sweets when eating at night. If you are experiencing a nagging craving that you cannot overcome, your best options include plain oatmeal, flavored only with cinnamon if necessary, a small, plain sweet potato or brown rice.