Ever had those hunger pangs right before bed?
Maybe it’s because you ate dinner too early or you’re up a little later than usual.
Either way, you know you should ignore them and go to sleep but eventually you find yourself rummaging through the fridge.
If you’re trying to lose weight this can feel like a bit of a nightmare situation.
But there are some snacks you can have before bed that will actually curb your late night cravings and keep you satisfied through your slumber.
Here are five healthy alternatives to stock up on for the next time you fancy a midnight snack…
You may be surprised to hear that popcorn is actually one of the healthier snacks out there.
But we’re talking about the air-popped stuff, not the butter-drenched or sugar-laden kind you get at the cinema.
In fact, it’s conveniently low-calories, at around 122 calories for a 30g portion.
Popcorn is also low in fat, high in fibre and makes a great alternative to crisps.
Carissa Bealert, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in the US, told Medical Daily: “It’s a whole grain, plus contains fibre which supports good digestive health.”
The healthiest way to enjoy popcorn is to make it yourself at home using the kernels.
But if you opt for pre-made varieties, the plainer the better – flavours like toffee or chocolate will have more added ingredients.
2. Baby carrots
So as well as helping us see in the dark, carrots are now being touted as a perfect bedtime snack.
Okay, we’re not so sold on the whole night vision thing but experts actually recommend munching on a few of the baby vegetables to satisfy your late night cravings.
Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian based in New York, says they’re a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A and potassium.
They also contain alpha-carotene which is believed to have a positive impact on sleep.
Gorin said another reason baby carrots work as a bedtime snack is because of the “crunch factor” – as they may work as a good alternative for crisps.
3. Greek yogurt
Yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium, which has been linked to improved sleep when eaten before bed.
It also is a good source of protein – known to curb hunger.
Not only that, but Greek yogurt in particular is rich in casein protein, which when consumed at night could reduce hunger in the morning, studies have suggested.
Look for brands that are fat-free and probiotic-rich for maximum health benefits.
4. Crackers with hummus
Munching on some wholegrain crackers and hummus can be another great pre-bed snack.
As well as being nutritious, it’s also said to help aid sleep.
Registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey told Medical Daily: “Chickpeas contain the amino acid tryptophan, which gets turned into serotonin and converted into melatonin.
“The fibre and protein from the chickpeas, plus with the carbohydrates in the crackers, can help you fall asleep while keeping you full.”
5. Cottage cheese
It’s not to everyone’s taste, but a protein-rich snack like cottage cheese may help to up your metabolism – plus it’s also super low fat.
Scientists from Florida State University claim that eating 30g of protein about 30 minutes before bed may have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health.
To test the effect of consuming whole foods rather than synthetic protein shakes or supplements on fat loss and muscle recovery, scientists got a group of active women in their 20s to eat cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
They found that being low in carbs and high in protein, it was found to have a beneficial effect on metabolic rate and muscle recovery.
It also tends to be digested slowly by the body, which means the energy is released through the night instead of all at once – an effect which could improve sleep quality.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was republished here with permission.