Sometimes hunger strikes long after dinner is over, and when you can’t fight that late-night craving it’s better to reach for something healthy than a sugary or greasy snack. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for midnight munchers that can satisfy the desire for something sweet or salty without overloading you with calories. The trick is to prepare your late-night smorgasbord ahead of time, because when you’re hungry before bed, you’re not going to want to spend a lot of time preparing your food. When you have healthy, delicious food ready to go, you’ll be less inclined to grab cookies or chips.
Here are a few late-night snack ideas you can enjoy the next time your tummy growls after dinner:
Smoothies made with fruit, low-fat yogurt and other nutritious ingredients can be great at any time of day, but when you get the midnight munchies, you may be looking for a smaller portion or just something bite-sized to snack on. If you love sweet treats, make some frozen smoothie bites and store them in your freezer.
All you have to do is blend a pitcher of your favorite ingredients and then pour the concoction into an ice cube tray, or two if you made a big batch. Then, cover the tray in plastic wrap and grab a handful of toothpicks. Poke a toothpick into the center of each cube. The plastic will hold the toothpicks upright, so when the smoothie freezes, you can easily pop out a cube at a time and eat them like lollipops.
Popcorn is a tasty, low-calorie snack that can satisfy a desire for a little crunch without going overboard on calories. Air-popping kernels is the best way to go, as this way there is no butter or oil involved. If you don’t have an air popper, pick up some microwave bags that don’t have added butter flavoring. You may even be able to find smaller packages that are designed for one to help keep your portions in check.
Plain popcorn can be a bit bland, but it doesn’t have to be. Season it with garlic or chili powder for a unique twist. You can also sprinkle the popcorn with a cinnamon-sugar blend if you want something sweeter, or toss the popped kernels with some agave nectar – you’ll need plenty of napkins for the last, sticky option. Experiment with different spice combinations to find your favorites. You can even make a big batch of popcorn and divvy it up into smaller portions, seasoning each one differently. Label them if you want, or make it a mystery each time you grab a bag.
Ants on a log
You may remember this treat from when you were a kid, but that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for adult snacking too. Chop up celery stalks into 2-inch logs and spread a bit of your favorite almond or peanut butter into the crevice. Don’t go overboard, as that can quickly crank up the calorie content. Traditionally, the “ants” on the log are raisins, but you can use anything you want that’s small enough. Dark chocolate chips could be decadent, while sunflower seeds will add an unexpected flavor. You can even mix up the toppings for a unique twist on this old favorite.
Other ready-to-eat snacks you can stock up on for late-night snacking include Greek yogurt, which is high in protein and will fill you up, whole-grain pretzels, chopped veggies and hummus, frozen fruits like blueberries and grapes, and dark chocolate chips. Portion them out in advance so you don’t eat too much right before bed.