06 Sep The Truth About Evening Snacks
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Snacking at night has gotten a bad reputation, and many folks feel bad about doing it. Oftentimes, it can be more about habit than hunger, but sometimes you truly do need a little something before bedtime. Having an early or light dinner or exercising after dinner, are a few times where munching on an evening snack is appropriate. Snacking, in general, is a great opportunity to take in nutrients you may have missing during meals. The problem is most late night choices tend to be laden with salt or sugar (or both!), but the same criteria for choosing healthy snacks during the day should apply to your bedtime snacks.
When Should You Snack?
When you do have an evening snack, give yourself at least 1 to 2 hours before you hit the sack, if possible. You also want to keep it light (no fried or super fatty foods) to avoid any digestive issues that may disrupt sleep.
What Should You Snack On?
Greek yogurt is one of my favorite go-to evening snacks (I know, I wrote the book on it) – really I can eat it anytime of the day, but I especially enjoy something sweeter at night. It’s a source of high quality protein, calcium and often vitamin D. A recent study found that yogurt had the highest nutrient-density score among the most popular American snacks, including milk, fruit, nuts and cookies. This means it had more nutrient bang for your buck per the calories it contains. However, even though yogurt was ranked the highest in terms of nutrient-density, it was the least consumed out of the top 14 snacks. It’s just another reason why you should stock up on several cups of Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt. That way, the next time that post dinner hunger strikes, you have a healthy snack to grab. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, try Oikos Triple Zero and add your favorite topping.
Some of my other go-to evening snack choices include a small bowl of oatmeal, an apple with peanut butter, half of a PB&J sandwich on whole wheat bread, and raw veggies dipped in hummus.
When Should You Skip It?
If your evening hunger spikes sometimes it’s because you’re tired or bored. This is called emotional eating. If you ate plenty throughout the day, an evening snack may not be the best idea. When emotional hunger strikes sip on a cup of herbal tea, read a book, or take a warm bath before bed. Also, reflect on your eating schedule and determine if you’re eating enough throughout the day and set a cutoff time to stop eating in the evening.