Late-night snacking often comes with a stigma, but with the right choices, it can be a satisfying and beneficial part of your routine, particularly when aiming for weight loss. Discovering nutritious options for late-night cravings can not only satisfy your appetite but also contribute to a faster weight loss journey.
We spoke with Kelsey Costa, a registered dietitian nutritionist; and Emily Johnson, RD, nutritionist, to learn about three late-night snacks that are not only delicious, but can also help in losing weight. They shared that cottage cheese with cinnamon, almonds, and kiwis are the treats you can indulge in.
Cottage Cheese With Cinnamon
Cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon emerges as a nutritious and flavorful choice for a healthy late-night snack. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, providing a satisfying and satiating option to keep you feeling full during the evening. The addition of cinnamon not only enhances the taste but also brings its own set of health benefits, including potential blood sugar regulation.
"Cottage cheese is high in protein which helps keep you full. Adding in a spoonful of cinnamon brings some sweetness and boosts metabolism," says Johnson.
To incorporate this snack into your late-night routine, consider enjoying a bowl of cottage cheese with a dash of cinnamon, or adding fresh fruit like sliced strawberries or apple chunks for added sweetness and texture.
Almonds stand out as a nutritious and satisfying choice for a healthy late-night snack. Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, almonds can promote a sense of fullness and provide sustained energy without the drawbacks of excessive sugars.
Costa highlights the benefits of almonds and says, "Almonds are a nutrient-rich snack widely recognized for their numerous health benefits, including the potential to even enhance sleep quality (so much better than common junk foods that disturb your sleep after a late-night snacking session). Their substantial content of essential nutrients like phosphorus, riboflavin, and manganese, along with their monounsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants, contribute to reducing the risks of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease." She adds that "they are a source of melatonin and the mineral magnesium, both of which are understood to aid in promoting better sleep, making almonds an excellent late-night snack choice."
Incorporating almonds into your late-night routine can be as simple as enjoying a handful of raw or lightly roasted almonds. Additionally, you can mix them with a small portion of dark chocolate for a delightful treat that combines sweetness with the nutty goodness of almonds.
Kiwis emerge as a refreshing and healthful option for a late-night snack, offering a combination of unique flavor and nutritional benefits. These vibrant green fruits are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C, along with dietary fiber and antioxidants.
"Kiwis, loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, and carotenoids, are a low-calorie snack that can contribute to weight loss and overall health. Not only do they contribute to digestive wellness, reduced inflammation, and lower cholesterol, but they also have been shown in studies to promote better sleep, thanks in part to their serotonin content. Consuming 1-2 medium kiwis before bedtime may potentially enhance sleep quality by helping you fall asleep faster, experience fewer sleep disruptions, and achieve longer overall sleep times," says Costa.
Enjoying sliced kiwis on their own is a convenient and delicious option, providing a sweet and tart flavor. For added indulgence, consider pairing kiwi slices with a small serving of Greek yogurt or incorporating them into a fruit salad.
The Bottom Line
Costa highlights that what makes these choices a smart late-night option are its "low calorie content, high nutritive value, and sleep-promoting components. Almonds and kiwis, packed with essential nutrients and fiber, provide a sense of fullness and contribute to better sleep, which studies have linked to healthier weight management. These qualities contrast sharply with common high-sugar and high-fat snacks that can disrupt sleep and encourage weight gain."
She also notes that while moderation is key here, we should opt for wholesome snacks that promote sleep, as it's crucial to steer clear of sleep-disrupting elements such as sugar, spicy foods, fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol during the later part of the day.