You do everything you’re supposed to do…You consume 5 meals a day and try not to consume your last meal too late - as experts usually advise. But what if we get these late-night cravings just before we go to bed? This can happen. There are many reasons and we will see them right away…
Reason 1. Your meals may not be as balanced and complete as you might think, and therefore you are not feeling full.
Reason 2. Perhaps you follow an intense workout program and eventually need more energy, i.e. more calories in your day.
Reason 3. Maybe you are just used to consuming more food in the evening. This is simply a habit that you should (gradually) change.
Reason 4. Perhaps you sleep for very few hours and, therefore, your body needs more energy to cope with everyday life.
Reason 5. You may not have a proper schedule… Sometimes you eat your breakfast early in the morning, while at other times you don’t. Your midday or afternoon snacks are not fixed or do not exist at all, and therefore your meals are not fixed either. As a result, your blood sugar levels may be affected and you may have frequent cravings.
Reason 6. You may have a lot of stress, so you still need more energy and more calories in your day.
Reason 7. You may be suffering from an eating disorder. Especially in this case, you should ask a health professional to advise you properly and help you make a program tailored to your needs.
Regardless of all this, you should listen to your body’s needs and -of course- do the best that you can for yourselves… It is not forbidden to consume a small and healthy snack in the evening; it is just ideal to try, as much as you can, to consume complete, frequent meals during the day to avoid snacking late at night. Just remember that the time you consume food seems to significantly affect your daily caloric intake. More specifically, consuming food in the morning is associated with reduced caloric intake during the day, while consuming food in the evening is associated with increased caloric intake.
Now, let's check out a few quick and healthy snacks that you can eat at night without getting a lot of calories.
Apple with cinnamon and cottage cheese - 137 calories
Cottage cheese is low-fat, high-protein cheese. Its combination with apple and cinnamon will give you a delicious meal with a good concentration of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Roasted peach or nectarine with cocoa powder and almond slivers - 137 calories
Apart from the very sweet and original taste that a roasted peach or nectarine with cocoa powder will give you, almonds contain protein and fiber, while they are rich in vitamin E. Although nuts are high in fat, they can also make us feel full for longer, and when consumed in the right amounts, they help us lose weight -or maintain a balanced weight-, while they seem to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Low-fat yogurt and chia seeds - 112 calories
A low-fat yogurt, apart from the fact that it gives us only 60 calories per 100 g, is a very good dinner choice, especially if you combine it with chia seeds. Not only can it make you feel full for longer, but -at the same time- it can be a very light meal ideal to boost the digestive process. Prefer yogurt that contains probiotics, i.e. living bacteria.
Carrot-cucumber and hummus - 122 calories
A snack that you can combine with a little hummus or any other dip that you like. Ideal for late-night cravings, it contains vitamins (especially vitamin A), minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, while it contains a good amount of protein and "good" fats. As we’ve already mentioned, polyunsaturated fatty acids -or ''good'' Omega 3 fatty acids- seem to boost memory and concentration and improve skin health.
Cherry tomatoes and avocado dip with cottage cheese - 132 calories
Another great snack that many people like to eat -and especially those who love avocados- are cherry tomatoes with an avocado dip and cottage cheese. It is also a complete snack, rich in ''good'' fatty acids, protein, and fiber.
What’s certain is that if you feel hungry, it is better to eat a small and balanced snack rather than go to sleep and feel very hungry the next morning. That way, you can consume more balanced meals throughout the day and this will help you keep your blood sugar levels stable!
In general, make sure to keep your meals balanced on a daily basis and choose foods that can make you feel satiated while providing you with many nutrients!
This article was written in collaboration with the Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
* The website akispetretzikis.com offers as a service a variety of blogs and articles, based on scientific sources. All the articles are provided as general information and no text should be used as a substitute for advice from a physician or another health scientist, regardless of the date it has been published.