If you’re the type to reach for a snack late at night only to feel guilty in the morning, fret no more.
It is a myth that eating late at night will cause you to gain weight.
As long as you burn more calories than you consume, it doesn’t matter what time of day or night you eat.
Recent studies show that not only is late night snacking A-OK, but it can actually help you get a better night’s sleep and stave off hunger the next day.
Of course, you have to make healthy choices to avoid piling on the pounds.
Here are 10 healthy light night snacks to curb your cravings and satisfy your sweet tooth, all for 200 calories or less.
1. Stuffed Strawberries
A sweet tooth can be a dangerous thing for late-night snackers, but you don’t have to completely bomb your day with a pint of ice cream.
Cut the tops off eight strawberries and remove the core using a straw.
Stuff the strawberries using 1-2 tablespoons of reduced fat cream cheese.
At 120 calories, you can even crumble a graham cracker on top.
It will taste just like eating a cheesecake but without all the calories and fat.
2. Perfect Popcorn
Enjoy some popcorn as a healthy midnight snack movie marathon.
Stove-popped popcorn is a healthier alternative to the bagged stuff, with three cups containing 14% of your daily-recommended allowance of fiber.
When eaten plain, it can be a little bland, but spice it up with some chili powder, parmesan cheese or your other favorite spices.
3. Tasty Quesadillas
Yes, that’s right; you can even have a quesadilla as a light night snack.
Don’t call up your favorite Mexican restaurant; those quesadillas are loaded with cheese and fat.
Make a lighter, healthier version at home.
Top a whole-wheat tortilla with one tablespoon each of low fat mozzarella and low fat cheddar.
Add as many veggies as you like — onions, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach are excellent choices.
Fold the tortilla in half and crisp each side of the quesadilla in a skillet heated with spray oil.
Cereal isn’t just a quick, easy breakfast; it can be a healthy late night snack in a pinch, too.
Pour a cup of your favorite whole grain cereal and top with a ½-cup skim milk.
This snack will usually come in at around 150-200 calories, so be careful to measure out your portions.
The complex carbohydrates can keep hunger at bay while the calcium in milk encourages your muscles to relax.
5. Bite Into a Banana
Bananas are a great snack before bedtime for a couple of reasons.
They are sweet enough to curb those sugar cravings and they’re full of nutrients to help you sleep.
Bananas contain potassium and magnesium to aid in muscle relaxation.
They also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin and melatonin in the brain to help you feel calm and rested before you slip under the sheets.
For a fun treat, peel a banana and freeze it.
When you’re ready for your snack, pulse the banana in your food processor or blender until smooth.
Eat it right away or let it set up a bit in the freezer. It’s just as good as banana ice cream, but much healthier.
Top your banana with dark chocolate shavings for a decadent treat packed with antioxidants.
6. Savory Turkey and Lettuce Wraps
Turkey also contains plenty of tryptophan to help you get some shut-eye and keep hunger pangs at bay.
Lettuce contains very little calories, so treat yourself to some turkey slices and low-fat cheese wrapped in lettuce.
In addition to providing the sleep-inducing benefits of tryptophan, turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, and protein is known to satisfy hunger longer than carbohydrates.
7. Flavorful Nuts
Nuts are the perfect snack to grab on the go late at night.
Remember, you should limit your consumption to a small amount that fits into the palm of your hand because they contain large amounts of healthy fats.
Almonds are a great source of magnesium while walnuts contain melatonin.
A mix of these two nuts would be the perfect recipe to send you off to sweet dreams with a satisfied tummy in no time.
8. Yummy Yogurt and Fruit
Get a healthy dose of vitamins, calcium and protein with some low fat or Greek yogurt mixed with fruit.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are a low-calorie topping that adds flavor and nutrients to plain yogurt.
If you want a little crunch on top, sprinkle your yogurt with some oats or chopped nuts.
This isn’t just a good late night snack; it is perfect anytime for a sweet treat that packs a healthy punch.
9. Mouth-watering Frozen Berries
You haven’t lived if you have not tried frozen blueberries.
Freeze a cup or several in snack-sized baggies to grab them any time you’re raiding the fridge late at night.
This cool, frozen treat is perfect in the summertime.
Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries can also be frozen to whip up a tasty smoothie or frozen treat late at night.
They’re low in calories, so you can have a healthy portion of them without going overboard on calories.
10. Appetizing Vegetables and Hummus
Craving something crunchy?
Grab a cup of carrots or a mix of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers.
Dip your veggies in two tablespoons of hummus for a savory snack that really satisfies.
If you’re not a fan of hummus, try a low fat dip instead.
Veggies are a good source of fiber and other nutrients like beta-carotene, potassium and phytonutrients such as falcarinol.
To make your own healthy late night snacks
Choose from healthy grains, nutrient-packed fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.
Avoid foods that are high in fat and stay away from any foods that may cause heartburn such as tomatoes and citrus fruits.
It’s best to eat about an hour before bed to let your stomach settle, but you may find yourself wandering into the kitchen from time to time.
Keep it small and healthy so it won’t keep you up at night.