6 Smart Before-Bed Snacks

Apple with peanut butter
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Sometimes, hunger strikes at night. You’re in the middle of a Netflix binge, and your stomach starts to rumble. But when it's so close to lights out, you need to choose your snacks wisely. You don’t want to eat something heavy that'll keep you up at night while your body tries to digest it. Reach for low-calorie, sleep-inducing foods, full of nutrients that'll satisfy. I’m Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien, and I have six great options for you.

Reduced-Fat Cheese

Say cheese! This savory treat has protein and fat, so it'll stop hunger in its tracks. Just stick with light varieties, preferably portion controlled, to avoid overdoing it.

Grab a serving of Sargento’s Snack Bites cheese snacks (the Chipotle BBQ Cheddar is the best), a stick of light string cheese, a slice of reduced-fat cheddar, or a Mini Babybel Light. Bonus: The red wax of the Babybel will keep your hands busy (distracting you from continuing to eat) once you're done with the cheese.

Nonfat Greek Yogurt

The plain kind is my top pick to stave off late-night hunger. It's loaded with protein and low in calories Avoid the flavored kinds, which are usually higher in calories and chockfull of sugar.

If it's too tart on its own, stir in some natural no-calorie sweetener and vanilla extract. Stock up on the pre-portioned containers, because they makes a great anytime snack. You can also toss it with fruit and nuts for a healthy no-cook breakfast!

Turkey-Pickle Roll-Up

You’ve probably heard that turkey makes you sleepy, so it makes sense that it's a good pre-bed snack. No need for a full-on sandwich though! Wrap turkey slices around some pickle or cucumber spears for a low-calorie snack. Dunk in mustard for added flavor. It's one of those smart snacks you’re probably not eating.

Chickpeas

These little legumes provide a great punch of protein and other important nutrients. Grab a can, drain and rinse, and enjoy a 1/2-cup serving for only around 110 calories. Even better: Crunchy chickpea snacks are becoming increasingly popular. Try the kinds by Biena, or make your own with my simple recipe.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
1/4th of recipe (about 1/4 cup): 92 calories, 1.5g fat (0g sat fat), 337mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 1g sugars, 5g protein

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. 
  2. Drain and rinse a 15-ounce can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Thoroughly pat dry. Discard any skins that were removed while drying. 
  3. Place beans on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Rearrange beans on the sheet, either with a spatula or by gently shaking the sheet (using an oven mitt). Bake until browned, 15 to 25 minutes.
  5. Transfer beans to a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. If you like, add chili powder, garlic powder, and/or onion powder. Toss to coat.
  6. Let cool for a crispier snack, or enjoy warm!

Apple + Peanut Butter

With this easy-to-make snack, the apple's filling fiber, and PB's healthy fat team up to tame your hunger.

Stick with a single tablespoon of peanut butter to avoid a too-heavy treat. And here's a fun make-ahead snack: my Bestest Baked Apples.

Broth-Based Soup

A warm cup of soup is soothing, and it's ideal for putting you in that calming mindset you want before you hit the hay.

Simple is best: broth, protein, and veggies. Lately, I'm hooked on the soups by Boulder Organic! and Campbell’s Well Yes! line. Want to cook up your own soup at home? This chicken veggie-noodle soup is made in a slow cooker and couldn't be easier to whip up.

Hungry Girl PSA

Only eat if you're truly hungry, try to get to bed at a decent hour, and aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.

We all need sleep to function properly, especially when losing weight is a concern. Sleep is an important component of any weight-loss plan! Also, incorporate healthy fats, proteins, and carbs throughout your daily meals and you’re less likely to have these nighttime cravings. (These tasty snacks are just as great during the day!)

For more guilt-free recipes, food finds, tips 'n tricks, and more, sign up for free daily emails at hungry-girl.com!

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