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Health Tip

Healthy Late Night Snacks

If you are a habitual night owl, or if you are planning to be up watching a movie or a television show, or reading a book, then eating late-night snacks will be a part of your daily routine or plan. Contrary to what many people believe, eating late at night is not unhealthy. In fact, you are no more likely to gain weight by eating at night that by eating at any other times of the day, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA). However, you should avoid overconsumption of calories by eating only nutrient-rich food such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat cheese.

Whole-Grain Snacks:

Crackers, pretzels and tortilla chips made of whole-grain make excellent late-night snacks. They make a delicious and healthy combination with low-fat cheese and sour cream dip. Air-popped popcorns are also good for late-night snacks as they are rich in fiber, but the amount should be limited to three cups to keep the calorie intake below 100 calories. One cup of whole-grain cereal with low-fact milk also makes a nutritious late-night snack, according to The National Institute of Health.

Fruits and Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetable are ideal for late-night snacks as they contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that our body needs. You can eat apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapes and dried fruits like raisins straight or as toppings to whole-grain cereal or low-fat yogurt. To limit your calorie intake to 100 calories or less, eat a medium apple, a medium banana, 1/4 cup of raisins, or a cup of grapes or blueberries. As for vegetables, you can eat carrots, peppers, tomatoes, broccolis, cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower or celery with low-fat dips.

Protein-based Snacks:

Protein-based snacks are good for late nights because they can satisfy your hunger as well as limit calorie intake. Some of protein-rich foods for late night snacks are almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seed. Eat 2 to 3 tablespoons of these for an intake of 100 calories or less. A hardboiled egg, a cup of low-fat yogurt, 1 oz of low-fat cheese or 1/2 cup of fat-free chocolates can also be excellent late-night snacks.

Considerations:

You should eat snacks to satisfy your hunger and not as a response to anxiety, stress or habitual craving, according to the American Dietary Association (ADA). If eating late at night has become a routine for you, you can move your dinner time forward by an hour or two, or save the dessert for the time when you'll become hungry again.



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