You’ve probably heard that eating just before bed isn’t the healthiest choice. Maybe you’ve heard that story about Oprah locking herself out of her kitchen by 8 PM. We’re not saying you need to be that tough. Still, late-night snacking does promote weight gain, makes your body work at digestion while trying to sleep, and is overall not the healthiest option.
Good news? You can still have your late night and sleep well. You just need to keep it under about 200-300 calories, depending on your body weight, and choose certain foods. Here are some bedtime bites to consider:
A banana is a relatively low-calorie snack. Some people say it helps you sleep because bananas contain serotonin, but that’s questionable. The type of serotonin found in bananas can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. The supplementation may help, though. This remains one of the many mysteries of the banana.
Bananas do contain magnesium, a nutrient that might improve sleep quality. As a bonus, they’re simple to eat, and you don’t have to clean up after, since you just throw away or compost the peel.
Like all nuts, pistachios are calorie-rich, so be careful how many you eat. Pistachios contain a lot of melatonin compared to other foods. Melatonin is a hormone that is associated with sleep.
You also won’t need to eat too many pistachios to get around 200 calories, so your body won’t be working hard on digestion during sleep. All praise the pistachio.
Seeds can be high in tryptophan. That’s a chemical associated with sleepiness that gets a Google search spike every Thanksgiving when we rediscover that turkey is basically a tryptophan overdose.
Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of tryptophan and are easy to eat. Try roasting some yourself with tamari (soy sauce) on top for a salty treat before it’s off to bed.
Fresh berries are a great snack just before bed. They’re low-calorie, packed with nutrients, easy to prepare (you don’t have to do anything at all besides rinsing them off), and easy to eat.
Blueberries, strawberries, have your pick; any fresh berries are a good choice before bed.
Tart cherries are on almost all the lists for healthy late-night snacks. They’re high in melatonin and low in calories, which means they’re also high on satisfaction for you.
You can go with choosing a vegan yogurt, usually soy-based, or your favorite Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt will usually have more protein than the vegan variety, though many vegan yogurts still rate high in terms of protein.
Yogurt, especially flavored yogurt, is an excellent alternative to a sugary snack. It has just enough fat and sweetness to satisfy you, without too many calories. It’s even better if it’s a berry-based yogurt for the bedtime double-whammy.