Monday, August 3, 2009

Late Night Cravings!

Posted by Kay at 11:10 PM

Healthy "Good Night" Snacks

Snacking can be a favorable thing, however it has to be done mindfully. Many times we choose fat packed, sugar and salt soaked, and completely unhealthy foods to focus our snacking needs. We also over eat and bite a lot more calories and food then we can chew, and this is an important issue. Finally, there is a time for snacking and a time to be careful in your late night snacking. The midnight snack is often a bad choice because the digestive system slows down after you go to sleep. However, if you are careful you can snack healthy even at night!


Watch What and How Much You Eat

The foremost thing that you're required to do is watch what you eat. This can be hard because a lot of night time snacking is done with cravings. Usually they are broken into salty snacks such as potato chips or something sweet such as chocolate and ice cream. You can make food choices for snacking in an easy and comparable way. Replace the unhealthy options with low fat options either in the salty or sweet category. Here are some good options:


Salty Foods

  • Popcorn - If it isn't high in butter content. If you are popping your own, pop it in a little oil and sprinkle salt for popcorn flavoring. If you will be popping it in the microwave, choose a light butter or a low fat butter option. These are often less salty as well. Also, don't get too carried away; watch your portions.
  • Nuts and Seeds - Being that its covered with salt and high protein content, it is a food that should fill you up fairly quickly. Because this, only select a handful to diminish your craving or to help fill you up.
  • Cheese - You can have a small amount of cheese (low-fat is recommended). This includes string cheese, cheese slices, and even cottage cheese!
  • Veggies in Dip - Most dips are very unhealthy for you, and are very fattening. However, you can make a great dip from low fat sour cream or better yet, plain yogurt! To make it tasty add seasonings and herbs of your choice (be sure to stay light on the salt!). This is a low fat option that will taste fabulous and you can dip all of your favorite vegetables in it!
  • Pickles - It may sound like an unlikely snack, but it is salty, tasty, and low in calories.
  • Pretzels - a low fat healthy crunchy salty option. Don't dip them unless you make a low fat dip from low fat sour cream or plain yogurt or choose low fat ranch.


Sweets
  • Fruit - There are a lots of good options including bananas, melons, and berries.
  • Cereal - Having a minimal bowl of cereal can make you feel full and fulfill your sweet tooth. Pick on that is low in calories and fat, with just a bit of sweet to it.
  • Toast with some honey or jam - Make toast and skip the (peanut) butter. Add a bit of jam or honey for a healthy and delicious twist!
  • Rice cakes - crunchy and satisfying. Finish it off with a small glass of milk or juice and you should be feeling good!
  • Yogurt - Have a small bowl or dish of flavored yogurt. There are tons of options to choose from and even the categories that are regular have very little fat and only a few calories. Worried about fat and calories, no big deal choose a low fat or no fat option.




Drinks
Often times a good night time snack is complete with the perfect drink. Soda may be tempting, but really unhealthy. Here are a few options that are better for you. However, you should think moderation.
  • Milk - Aim for less fat and choose a low fat or no fat option (skim, 1%, 2%). Drink just under a cup and it should help fill you up.
  • Juice - Make sure you are drinking real juice (100%) and not a small portion type of juice with lots of added sugars.
  • Tea - Whether you like it hot or cold a good cup of tea can help make for a good night. Favor something herbal or decaffeinated so it doesn't keep you up during the night.


Tips for Limiting Night Time Snacking

Sometimes late night snacking has to do with cravings and the activities that we participate in, but then there are times when night time snacking has to do with actually being hungry. The first thing night time some snackers need to make sure of is that they aren't snacking just because they're hungry.

1. Eat well at each meal.
2. Snack between meals, but never enough to skip a meal.
3. Don't replace a meal with a large snack, this will only lead to more snacking.
4. Drink plenty of water. Often times we tend to mistake thirst for hunger. Try to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to reduce our food consumption.

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