Look, we all get hungry late at night. It’s a fact of life. But just because you’re craving something sweet or salty doesn’t mean you should go ahead and reach for the potato chips and ice cream—especially if you’ve got weight loss goals you’re working towards.
The good news is, there are plenty of healthy, inexpensive foods you can snack on after 7 PM. To identify a few of them, we met up with registered dietician Charmaine Jones of Food Jonezi at our local Trader Joe’s to pick out some health, easy, and cheap late-night snacks.
Dark Chocolate and Warm Milk
If you’re craving something sweet Jones recommends snacking on two squares of dark chocolate—not the whole bar—for its magnesium, which can help you relax before bed. Pair it with half a cup of warm two-percent milk, and either stir the chocolate in or eat it separately.
For something a little savory, try some plain, air-popped popcorn. To make it a little more filling, Jones suggests turning it into a trail mix by adding nuts and dried fruit for added sugar and protein.
Peanut Butter and Whole Grain Crackers
When it comes to picking out peanut butter, Jones suggests sticking to versions that have less than six grams of sugar per serving. Additionally, Jones says to stick to a two tablespoon serving of peanut butter before bed so you’re not loading up on fats—yes, even healthy fats—right before your body goes into rest mode.
Turkey, Cheese, and Whole Grain Crackers
Turkey is a good lean protein to eat before bed, but opt for reduced sodium if you’re going to eat a deli slice, and as for cheese, Jones suggests a low-fat version, like mozzarella made with skim milk. Both can be paired with a whole grain cracker, as pictured above.
Tart Cherry Juice
If you can handle the flavor, Jones says tart cherry juice is a great before-bed beverage. The fruit is filled with melatonin, and it’s been show that tart cherries can improve your sleep.
Greek Yogurt With Berries
While this may be your breakfast staple, it’s also a great late-night go-to. Packed with protein, plain Greek yogurt will help curb your hunger without packing in sugar, while Jones says berries are a good low-glycemic topper.
Hummus and Veggies
For something savory, a simply hummus is packed with nutrients, particularly when you eat it atop of red pepper slices. When you’re craving potato chips, reach for this instead for some a salty, crunchy snack.