Late night tube sessions make you want to snack for many reasons: habit, boredom, distraction, all those delicious-looking food ads. Take your pick. Unfortunately, no matter the reason, they all have the potential to undermine your hard-won weight loss success. "When you overheat before bed, your body is much more likely to store those calories as fat," says nutritionist Manuel Villacorta, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
You can still eat something, he says. It just needs to be the right snack. A couple of rules: stick to less than 300 calories—anything more is a meal. And make sure to eat it at least an hour before hitting the sack.
Rather than reaching for the yogurt, you should get to know kefir. It’s kind of like a tangy drinkable yogurt, that—like yogurt—contains lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the dominant sugar in milk that gives lots of people tummy trouble. Translation: You'll wake up with a slimmer stomach. For a strawberry shake sure to hit the spot while dishing up a hefty serving of protein, blend kefir, strawberries and a teaspoon of honey.
Freezing fruit like berries and bananas changes their texture to something close to ice cream or sorbet, a change that your sweet tooth is sure to love. Pass on the pint and reach for a cup of these berries. They're packed with vitamins, antioxidants and more than 4 grams of fiber. For a richer snack, top them with a little light whipping cream.
While we're not huge advocates of pretzels, they hit the spot when a snacking urge strikes and nix the fat you'd get by diving into a chip bag. One ounce—about a handful—carries just over 100 calories. We like Newman's Own Organics Spelt Pretzels, a snack aisle selection that made our list of The 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss.
For a nutty snack, try Blue Diamond crackers (made of ground almonds), multigrain Wasa crackers, or low-fat rye mini toasts. Spread on some hummus made with olive oil for a balanced bite that won't leave you with any late-night regret.
If you tend to snack at night, be sure to stock the house with high-quality cheese with just 3-5 grams of fat per ounce. That will come in handy for this cheesy, comforting snack: Sprinkle grated low-fat cheese between a couple of high-fiber tortillas, then crisp both sides on a cast-iron skillet.
Air-pop a bowl of popcorn to pair with your favorite talk show. Skip the butter. Use spices to add flavor or sprinkle on a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. It's a diet pro-sanctioned snack. Challenged in the kitchen? We’re also big fans of Quinn Popcorn. It’s one of the only microwavable popcorns that’s free of chemicals and won’t wreak havoc on your waistline. Whatever you do, don't grab just any old brand from the supermarket shelves. Microwave popcorn makes our list of the 7 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.
"It's high protein, low in sugar, and can really fill you up," Villacorta says. If you're looking for something a little more substantial, mix in freshly sliced fruit or a tablespoon of mini dark chocolate chips.
Look for a chocolate made with at least 72% cacao. You'll get more antioxidants, a surprising amount of fiber and less sugar than its milky cousin.
Limit yourself to three or four of these chewy, candy-like fruits. They're packed with fiber, which will ward off further snacking. Still hungry? Pair them with a wedge of light cheese.
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Courtesy of Men's Fitness