We've all had that feeling of intense hunger late at night. Going to bed on an empty stomach is a nightmare, so why wouldn't you fill yourself up with a snack? Unfortunately, late-night eating isn't the healthiest option and has been linked to weight gain due to the increase in calories, as well as throwing off your eating cycle. Worry not! There are a few healthy midnight snacks that are perfectly fine to eat late at night that will not only fill you up but provide you with some health benefits without ruining your meal schedule. Check out the 15 best foods to eat before bed.

1. Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich

peanut butter and jelly sandwich

The morning classic is also a fantastic choice right before bed. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread will provide you with ample amounts of protein, and the sugar from the jelly can help keep blood sugar levels stable. On top of that, most nut butter won't store in the body as fats, meaning this particular snack won't stack inside your body and lead to weight gain. This treat will do wonders for the body while you sleep, and it won't fill you up so much that you won't eat a proper breakfast come morning!

2. Oatmeal

oats on a spoon

Loaded with fiber, a warm bowl of oatmeal will do wonders to fill you up for a good night's rest without loading up on carbs or sugars. You can even add fruits and nuts to the oatmeal to give your body essential vitamins, minerals, and added protein, and these won't negatively impact your sleep, nor will they throw off your meal plan.

3. Bowl Of Cereal

a bowl of cereal with a spoon

A simple yet effective snack, a bowl of cereal with some almond milk is a quick eat that will fill you up for the night and still leave you ready for that big morning breakfast. The trick here is finding the right cereal -- it should hold at least three grams of fiber, should have moderate levels of sugar, and hold no more than 250 calories per cup. For an added bonus, find cereals that are made from whole grains.

4. Hard-Boiled Egg

hard boiled egg cut in half

A hard-boiled egg only requires some boiling water and eggs, making it an easy choice when you're running low on house ingredients. Filling your body up with protein and healthy fats, try eating two hard-boiled eggs to keep hunger at bay without destroying your calorie count. If you have the time, hard-boiled eggs serve as the basis for deviled eggs, a stuffed egg dish that is full of flavor.

5. Cheese And Crackers

cheese and crackers stacked

A simple combination of crackers and cheese will do wonders to fill you up. The trick to making this a healthy snack is your choice of cheese and crackers -- bran or whole grain crackers will add fiber to the mix while avoiding excess carbs and calories. As for cheese, the key to staying healthy with cheese is to watch the fat and sodium contents; a cheese such as cheddar will be higher in salt and fat content than a Swiss cheese, making the latter a much better choice for a midnight snack. Try to keep healthier cheeses in your fridge so that you don't get caught by late-night hunger pangs and have to resort to unhealthier cheeses.

6. Avocado Toast

avocado spread on toast

Avocados are an ideal choice when it comes to healthy snack options, as they are loaded vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber, as well as containing more potassium than bananas. Eating an avocado before bed will give your body everything it needs for a good night's sleep and leave you ready for the day tomorrow. Avocado spread on toast is a quick treat to fill you up and keep you healthy.

7. Popcorn

popcorn

While movie theatre popcorn is infamous for being incredibly unhealthy, preparing popcorn at home allows you to remove many of the elements that contribute to its unhealthy stigma. Avoid adding oil, salt, and butter to popcorn, and you're left with a treat that's much lower in fat and sodium. This makes it a light snack that won't wreak havoc on your body during sleep. Popcorn prepared properly can provide the body with antioxidants, as well as helping the body with digestion.

8. Fruits And Nuts

nuts and fruits

Throw some of your favorite fruits and nuts into a bowl for the easiest snack in the world. Fruits will give your body plenty of vitamins and minerals, while nuts will load you up with healthy fats and protein, leaving you satisfied enough for the long sleep ahead. Fruits and nuts won't completely throw off your eating schedule either, making them a quick, ideal late-night snack.

9. Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt in a cup with a spoon

A small bowl of yogurt will be enough to get you through the night. Greek yogurt is especially good, as it's filled with protein, probiotics, and calcium. Try to use plain yogurt, as most flavored varieties of yogurt are loaded with much more sugar -- if you want extra sweetness, try adding fresh fruit. Granola will also add fiber to your snack, and make it an incredibly nutritious treat that won't be too heavy on the calories.

10. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese in a bowl

Cottage cheese is an especially good snack before bed, as it contains protein, calcium, and healthy fats. It's a healthier alternative than other cheeses before sleeping as it's less heavy and won't bog down your body with high calories sodium. It also contains casein protein, which alleges to keep the body's energy up while you sleep, helping to lose weight. Cottage cheese is best consumed with vegetables before bed, as the vegetables provide with essential nutrients while not filling up your body with carbs, sugars, gluten or unhealthy fats -- think good dipping vegetables such as carrot sticks, celery, cherry tomatoes and chopped bell peppers.

11. Turkey Slices

sliced turkey

Whether you choose to make a full-blown turkey sandwich or just a few turkey slices on whole grain bread, this choice will keep you satisfied until the morning. The protein and fiber with turkey and bread add a nice healthy touch while filling up your body with a relatively low-calorie snack. If you want to add tomatoes, lettuce or avocado to the mix, you'll add antioxidants, minerals, and healthy fats to your turkey treat as well.

12. Banana And Nut Butter

bananas and nut butter

A nice kick of potassium with the healthy fats of nut butter, dipping a banana in your choice of peanut butter, almond butter or any other variety, will give you filling, healthy bite before you're off to bed. The fiber from this treat will fill you up without leaving you groggy in the morning from carbs or sugar.

13. A Glass Of Milk

tall glass of milk

A glass of low-fat milk hits your body with loads of essential nutrients, with calcium being the star of the show. Milk thickens up the stomach, making it a good choice to fill you up without consuming copious amounts of food.

14. Smoothie

blueberry smoothie

If you have the energy to whip out that blender and make a delicious smoothie, do it up! With milk, yogurt and an assortment of fruits or vegetables, you can make a thick, nutritious milkshake that will send you to bed the right way. Avoid adding any honey or refined sugar to your nighttime smoothie, as excess sugar will keep your body racing all night.

15. Edamame Beans

bowl of edamame beans

Edamame beans will do the trick when it comes to midnight snacks -- these soybeans contain calcium, protein, vitamin C, and fiber, among other nutrients. One cup of edamame beans to snack on will fill you up with 8.1 grams of fiber while also only holding 18.46 calories. It will leave you feeling energized come morning time.

Is It Bad To Eat At Night?

While the myth of eating before bed causes weight gain isn't true in and of itself, eating before bed frequently can cause weight gain because of two factors:

  • Eating a snack before bed counts as additional calories, so if you've been eating a strict calorie-planned diet, any snacking will cause you to go over.
  • Eating foods that are high in carbs, sugars, and salts right before sleeping will throw off your meal planning, as you won't wake up as hungry, meaning you'll eat less breakfast or skip the meal entirely.

Focus on finding healthy snacks to cure those hunger pangs without diving too much into calories or junk food that will throw you off your eating schedule.

Foods To Avoid

When snacking at night, it's important to avoid foods such as:

  • Anything with caffeine
  • Large meals entirely
  • Prepackaged snacks
  • Alcohol

These will either mess with your sleep or load you up with unnecessary sugars, fats or sodium.

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