We all have done it as some point or another.  Whether it’s a late night meal or after dinner munchies, chances are you’ve given in to midnight indulgences every once in a while.  Often prompted by stress, depression, excessive screen-time, or boredom, night eating puts stress on your digestive system. It  can also interfere with a good night’s sleep, resulting in a sluggish, bloated morning.

According to your circadian rhythm, nighttime is for resting, not eating. Instead of winding down for the night, your body is now tasked with the tremendous job of digesting and metabolizing the food you just ate. This can lead to weight gain. Night eating can also lead to snacking excessively on junk food, yet another reason to keep tempting snack foods out of the house.  And while eating before sleep is not encouraged, choosing healthier, easier to digest foods can satiate cravings and help you get the beauty sleep needed to feel your vibrant self.

Late night food swaps

  1. Fresh fruit.  A bowl of berries, melons or papaya are a good options. Remember to eat fruit on an empty stomach for optimal digestion.
  2. Banana ice cream.  A much healthier but equally satisfying alternative to ice cream  Add cacao powder to satisfy that late night  chocolate craving.
  3. Chia pudding.  Chia seeds provide many essential nutrients including calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium.  The soluble fibre increases feelings of fullness.  
  4. Raw veggies. High water content veggies such as cucumbers, red peppers, zucchini or celery are low in calories and easy on the digestive system.
  5. Steamed veggies. Green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini are light and nutritious. Try not to mix too many veggies at night, especially the cruciferous.
  6. Sliced apple (or banana) with a tablespoon of nut butter. This will provide your body with some healthy fat while also help you feel full.
  7. Nori (sea vegetable).  Low in calories, nori has an impressive nutrition profile.  Toast your own on top of a stove burner as most seasoned nori snacks are saturated in salt and oils.
  8. Kale Chips.  Emotionally fulfilling, kale chips are rich in vitamins and minerals. Make your own in a dehydrator or an oven.
  9. Air popped pop corn.  (organic) A much healthier option to potato chips.  Sprinkle with Himalayan salt and a bit of flax oil instead of butter.
  10. Roasted Chickpeas. A crunchy, high fibre snack to replace that bag of chips.
  11. Soaked nuts or seeds.  Soaked nuts and seeds are more digestible, and nutrients more bioavailable. They are high in fat so keep them no more than a handful.

Sometimes the body mistakes thirst for hunger and this can be another reason you crave a late-night snack despite having a balanced dinner earlier. Drink a tall glass of water or have a cup of herbal tea, and wait a few minutes before you give in to that craving. Chances are — you were just thirsty.

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