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Healthy Late Night Snack Ideas: When you can't fall asleep and neither can your stomach

This blog is written by Hanna Asheber, a second-year undergraduate student  at the University of Western Ontario. 

It’s 11:30 pm, and you’re getting ready for bed when all of a sudden you hear your stomach grumble. Now you debate whether you should reach into your pantry to have a handful of your favourite snack or if you should just try to sleep it off (but your stomach really isn’t feeling that second option). Trust me, we’ve all been there. And more times than not, we find ourselves reaching for the unhealthy but super tasty snack that leaves us feeling bloated and guilty. 

Except listening to your body’s cues is exactly what you should do! Ignoring your stomach could actually cause your brain to stay alert and disturb the quality of your sleep. And just because you do reach for a snack, doesn’t mean it has to be that bag of chips that’s been sitting in your pantry. With these 5 healthy late-night snack ideas, you can strike the balance between feeling satiated while sticking to your health goals! 

1. Greek yogurt

At about 100 calories per serving, this snack is sure to fill you up without feeling too heavy. It’s packed with protein and is low in sugar which won’t spike your blood sugar levels and help you get a good night’s sleep. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, add some kiwis to the mix helping you get in some vitamin C, E, folate and serotonin (the happy brain chemical)!

2. Pistachios 

Fun fact: among all nuts, pistachios contain the highest amount of melatonin which is essential for good quality sleep. Instead of reaching for some over-the-counter melatonin pills to help you sleep, you can reach for some pistachios instead to kill two birds with one stone!

3. Avocado Toast

While this idea does demand a little more effort, its creamy and satiating flavours will definitely be worth it. Paired with some whole-wheat toast, avocados are packed with potassium which is also an essential component for good sleep as well as healthy fats to keep your body full.

4. Peanut Butter

Just like avocado toast, peanut butter is filled with healthy fats and protein that are sure to keep your stomach at bay while avoiding that heavy feeling we often get after eating larger meals. To maximize the benefits of this snack, try pairing it with a banana for some extra potassium and melatonin which will help you hit the hay.

5. Seeds

Lastly, I wanted to mention the class of foods that are often overlooked (perhaps due to their size) but are complementary to a healthy and balanced diet. Seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, chia and flax seeds all contain folic acid (vitamin B9) as well as thiamine (vitamin B1) which will alleviate your hunger symptoms all while helping your body produce chemicals that help with insomnia. 

Late-night snacking doesn’t have to mean satisfying your hunger with the unhealthy snacks you may have stored up for a special occasion. Hopefully, this blog post inspires you to reach for healthy alternatives in your kitchen instead and reassures you that listening to your body is the best thing you can do for yourself. Sweet dreams!