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5 Health Nut Snacks For Your Late Night Cravings
Is snacking late at night a good idea? Some studies suggest that eating late may be detrimental to health. It’s also a ...
Is snacking late at night a good idea? Some studies suggest that eating late may be detrimental to health. It’s also a common belief that eating late causes weight gain. But how true is that?
Is snacking late at night good or bad?
Research has suggested that purported weight gain from snacking late at night has more to do with your food choices than the timing. For instance, people who ate closer to their bedtime consumed more calories¹ than early eaters. Late-night eaters also made poorer food choices by opting for fast food² and calorie-dense foods such as noodles, alcohol, and meat³.
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How to pick a healthy snack
Opt for healthy snacks that are low in calories (between 150 to 200 kcals) but high in nutrients by including the following:
- Fibre and Wholegrains - lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and helps you feel full longer
- Healthy fats - good for your heart, cholesterol, and overall health
- Protein - helps with muscle recovery and slows down muscle loss
Going nuts for the perfect healthy snack
Nuts are not only rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein, but they also have the highest melatonin content⁴ (for better sleep) among all plant foods. Seeds and nuts are also a good source of tryptophan, which is a precursor to the mood-regulating and sleep-inducing hormone, serotonin.
Find out how you can include nuts into your midnight snack the next time you’re hungry.
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5 late-night snack ideas featuring nuts
1. Mixed nuts
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The best way to enjoy nuts? On its own!
Mix up some walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashew for a quick and easy savory snack. Or throw in some dried cranberries and raisins for a sweet and tart addition. Premixed nuts are also readily available in supermarkets, often with different blends and flavours.
2. Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
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Did you know oatmeal helps to promote sleep?
Besides containing fibre that keeps you feeling full⁵, it is also a good source of magnesium and melatonin. You can enjoy this the conventional way by cooking it over the stove or opt for pre-portioned packs of granola or oatmeal mixes that come with nuts, freeze-dried fruit and yogurt bits. These are fuss-free but equally tasty and nutritious.
3. Yoghurt parfait with nuts and berries
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Yoghurt has been linked to better sleep⁶ and greek yoghurt, in particular, contains more protein and less carbohydrates than regular yoghurt.
Instead of flavoured yogurt, which may be full of added sugars, get the plain version and layer it with nuts and berries such as goji or blueberries for natural sweetness and an antioxidant boost.
4. Easy salad with nuts
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Make a light but satisfying salad by tossing some leafy greens and nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts with extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and some salt and pepper. If you prefer a savoury-sweet combination, add some dried fruits such as cranberries and raisins, which are not only tasty but also great sources of vitamins and antioxidants.
5. Homemade protein bars or energy balls
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Make your own protein bar or energy balls by pulsing dried mangoes, strawberries, or dates together with nuts such as almonds and cashews. Bind it with some nut butter or a dash of natural sweetener like maple syrup. You can even include oats for extra fiber.
Rather than when you eat, it’s what (and how much) you eat that matters more
Late-night snacking may lead to weight gain, but only if you turn this into a regular habit and end up consuming more calories than you need.
When you are craving a midnight snack, keep it light and opt for foods containing nuts and whole grains that are rich in minerals with sleep-promoting properties. Perhaps even pair it with a cup of hot herbal tea⁷ like chamomile or buckwheat tea that are not only low in calories but helps with digestion and sleep.