For many of us, the hardest time of day to stick to our weight loss goals is at night. You make healthy decisions throughout the day, but then the late-night cravings come they are hard to resist. You can certainly eat a snack but the key is to make sure you’re actually hungry before heading to the kitchen, not just bored or stressed.
If you are indeed hungry after dinner, we’ve compiled 15 of the best healthy late-night snacks for weight loss that will satisfy you without hurting your diet.
Tips When Choosing Your Late-Night Snacks
When you eat before bed, your body is more likely to store those calories as fat. It’s important to snack smart, both in terms of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating.
Aim to eat 90% of your calories before 8 p.m. when you’re trying to lose weight.
Plan ahead if you know you’re a typical late-night snacker. Save some of your day’s calories for your snack. This way you stay on track with your diet.
Portion control is key to late-night snacks. What you’re eating might be fine but if you eat the whole bag it will be a setback in your diet. So when you’re fixing yourself a snack, be intentional about how much.
Healthy Late-Night Snacks For Weight Loss
Skip the butter and kick up your popcorn game a notch with sea salt and other sensational spices. You can even sprinkle in a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese just to be sure you’re still not craving the movie theater kind you’re used to. Plus, it totally fulfills your crunchy craving if you’re a typical chip eater.
Per cup: 31 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
2. Dark Chocolate
People are always surprised to hear that chocolate can be a YES even when you’re trying to lose weight.
Just be sure you get at least 72 percent cacao to ensure you get plenty of antioxidants and fiber to satiate you while steering clear of high doses of sugar, which milk chocolate is known to have. And stick to 2 ounces or less.
Per ounce: 131 calories, 8 g fat, 18 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein
3. Dried Figs
When the candy craving strikes, dried fruit, specifically figs are a go-to. Nature’s candy never disappoints, but just keep portion control in mind; you’ll keep your weight loss goals in check if you limit yourself to three or four of these chewy treats.
Packed with fiber and naturally low in fat, they’re a great dessert alternative.
Per ounce: 48 calories, 0 g fat, 12 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein
4. Greek Yogurt
High in protein and low in sugar, Greek yogurt can fulfill that creamy craving you get from ice cream, but it won’t mess with your blood sugar levels like typical desserts do.
We prefer buying the plain variety to avoid added sugars and then choose our own toppings like sliced fruit, a little honey, chocolate chips, or cacao nibs for a little something extra.
Per container (5.3 oz): 80 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 55 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 14 g protein
Related: 15 Genius Ways To Eat Greek Yogurt
5. Frozen Berries
Freezing fruit such as berries or bananas will resemble a sorbet-like treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re also rich in fiber which increases satiety and packed with healthy vitamins and antioxidants to boot.
Plus, frozen bananas can be tossed in the food processor to make a homemade “nice” cream. Then add in some frozen berries once the bananas are smooth for a delicious fruity confection.
Per ounce: 13 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 3 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein
6. Apple & Peanut Butter
Along with providing you with a satisfying sweetness and crunch, apples are full of fiber. Peanut butter is loaded with protein and the combination of the two makes for a super satisfying snack that is sure to fulfill hunger cravings, all without leaving a heavy feeling in your stomach or causing any guilt.
Whole apple: 95 calories, 0 g fat, 25 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 0 g protein
Natural peanut butter per tablespoon: 185 calories, 16 g fat, 5 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein
At only about 100 calories each, a banana is rich in fiber to satiate you and full of the amino acid tryptophan, which your body uses to manufacture serotonin and melatonin—both important mood and sleep-regulating neurotransmitters.
You can also dip it in peanut butter for a hit of protein!
Per 1 medium: 105 calories, 0 g fat, 27 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 1 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
8. Raw Veggies
High in water and fiber, raw veggies like carrot sticks, celery, bell peppers, snap peas and cucumbers have a mere 25 to 50 calories per cup, and will help you to feel full.
Try dipping them into protein-rich hummus—which is naturally low in fat—for an added boost of flavor.
Raw carrots per cup: 44 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 69 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
9. Mixed Nuts
High protein snacks like mixed nuts move slowly through your digestive tract, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.
They also are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and more. Plus, they’re crunchy and salty and there’s no prep needed! Just be mindful to not to go crazy since nuts are high in calories.
Per 1/4 cup: 210 calories, 19 g fat, 8 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
Even though you’re eating cleaner, you don’t need to give up cheese. It’s a good source of protein, calcium and other nutrients.
However, there are certain cheeses that are better than others in terms of calories such as provolone, mozzarella, feta, goat cheese and parmesan.
Cut into squares or smear on whole grain crackers! String cheese is a great option too since it’s portion-controlled!
1 string cheese: 70 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein
11. Avocado Toast
If you need something a little more satisfying, try toasting a piece of whole wheat bread and smashing half an avocado across the top. Sprinkled with a little salt & pepper and you’ve got yourself a satisfying, filling snack.
Avocados are a great source of potassium, one of the best healthy fats, plus they’ve got all sorts of vitamins and minerals.
Per serving: 219 calories, 22 g fat, 28 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 112 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 6 g protein
Sweet in taste and low in calories, tart cherries can satisfy your sweet tooth while also helping you to catch some shut-eye, since they are thought to be particularly good for a restful night because they are naturally high in melatonin.
Per cup: 74 calories, 0 g fat, 19 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
Oatmeal typically makes an appearance at breakfast, but since it only takes 5 minutes to make, it can be a great snack for when you need something that truly will stick to your gut. Whole grains such as oats are high in protein and fiber and low in calories.
The carbohydrates in oatmeal cause a release of the feel-good hormone serotonin in the body, which works to decrease stress and put the mind in a calmer state.
Per cup cooked: 163 calories, 4 g fat, 27 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein
We know it’s not exactly food, but sometimes when you feel hungry, it’s a good idea to evaluate if you really may just be thirsty.
Mistaking hunger for thirst is fairly common and the best thing you can do is to start with some liquid such as tea. Tea has a whole slew of health benefits and may just be the calming elixir you need before bed.
Per cup: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
15. Hard-Boiled Egg
A great source of protein, a hard-boiled egg is a simple, healthy snack when you need a boost.
In fact, we love making a batch of hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week and then storing them in the fridge to always have on hand. Just sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and you’ve got a tasty treat you can feel good about.
Per egg: 80 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 62 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
Next time you get a late-night craving, reach for one of these healthy snacks instead. Healthy eating doesn’t mean depriving and starving yourself; it’s about finding foods you love that love your body too!