Does it ever happen to you that despite eating a healthy, filling dinner you still experience intense hunger while sleeping? Then you head out to the fridge in a hurry and eat anything you get your hands on just to ease the pain. Many people experience this but nighttime snacking could be one of the main reasons for gaining weight fast.
The most common scenario for most people is that they find it tiring to cook and clean dishes after a long day at work, so in the evening they are most likely to eat a processed packaged food and enjoy a couple of servings, sometimes more. And even though snacking at night every now and then won’t cause significant weight gain, doing it consistently most certainly will.
So, instead of doing that, why not try to do these very easy to prepare bedtime snacks that will help you burn more fat and get some quality sleep as well.
Cherry protein shake
Make yourself a delicious nighttime snack in the form of a protein shake with a cherry on top or mixed into a smoothie. Besides having a great amount of dietary fiber which is a very satiating fat-burning nutrient that will keep you full for hours, cherries are also one of the best sources of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
This hormone maintains the body’s internal clock also known as a circadian rhythm, which means maintaining healthy melatonin levels is crucial to getting quality sleep. Mixing cherries with whey protein will also help you lose weight because protein elevates the metabolism.
Mix a half cup of tart cherry juice which you can find at almost any health food store, with unsweetened coconut, almond or non-fat milk, a cup of frozen cherries and a scoop of your favorite whey protein powder, and you get an excellent fat-burning shake that will also help you sleep well. Do not forget to clean the blender as soon as possible once you’re done and that’s it, you’ve got yourself a very fast healthy snack.
You can make a delicious wrap with turkey slices and pickles without spending many hours as you would making a turkey dinner. Turkey is filled with protein which will aid you in your fat loss and is at the same time a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid with mind-relaxing characteristics which can help you sleep better.
The pickles will add flavor and make the snack more satiating without adding a significant number of calories which is one of the main things you should look out for when trying to lose weight. Take 2 or 3 slices of nitrate-free, low-sodium turkey and wrap each of the slices around a dill pickle and start eating, with no cooking whatsoever.
Oatmeal and walnuts
A small portion of oatmeal with some walnuts added takes the meaning of the phrase “breakfast for dinner” to a whole new level. Walnuts, like cherries, contain melatonin which helps with sleep. They are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat which decreases inflammation and may treat or prevent obesity.
Adding walnuts to the oatmeal means you will have a snack that is filled with lots of healthy complex carbs, which will support an active lifestyle with a regular fitness program and help the brain absorb and use tryptophan, which induces a drowsy feeling.
Oatmeal also contains high-quality fiber, which fills up the stomach and keeps you satiated longer. You can avoid ingesting too many calories by eating small portions, around 1/4 of raw oats to make the oatmeal, and add 3 or 4 walnut halves, by first chopping them. If you think it isn’t sweet enough, add stevia, it has a low number of calories.
De-caffeinated iced green tea smoothie
If losing fat is your primary goal, you can’t go wrong with green tea. It attacks fat on three fronts: it’s sugar-free, has a negligible number of calories and it gives a modest boost to your metabolism. However, its high caffeine content might cause problems for you if you’re sensitive to it.
Being a potent stimulant, consuming it right before you go to bed can disrupt your sleep. In order to avoid tossing and turning in your bed all night, you should instead opt for a caffeine-free tea, which contains all the antioxidants and their accompanying benefits that the full-caffeine version has. When you add milk to it you will also get protein which will help boost your metabolism, while berries provide beneficial antioxidants which will help recover and repair the tissues while you sleep.
Prepare your green tea early in the morning by adding a tea bag to a mug of warm or hot water, then put in the fridge to steep during the day, or simply add matcha (powdered green tea) in your smoothie before going to bed. You can mix the tea together with a non-fat milk, or unsweetened almond milk and half a cup of frozen blueberries.
Low-sugar nutty granola
Whenever you get cravings for some crunchy food, get rid of the crackers and fatty chips and snack on some granola instead. The dried fruit, oats and coconut that make up the granola all contain high-quality fiber which helps with fat loss, and seeds and nuts add both protein and fiber.
Granola also has B-complex vitamins, a class of vitamins that not only support the metabolism by helping you digest and absorb nutrients such as protein and carbs but also aid in supplying your tissues with ample amounts of oxygen, so that you feel energized throughout the day.
You can save money by preparing your own granola using high-quality ingredients. You can also modify the recipe by including cacao nibs to add some chocolate flavor to it, shredded coconut for some extra fiber and you can also use coconut oil instead of olive oil. When you buy granola from the store, check the label on the product to see if it’s not filled with all kinds of preservatives and sugar. Buy low-sugar varieties, sweetened with a small amount of honey, brown rice syrup or agave instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
Peanut butter and bananas
This combo is both sweet and salty and it helps you lose weight. What’s not to like? Topping banana slices with some peanut butter will give you snack that is rich in healthy, complex carbs, fat-burning dietary fiber and healthy fats for cardiovascular health.
Bananas are also a great source of potassium, a nutrient which naturally helps with muscle function and relaxation which in turn supports an active and healthy lifestyle. And even though peanut butter and many other nut butters are pretty high in calories, consuming them moderately won’t hinder your weight loss.
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You can prepare this snack whatever you’d like. You can put peanut butter over banana slices or you can cut a banana in half, lengthwise and fill it with peanut butter to make a delicious sandwich. You need to make sure that you use all-natural peanut butter instead of the high-sugar, processed variety. Look at the product label. It should have only peanuts and salt as ingredients and nothing else.