Nighttime craving can be viewed as a devilish feeling after a long, productive day. Your mornings are filled with vigour, ready to start your day with a workout and a healthy smoothie. The trend continues with diligent work and snack break patterns throughout the day, and you get into bed feeling quite content. But then, that dreaded feeling creeps in. Fries, ice cream, wafers, and chocolate take over your thoughts and continuously nag at you. They often drive you insane to a point where you can’t see beyond putting some unhealthy food in your belly. We’ve all been there.
Understand What You Are Craving
The trick to dissect the feelings of ‘want’ and ‘need’ is to understand what it is you’re craving. Is it that ONE food item? Is it that ONE flavour? Is it just a patterned anxiety response that you’re looking for something to keep yourself occupied? Or is it just plain hunger? Understanding the root cause of these cravings is imperative for you to figure out the alternatives. So that you can supplement your otherwise unhealthy nighttime snack routine with healthier options.
How Does Bloating Work?
Towards the end of the day, it’s not just your mind that needs rest. Your body does too, and that includes your digestive tract. As the sun sets, so does your metabolism, and your body is focused on getting rest. It’s best not to throw a curveball at it and control your intake because any wrong ingestion can lead to heartburn, discomfort and bloating.
We get it though, it’s so tough to go to bed on an empty stomach; it’s almost cruel to deny yourself food when your body craves it. However, it’s relatively easier to opt for the right snacks that will not cause any short or long felt discomfort during your midnight munching escapades.
What You Can Chomp On Instead
1. Unsalted, Baked Chips
Unsalted and baked wafers are a great snack to keep you occupied while feeding into your craving for something to munch on. A little crunch goes a long way. Stay away from salted foods that are high in sodium content, and your previously bloated self will thank you. We get that salt is just a necessary additive in chips, so you can substitute it with a sour cream dip or a salt-free salsa.
Our favourite little dudes, these packers, are a whole meal. Almonds provide nutritious value while quite quickly getting rid of the dreaded hunger pangs. To help you not go overboard with the number of almonds you consume, look into portioning methods, and avoid salted or flavoured almonds altogether.
3. Nice cream
Ice cream may feel great ATM, but are the after-effects it has on your skin and gut really worth it? Substitute your ice cream cravings for some strawberries and cream instead. Frozen strawberries, vanilla extract, a bit of a natural sweetener, and non-dairy blended together will give you the same comfort that ice cream does, sans the bloat.
4. Berries, Multiple Ways
Berries mixed with Greek yoghurt (if you’re not sensitive to dairy products) or non-dairy cream is a great way to alleviate nighttime cravings. You can mix and match certain berries and make a little berry bowl for yourself as well.
Who doesn’t love some munching on popcorn while watching your favourite nighttime tele special? We’re sure that perked up some ears! Healthy popcorn (non-GMO and made in coconut oil) exists and getting it ready is an organic process. The best part about popcorn is that it gets rid of your hunger without consuming a significant amount of calories. Helps that it tastes excellent as well. 6.
6. Dried And Dehydrated Fruits
A mix of dried fruits like raisins, apricots, cranberries is both nutritious and filling. You can also try out some dried apple chips with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on for a dessert-like snack. Pairing it with a cheese board (non-dairy cheese for the people with dairy discomfort) would do your midnight meal wonders.
7. Hard-Boiled Eggs
If you’re looking at increasing your protein intake and opting for a more fulfilling meal, two hard-boiled eggs are a good option. Season with a bit of pepper (avoid the salt), and pair it with a few multi-grain crackers to add a bit of crunch. You can also opt for only the egg whites and save the yolk for desserts instead.
Oatmeal in the form of hot cereal with non-dairy/dairy milk and a few dried fruits and nuts is a great way to wind down the night after a long day. Aside from providing nutritional benefits, it’s the perfect pick of comfort food and to calm a nighttime craving.
Asparagus is a great nighttime snack for a lean body in the morning. Season it lightly, and go on a crunching binge with this green weapon packed with protein, vitamin C, K & A and a whole lot of fibre.
10. Celery With Peanut/Almond Butter
Celery has high water and fibre content and is an excellent snack for individuals looking for a non-gluten alternative to pair with peanut butter or almond butter.
11. Kale Chips
Kale is a severely underrated green, with calcium, potassium, magnesium and a world of vitamins and minerals. In its crispy form, it tastes great as a snack as well. You can pair unsalted kale chips with a yoghurt dip to add an extra oomph of satiety.