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Feeling snacky after dinner? It’s not uncommon to want a late-night snack. In fact, an online survey from Harris Poll found that 83 percent of consumers report snacking at least one night a week—and that 54 percent of snackers feel guilty about their go-to choices.
Skip the guilt next time you indulge in a late-night snack and enjoy something that’ll satisfy your cravings with the help of registered dietitian Kylie Sakaida. She’s amassed 2.1 million followers on TikTok sharing her healthy and delicious recipes. We spoke to her about healthier options to reach for that are sure to satisfy your hunger.
Here are five dietitian-approved snacks to try out:
1. Popcorn with chickpeas
Upgrade your typical bowl of popcorn with some nutritious chickpeas! If you’re able to, skip the microwave popcorn and choose air-popped popcorn instead. Mix in some roasted chickpeas for an excellent source of protein. “I usually buy them roasted, but you can prepare them yourself,” says Sakaida.
There’s a long list of reasons why chickpeas are a healthy choice. These nutty, hearty legumes can help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and may even have a positive impact on your mental health.
2. Grapes with cheese
Grapes and cheese are a classic charcuterie combo, and the duo really makes the perfect late-night snack. When choosing a cheese, opt for a low-fat option such as cottage or goat’s cheese. Sakaida prefers the grapes to be frozen, so consider stashing a serving or two in the freezer to have them ready.
3. Pineapple with cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is one of the healthiest dairy options out there. Not only is it soft and creamy, but it’s also super low in calories and a great source of protein, making it a snack that’s light yet super satisfying. Spreading cottage cheese onto some pineapple will give your body essential nutrients like vitamin C and manganese, which contains antioxidant properties.
4. Peanut butter toast
“The secret to having a filling snack is pairing carbohydrates with protein,” says Sakaida. Peanut butter toast is a great example. A 100-gram serving of peanut butter contains an impressive 24 grams of protein.
Just be mindful of the type of peanut butter you choose and read the ingredients label. Some varieties (even the organic kind) are packed with added sugar and trans fats that you might want to avoid for your nighttime snack. Spread a tablespoon onto some whole wheat bread and enjoy!
5. Berries with Greek yogurt
Another easy snack to have ready in your fridge is berries and yogurt. While any of your favorite yogurt will do, Greek yogurt is a great choice. It’s lower in sugar and higher in protein, which can help you feel fuller for longer and is perfect if you’re feeling a bit hungry before bedtime. Customize (and sweeten) the yogurt with your favorite berries to satisfy those late-night hunger cues.
Craving something salty and sweet? Try these snack options
Even nutritionists reach for a nighttime snack every so often. As for Sakaida, her cravings can vary depending on the day. For instance, she’ll go for air-popped popcorn with cheese if she’s in the mood for something salty.
“If I want something sweet, I love dates with peanut butter and chocolate. But there are also nights when I just want a chocolate chip cookie, which is completely fine to have in moderation!”
Consider the reason you’re craving late-night snacks
There’s nothing wrong with having a late-night snack if you’re feeling hungry. But Sakaida recommends figuring out the reason why you’re feeling hungry at night, especially if your cravings are hitting night after night.
“Are you checking the cabinets for a snack because you’re still physically hungry at the end of the day? If this is the case, it may be helpful to meet with a dietitian to ensure you’re eating enough throughout the rest of the day,” she says.
Another reason you might be looking to munch on something at night (even if you’re not hungry) is if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. In this case, you can try thinking of other activities to counteract that stress, like talking to a friend, going for a walk, reading a book – anything that might make those sudden cravings go away. You can try a calming ritual, or if you want to snack and relax, opt for a food that may naturally help you relax and get to sleep.
Featured recipe: Fruity Frozen Yogurt Bark