The following seven snacks will satisfy your grumbling stomach without ruining your sleep or overdoing it on calories, according to registered dietitian Cynthia Sass, who holds a Master’s degree in public health.
1. Tart cherry juice mixed with chia seeds-
A natural source of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, tart cherry juice also helps to relieve inflammation, pain and soreness. Sass recommends adding a few tablespoons of chia seeds to provide fiber, which will help keep you feeling full, along with plant protein and tryptophan, which is a precursor to melatonin in the body. Chia seeds are also anti-inflammatory.
One study showed eight ounces of tart cherry juice before bed can greatly help women with insomnia, who slept nearly an hour and a half more per night.
2. Mashed banana topped with pumpkin seeds-
Bananas are loaded with potassium, which supports healthy blood pressure, heart function and muscle contractions. Potassium helps prevent muscle cramps as well.
Pumpkin seeds make an excellent topping because they are rich with key minerals like magnesium, one of the top minerals for inducing a state of calm and relaxation.
3. Kiwi and pistachios-
Eating kiwi on a daily basis can lead to substantial improvements in both sleep quantity and quantity, Sass said in Cooking Light magazine. Kiwi eaters fell asleep over 35% faster, slept more soundly, and experienced a 13.4% increase in total sleep time according to one study.
The addition of an ounce of pistachios brings with it antioxidants, protein to feel full, healthy fat, and minerals. It also is a top source of melatonin.
4. Leftover sweet potato-
Rich in antioxidants and slow-releasing carbs that boost serotonin, a brain chemical that triggers relaxation, sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, of which one cup provides more than twice the amount of a banana. Maple syrup and cinnamon make ideal toppings.
5. Hummus with raw veggies-
A higher intake of fiber and lower consumption of sugar and saturated fat can lead to more time in a restorative, slow-wave sleep, and this combo will help keep you full without either.
A quarter cup of traditional chickpea hummus or a version made from black beans or lentils is a worthwhile option, while healthy late night toppings including bell pepper, cucumber or grape tomatoes, according to Sass.
6. Salmon and veggie salad-
A large body of research has shown that fish high in omega-3 fatty acids promotes restful sleep. An ounce or two of canned wild salmon along with a small handful of baby spinach and a tablespoon of olive tapenade can aid in this area.
7. Avocado egg salad-
A half of an avocado mashed with one pasture-raised, hard-boiled egg and chopped vegetables is rich in potassium, protein, Vitamin D and other key nutrients, while eggs also supply tryptophan.
The whole combo is low in sugar but high in nutrients that will sustain you and keep you full throughout the night.