By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Looking for the healthiest late-night food to eat? Grab this dietitian-approved list of the best late-night foods and healthy late-night snacks!
You know those nights when you're trying to fight the rumbling in your tummy right before bedtime? Or you wake up from midnight hunger?
I've been known to stay up late for a deadline and wander into the kitchen in search of a quick and healthy snack. When it comes to the best late-night food, it's best to reach for something on the small side that also has staying power.
The right late-night food–and possibly even a nightcap!–can significantly impact how you sleep and consequently how you feel the next morning. This is why I'm excited to share my favorite healthy late-night snacks with you.
I like to keep a few midnight snacks at the ready for nights when midnight hunger strikes. Wondering what my go-to healthy midnight snacks are? I consulted my registered dietitian colleagues for this list of the best late-night food to reach for.
The Best Late-Night Snacks
Going to bed with a rumbling tummy isn't fun, but is a bedtime nosh the right answer? Large meals could lead to bigger problems like acid reflux, but healthy night snacks rich in carbohydrates and protein could be just what the dietitian ordered!
When it comes to choosing sweet or salty snacks, aim to keep your snack to no about 150 calories. You'll want your healthy late-night snack to contain either a complex carb like whole-grain bread, a protein like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, or a healthy fat such as almond or peanut butter.
Why? These nutrients help to keep your feel-hungry vibes at bay and help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. And night owls, you're best off skipping the fried chicken!
Dietitian-Approved Healthy Night Snacks
1. Vegan Protein Brownies
"Want a healthy dessert option or super chocolate-y snack?" asks Kelli Shallal, MPH, RDN, author of Meal Prep for Weight Loss. "These vegan fudgy chocolate protein brownies are what velvety rich chocolate dreams are made of, and they are top-eight free so that everyone can enjoy them!"
2. Almond Butter Granola
"This almond butter granola contains complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein–perfect for keeping you satisfied and hitting that sweet spot," says Lexi Endicott, RD, a nutrition blogger at To Taste.
3. Frozen Bananas with Peanut Butter
"Try cutting banana up into small chunks, freezing them, and then spreading peanut butter on top of them," says nutrition blogger Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. "This makes a delicious snack without added sugar."
4. Hummus and Veggies
"This creamy homemade hummus recipe is rich in fiber, protein, folate, and iron," says Melissa Nieves, RD, MPH, food blogger at Fad Free Nutrition Blog. "Also, it's very versatile and easy to prepare, and perfect for dipping naan bread, pita chips, or chopped veggies."
5. Almond Flour Muffins
"I love having homemade baked goods on hand for a bedtime or late-night snack," says Sarah Schlichter, RD, nutrition blogger at Bucket List Tummy. "There's no preparation needed, and you get carbs, protein, and healthy fats."
6. Chicken Wings
"This recipe for Spanish-style chicken wings takes an easy approach," says Rebecca Bitzer Ostrow, RD, co-author of Taste the Sweet Rebellion. "You coat the wings in flour, then in sauce, and then you simply bake them."
7. Crackers and Peanut Butter
"I love peanut butter on whole-grain crackers," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. This snack is the perfect combo of healthy protein, carbs, and fat to help keep your blood sugar steady."
8. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
"If you love peanut butter cups, you’ll love this lightened-up, frozen version," says nutrition blogger Theresa Battaglia Gentile, RD.
9. Chocolate Hummus
"This fudgy chocolate hummus is the perfect late-night snack, along with a few strawberries or slices of apple," says nutrition blogger Jennifer Hunt, RDN. "Snacks like this one–with a combination of fat, fiber, and protein–can help balance blood glucose through the night for better sleep."
10. Chickpea Cookie Bites
"These chickpea cookie dough bites are one of my favorite late-night snacks because they satisfy a sweet craving and also provide fiber and protein," says food blogger Leanne Ray, MS, RDN.
More Healthy Late-Night Food
This blog post was updated in September 2020.
- Kelli Shallal, MPH, RDN, author of Meal Prep for Weight Loss
- Lexi Endicott, RD, a nutrition blogger at To Taste
- Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
- Melissa Nieves, RD, MPH, food blogger at Fad Free Nutrition Blog
- Sarah Schlichter, RD, nutrition blogger at Bucket List Tummy
- Rebecca Bitzer Ostrow, RD, co-author of Taste the Sweet Rebellion
- Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim
- Theresa Battaglia Gentile, RD
- Jennifer Hunt, RDN
- Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
- The Best Late-Night Snacks, According To Nutritionists, HuffingtonPost.com
- 7 Healthy Midnight Snacks to Help You Get Back to Sleep, FoxNews.com
- 20 Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks For When You’re Trying to Stick to a Diet, WomensHealthMag.com
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I'd love to hear from you! What are your favorite bedtime snacks?
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