1. Baby Carrots
Ten raw baby carrots amount to only 35 calories, making them only 3.5 calories each – and at the same time contain fibre that helps you feel and stay full. And if that’s not enough, carrots are also packed with vitamin A, which is said to help reduce belly fat. Beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, is also associated with better sleep.
Sweet and crunchy, baby carrots make a good midnight snack if you want a natural substitute for packaged junk food before you catch some Z’s. And if you’re not into eating things uncooked, you can always take the extra step to boil them beforehand.
2. Boiled Eggs
You may have heard eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast works for losing weight, but did you know it works at night, too? Even though a single hard-boiled egg contains 78 calories, they are known to be very high in protein. This means they can potentially boost your metabolism through an increased thermic effect, which is basically your body using extra calories to digest your food.
Protein-rich foods increase your metabolic rate by 15–30 per cent, compared to 5-10 per cent for the usual carb-heavy meal. They also make you feel full without actually overstuffing yourself for the night.
READ MORE: 10 Asian Dishes For The Egg Lovers In Your Family
You never thought you’d hear this, but popcorn can be good for you when prepared in the right way. Opting popcorn air-popped over being cooked in oil and flavouring makes it a lot healthier, existing at only 30 calories per cup. If that’s too bland for you, you could also take baby steps with oil-popped popcorn at 35 calories per cup. Known to manage weight loss, fibre in popcorn delays hunger and similarly also controls blood sugar levels by slowing gastric emptying.
Carbohydrates in such popcorn also help bring tryptophan, an amino acid that aids sleep, more available to the brain. This produces serotonin, which is sometimes called the happy chemical. Coupled with a nice late night movie, that sounds like a good way to end the night.
4. Sweet Potatoes
IU’s known for her scanty weight loss diet with two sweet potatoes for lunch, but you don’t have to take it to such extremes. Packed with dietary fibre and high in water content, the sweet potato (coming up to only about 110 calories) is good for a supper snack if you’re feeling a little pesky.
Conveniently, the complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes not only regulate your diet – they even help you sleep because of their slow breakdown process, which regulates your blood sugar levels. The magnesium also helps in stress relief, which goes well with the muscle-relaxing functions of potassium to give you a well-rested night.
READ MORE: Jin Yin Ji’s Laxative Method & Other Scary Celeb Diet Tricks To Stay Away From
4. Sweet potatoes
5. Fortified Cereals
Most of the junk food we eat do not have sufficient good proteins and carbohydrates, and come at a heavy caloric price. This may in turn cause irritability and more cravings with the blood sugar drop. Instead, try subbing some fortified cereal for potato chips.
If you’re new to this term, fortified cereals are basically cereals with added nutrition. This means you’re open to most of the options along the supermarket aisle, as most ready-to-eat cereals are fortified – but the catch is finding one low in sugar. Thankfully, this is definitely more likely than finding healthy potato chips. The healthiest fortified cereals are often whole grains.
READ MORE: Why It’s Time To Take Cereals Seriously – A Nutritionist Reveals All Its Health Benefits
Foods like nuts and chips are not easy to curb your urge to snack with if you don’t portion your servings. But with in-shell pistachios, these nuts can actually prevent you from overeating in a short amount of time, simply because they’re harder to reach than sticking your hand in a bag!
Pistachios are also one of the lowest-calorie nuts that are rich in protein, magnesium and Vitamin B6 – all of which are extremely sleep-friendly. A study even found every gram of pistachios contain about 660 nanograms of melatonin – a hormone that regulates your everyday sleep-wake cycle. That is the highest melatonin content in nuts to date.
READ MORE: The Best Nuts To Eat For Weight Loss
Forget cheat days, how about a cheat snack? Studies have found that your body doesn’t take in all the calories from the almonds, because the rigidity of their cell makeup doesn’t allow for absorption – which accounts for 20-30 per cent of what the nutritional label states. On top of that, almonds are the only nuts that beat pistachios when it comes to protein content. A great deal, isn’t it?
Like pistachios, almonds are capable of helping you get a good night’s sleep as they are a source of melatonin. They also contain magnesium, which can improve the sleep quality of even those with insomnia.
Yoghurt is one of those foods you can customise to suit your palette, and what better news than knowing it’s guilt-free, too? Filling in small amounts, yoghurt is high in protein while being low in calories, and is said to improve metabolism. And you have your choice of nutrition and flavour by popping in the fruits you want, although you may have to be mindful about the sugar.
Fundamentally dairy products, the calcium in yogurt helps your brain produce melatonin while regulating muscle movement. This ensures you an undisturbed night of sleep, just as the glass of milk you had in your childhood would.
READ MORE: Creative Ways To Cook With Yoghurt
Around 180 calories per cup, edamame isn’t necessarily the lowest in calories, but these tasty beans can make a wonderful addition to your low-calorie diet with its nutritional values. Many even suggest to take edamame over soybeans for weight loss because they contain much less fats and carbohydrates.
Rich in fibre, edamame can make you feel full taken even as a snack, and help your body burn extra calories by upping your protein intake. You would probably also be happy to know that its high kaempferol levels have been said to result in weight loss and lowered blood sugar in animals.