It’s late. You’re awake. You're ready to eat. What will you grab? Due to the fact that it is late at night, I’m sure something easy and quick is the first thing on your mind. You don’t want to be standing over the stove cooking something, nor do you want to polish off a bag of chips and cookies. You want to get a delicious snack, devour it, and get back to bed with a full, happy tummy, but without the guilt of eating unhealthy food. So, what are a few snacks to keep nearby for an after-hours kitchen raid? Let's take a look at a few quick snacks that are also delicious.
Cheese and Crackers
This is actually a favorite at any time of day, but because of the ease of putting this snack together, we can put it in the favorite 'late night' category. Read the labels when you buy to find cheeses that are healthier, but still delicious. Cream cheese, string cheese, and even processed cheese can satisfy your snacking needs easily while staying on your diet. Also stock up on good, multi-grain and whole wheat crackers. A refrigerator full of a variety of cheeses and a cupboard full of boxes of good crackers can satisfy your midnight cravings in moments, sending you off to bed, full and happy.
Dressed Apple Slices
You can keep apples handy at all times and just bite into them for a healthy, super-quick snack. Or, you can perk up this humble treat to satisfy your cravings even better. Enjoy this snack in a variety of ways, including spreading peanut butter on each slice, adding a dash of cinnamon to add a new level of flavor, or eat with yogurt or caramel dip. A surprisingly delicious and healthy snack that you might not think about right away is apples with cheese. A slice of apple topped with a sliver of good Cheddar cheese is a delight that will satisfy your cravings on several levels. The crunchy sweetness of the apple pairs with the satisfying fat and saltiness of the cheese to make this a healthier, filling midnight snack.
A bowl of popcorn will always satisfy the biggest cravings. It only takes a few minutes in the microwave to produce a perfect bowl of popcorn. But, be sure to watch out for very sugary or salty products. Choose the simplest popcorn you can find, then add the ingredients you can grab quickly that are still the healthiest. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, Cajun seasoning, pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, or even a touch of brown sugar will result in a healthier version than the pre-flavored variety. It's quick, easy, and still on the healthier side.
Room for Jell-O
If you prefer sugary treats, midnight snacking can be especially difficult. There aren't too many things that satisfy a sweet tooth without being a bad choice for a diet. Instead of digging into that bag of cookies or leftover Halloween candy, try a sweet treat that is not loaded with calories and fat. A gelatin treat satisfies a sweet tooth without guilt. Keep a big bowl of Jell-O or Jiggler snacks in the refrigerator and enjoy. Look for a variety of flavors and recipes to create new gelatin treats so you'll never get bored and will be able to satisfy your sweet tooth any time of the night.
If you enjoy pretzels and dip at your favorite eatery, it only makes sense to find a way to bring them home for your midnight snack attack. Surprisingly, pretzels are a low fat snack. Compare the label on most pretzels with regular potato chips and you'll be amazed how much healthier they are. But, you want the whole snacking experience to be enjoyable, right down to the dip. Stay away from the pre-packaged cheese and bean dips which are loaded with sugar. Instead, create a quick blend of mustard and yogurt for a healthier dipping choice. Low fat cream cheese with added seasonings is another option to create a pretzel and dip snack experience comparable to any pub.
Delightful Dipped Veggies
Eating a handful of celery sticks is not exactly what we crave for a snack late at night, is it. Again, it's about taking a quick snack and making it delicious without destroying your diet in the process. Keep a bag of fresh, ready-to-eat vegetables in your refrigerator. The fun part comes with creating and pairing some exciting, but still healthier, dips. For some unusual choices, try smashing capers into cream cheese and filling celery sticks, or mix coarse ground mustard into Greek yogurt for a spicy dip for carrots or broccoli. Put a variety of herbs into a food processor along with Parmesan cheese, yogurt, or cream cheese. Black beans and salsa blended together makes an incredibly flavorful dip for a variety of veggies. Experiment until you create a nice selection of dips to keep your midnight snacking interesting, and healthy.
Whether you have a sweet tooth or crave salty snacks, you can be sure to find lots of ways to satisfy your cravings quickly, deliciously, and still more healthy. Don't fall into the trap of eating a bag of fatty foods, saturated in sugar or sodium, when you can create snacks that are so much better for you... and tastier, too.