You may have been advised in the past to avoid eating right before bed (since doing so can cause bloating and weight gain if done often), but if you are ever so hungry that you cannot sleep, it’s going to be more helpful than harmful to have a light snack to feel better. We checked in with health experts to learn more about a snack that can help you get a better night’s sleep if you ever find yourself in this situation. It is a low-fat, low-calorie choice to help work toward (rather than deter) your weight loss journey. Read on for pre-bed snacking tips (and remember to do it in moderation— just enough to satisfy your hunger cues). We checked in with registered dietitians Trista Best, RD, MPH, and Lauren Grey, RD, as well as registered nutritionist Lisa Richards, creator of The Candida Diet, who provide their favorite tasty and light snack and explain why it won’t cause weight gain.
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How Apples Satisfy Late-Night Hunger Without Added Weight Gain
If you are hungry before bed, it’s wise to choose a healthy snack, and one with fiber if you’re trying to lose weight. The greatest snacks before bed, Best explains, are “those that contain two qualities— low in calories and rich in satiating nutrients like fiber and protein.” Apples are a great go-to if you’re experiencing hunger since they are light and contain plenty of fiber and protein that will still aid your digestive system (unlikely to cause bloating in bed later).
The fiber in apples helps to flush out cholesterol and fat circulating in the blood, Richards says, as well as keeping you feeling full for longer, which prevents overeating. “This can be beneficial at bedtime when cravings can begin to ramp up,” she says. “Apples are also rich in nutrients that promote quality sleep. Vitamin B6 and potassium are two nutrients that can aid in better sleep,” adds Richards.
Grey agrees, dubbing apples as her favorite snack if still hungry before bedtime. “Right before going to sleep, I love eating an apple,” she says. “I find that the apple improves my digestion and helps me refresh before bed.” She also notes that this is a low-calorie snack that can “only have a positive effect on your metabolism and weight loss.”
Ultimately, snacking at night “does not have to equal inevitable weight gain,” Best says, and doing so “can also serve a purpose in helping you get quality rest.” Eating foods that contain natural melatonin right before you are ready to attempt sleep can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. She also lists almonds, walnuts, and bananas as prime examples of these easy-to-snack-on foods that are rich in melatonin. Overall, there is no need to worry about eating before bed if you are truly hungry— listening to your body’s needs is key.