One of the most common questions dietitians get about eating healthy is whether or not its okay to have an after-dinner treat. While some health medias out there say to never eat anything after dinner, we disagree. The main reason for recommending that people don’t eat after dinner is based on the assumption that after dinner a person has met his or her caloric needs and, therefore, late-night snacking would mean eating over the necessary amount for the day. But if you are the kind of person who craves something sweet at night, you should not deprive yourself. Since you know you will want something later, factor that late-night snack into your meal planning to avoid overeating.
So what kind of snack do you usually reach for? Chocolate? Fruity? Cold? Hot? We have a list of healthy sweet treats that will satisfy your craving without ruining your health goals:
For chocolate lovers:
1. Piece of dark chocolate. For the chocolate and strawberries taste, chop up a square of dark chocolate and place chocolate pieces inside strawberries
2. Banana “ice cream”: this creamy treat is made by simply placeing a ripe banana in the freezer for an hour or two then blending it. For a basic recipe that includes tasty add-ins check out SkinnyTaste’s Guiltless Banana Ice Cream
3. Frozen grapes (or any frozen fruit)
4. Frozen Greek yogurt drops. These are a Pinterest favorite. Simply put your favorite yogurts into Ziploc bags, snip a corner of the bag and pipe drops onto parchment-covered baking sheet. Place in freezer for a couple hours. Recipe and picture from Kid Cultivation blog
5. Mini yogurt parfait: Alternate layers of ¼ cup fat free plain yogurt + ¼ cup whole grain cereal + 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
6. Baked apples. Cut apple in half and place on baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle any combination of cinnamon, oats, nuts, honey, maple syrup. Recipe and picture from Healthy Crush
7. Apple slices with 1T natural peanut butter. Childhood classic provides fiber, protein, carbohydrate, and fat to keep you satisfied the rest of the night.
Sweet and Crunchy:
8. Spiced popcorn: 3 cups air-popped white popcorn + 1 tsp melted butter + 1 tsp white or brown sugar + cinnamon/chai spices/pumpkin pie spice. This is around 150 kcals
9. Spiced milk. This is a childhood throwback to when your mom would give you warm milk to fall asleep. Simply heat up your milk of choice (fat-free, soy, almond, coconut, or rice) and stir in your favorite spices. My favorite combination is original almond milk heated with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice stirred in. For real indulgence, melt a square of dark chocolate and stir it in or add coco powder
10. Sleep-time smoothie. Very similar to spiced milk, this soothing smoothie by Daphne Oz is a recipe for relaxation: combine 1/2 cup warm milk (or milk alternative) + 1/2 banana + dash of cinnamon + 1 tsp maple syrup or honey (optional) in blender. Image source and recipe from ABC’s The Chew.
11. Vanilla tea. A nice Madagascar Vanilla or Vanilla Rooibos tea is both sweet and soothing, making it a great late night option.