You know the drill. You have one last drink before leaving the bar at 3am, and all of a sudden, food is on the mind. You walk by that hole-in-the-wall, and the smell of greasy, fried, fatty goodness is too much to resist. You wake up the next morning with a headache that’s just debilitating enough to prevent you from getting up for water, but not so bad that you can forget how many calories were in that double cheeseburger or entire pizza you wolfed down last night. Cue the I-hate-myself guilt.
While drunk eating is one of life’s great pleasures (a slice of pizza will never taste as good as it does at 3am), it is nice to have some alternative late-night snacks that won’t make you feel awful, mentally and physically, the next morning.
Cereal is always a satisfying snack, but Cap’n Crunch is looking a whole lot better late at night (doesn’t everyone?). Although sugary cereals may seem like an indulgence, eating a bowl of cereal with milk—preferably non-fat—helps replenish your fluids, and the carbohydrates in cereal produce sleep-inducing serotonin to help ward off alcohol’s effects that usually disrupt sleep. Plus, a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Frosted Flakes is a much less guilt-ridden choice than a Cinnabon or a piece of cake with frosting.
Not only is peanut butter crazy delicious, but it also has a healthy fat quality that can mimic what you’re looking for in cheeseburger. It’s additionally a great source of protein to help you feel satisfied. Perhaps the best thing about peanut butter, however, is that it tastes great on just about everything. What do you have in your kitchen? Crackers? Bread? Celery? Apples? Graham crackers? Rice cakes? Put some peanut butter on it, and call it a night.
Chocolate. Need I say more? In case you’re not quite yet sold, forty (forty!) semi-sweet chocolate chips have under 100 calories and only 6 grams of fat. So instead of reaching for the cookie dough or the brownies, pop these chocolaty morsels in your mouth to satisfy your sweet tooth. And hey, you’re drunk; you might pass out before you even eat forty.
Pita chips and hummus
When you want nothing more than to dig into a plate a fries, try opening up a bag of Stacy’s pita chips instead. Stacy’s are crunchy and simply coated in salt, satisfying your sodium cravings the same way fries can. Compare the pita chips’ 45 fat calories to McDonald’s fries’ 220, and it’s a no-brainer choice. Still looking for that lovely greasy quality to soak up all the alcohol? Break out the hummus. Made with olive oil and tahini, hummus can cater to your fat and oil needs in a way that’s not detrimental to your waistline, but still satisfies.
As long as you steer clear of the movie theater butter varieties, popcorn is not an unhealthy snack at all. Easily available, wonderfully salty and fun to throw into mouths (because not only does food taste better late at night, but it is also more enticing to play with), popcorn is a great option. If your drunken sensibilities feel popcorn is a little too boring, toss it with some Parmesan cheese or cinnamon sugar for additions that bring the excitement but not the calories.
…And if your friends insist on going to a fast-food joint and temptation is too hard to fight, go ahead and join in. A vanilla soft serve cone from McDonald’s is low-fat with only 150 calories, and a Jimmy John’s turkey, roast beef or ham and cheese 8” inch slim or slim on wheat bread only brings in between 400 and 510 calories.
Long live the drunchies.