We all know how quickly drunchie calories can add up, but for those non-alcoholic nights, snacking can be just as harmful. I excel at late-night eating because 1) food is delicious and 2) being awake for so long is bound to make me hungry again. Having a 6 pm meal isn’t going to cut it as my last food of the day if I’m not going to bed until midnight.
With that said, it’s hard to reduce your late-night snack regrets when the only things that sound good in the middle of the night are not the healthiest options. Here are some ideas to help you stay strong, or at least minimize the damage.
As boring as it sounds, water could be the answer. Maybe you’re not actually hungry, but you just want to reach for something to consume. Water racks in a whopping zero calories, so drink away. Find out the health benefits of drinking lemon water or look into ways to make your water taste better.
In case plain old water is just too boring for ya, the light flavoring of tea can satisfy a sweet craving or make you feel like you’re drinking something with a little more substance. Just be sure to reach for the caffeine-free bags at midnight. Before grabbing your mug, check out the ultimate guide to tea and find a tea to match your current mood.
While mint is the classic flavor, maybe a bubblegum, cinnamon, or fruity flavor will do the trick for a late-night craving. Plus, if you’re chewing gum, you won’t be eating anything else. At less than five calories per piece, this is a winner.
Brush your teeth
This doesn’t always help me, but with enough discipline it could help you. If you start getting hungry, but know you’ll be going to bed soon anyway, try brushing your teeth early. The desire to keep your minty-fresh mouth clean could overrule the desire to reach for the chips.
Plus, brushing your teeth twice would just be annoying, and the mint of the toothpaste could seriously ruin any food you do choose to eat. This option is best for people who know that they’re not actually hungry, but are prone to mindless snacking anyway.
Go to bed
Sometimes the easiest and most productive thing for you is to seriously just crawl under your covers. Staying up way too late can be counterproductive to school work, and doing that too often is not good for you or your health — research shows that people who sleep more have better eating habits. Plus, when you’re sleeping, ya know what you can’t be doing? Eating a full box of Oreos.
Dark chocolate has a richer taste, you’ll be able to get away with eating less dark chocolate than milk chocolate while still hitting your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate has fewer calories to begin with (booyah), so indulge away. If you’re feeling up for it, try whipping up a batch of this dark chocolate bark. For the less baking inclined, this list of dark chocolate covered things from Trader Joe’s has you covered.
While not necessarily a low-calorie food, it’s satisfying. For one container of 0% plain greek Fage yogurt, you’re looking at a mere 100 calories. This leaves you room to add some granola, berries, honey, agave, or whatever else your heart desires on top. The creaminess of it will satisfy you enough to get rid of any ice cream indulgences.
Plus, we all know sticking to the serving size of ice cream is just never going to happen. A Ben and Jerry’s serving size is 1/2 cup and a whopping 270 calories for the Chocolate Cookie Dough flavor (just to give you a point of reference). First, take a look at the ranking of grocery store Greek yogurts and then look at some mildly less healthy Greek yogurt dessert recipes.
Sometimes you want the sweet, sometimes you want the salty. For the latter, popcorn will do the trick. Boom Chicka Pop comes in at 35 calories per cup for both the Sea Salt and Lightly Salted options, with the serving size ranging from 3 1/2 to 4 cups. But if exciting popcorn is more intriguing, check out 21 ways to pimp out your popcorn.
Fruits and Veggies
I know, I know. At 1 am, it’s usually not those celery sticks that are calling your name. But if you’re eating out of boredom or stress and not necessarily because you’re hungry (we’ve all been there, don’t worry) you might as well chow down on some healthy options to get in your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. You’ll go to bed feeling less bloated and you still got to get your crunch on.
Baby carrots (learn the heartbreaking truth about them here) or snap peas are a perfect snacking option while you’re multi-tasking with school work or socializing, and grapes or berries are also easy, no-mess choices.