It's all too common to eat healthy all day – salad for lunch, skipping the donuts in the break room – only to have all your hard work derailed by your bedtime cravings for ice cream.
After a whole day of working hard, at your job, at home, and for your health, it can be easy to run out of the energy to deny yourself that treat before heading to bed. And you shouldn't have to: achieving a better level of health isn't about denying yourself, it's about making healthy and intentional choices.
When you're craving a snack, choose a treat that taste great, and wont hijack your nutrition plan. There are plenty of healthy options available that will fill you up and keep you on track for your weight-loss and fitness goals. Here's my top snack picks.
Air-popped popcorn: Popcorn is an great snack – each cup contains only 31 calories! It's super filling, and you can even add healthy seasonings such as chili powder, garlic or black pepper to spice it up some. These seasonings can prevent certain cancers and heal some stomach issues. Also, because it takes so long to eat, popcorn is the perfect healthy, low-calorie treat to nosh on while reading a book or watching your favorite television show.
Cottage cheese: This superfood is great for your health and makes an awesome bedtime snack. It has a hearty 16 grams of protein, making it the perfect snack or meal add-on. According to the Institute of Medicine this is a perfect choice for those on a vegetarian diet. Protein also helps increase satiety, the feeling of being full, which decreases the likelihood that you'll reach for another treat after enjoying this bedtime snack. The calcium in cottage cheese can also help prevent osteoporosis. Make sure to purchase low-fat cottage cheese to get all of the benefits without all the fat.
Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are just as awesome at bedtime as they are any other time of the day. The wide variety of produce available means there is something for any craving. If you're looking for something sweet, a handful of berries (maybe with fat-free whipped cream for an extra-delicious low-calorie treat) can hit the spot. Sometimes, a salty alternative like cut celery dipped in hummus might be exactly what you've been craving. Fruits and vegetables are crammed with important nutrients, and by eating them before bed you'll be giving your body the energy it needs to repair itself while you sleep and wake up feeling far more energized than if you had eaten a bag of chips the night before.
Frozen Greek yogurt: If you're a fan of ice cream, switching to frozen Greek yogurt can make a huge difference in your waistline while still enjoying a sweet and creamy snack. Frozen greek yogurt has less fat than traditional ice cream, and if you skip the toppings, there aren't many calories either. It also is a good source of protein, and contains probiotics (microorganisms which help your digestive system run properly). These nutrients add up to an amazing snack that can be topped with fresh fruit for extra sweetness.
Next time you're itching for a tasty snack, try one of these great alternatives. Your health will thank you and you'll love how delicious they are.