The Guilt-Free Guide to Satisfying Midnight Snack Cravings

Health Coach Jessica Procini gave us the inside scoop on how to midnight snack without feeling a hint of guilt.

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We’ve all been there: It’s 1:30 a.m., you’re hanging out with your friends (or your three dogs) binge watching Orange is the New Black when you get the late night munchies. So you break out a bag of chips and some cookie dough ice cream and, before the next episode starts, you’ve eaten an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips and a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s. You look down at the damage you’ve done and think Yiiiikes. I’m definitely going to regret this. Never again.

But guys, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still satisfy your midnight cravings and not feel like you have to kill yourself at the gym the next day. I spoke with Philly-based holistic health and weight-loss coach Jessica Procini, of Laugh Yourself Skinny, and she clued us in to how to satisfy midnight munchies without feeling a hint of guilt about it. 

The first option? Break out the fruit bowl ladies and gentlemen! “Fruit is light and it’s not something your body needs a lot of time to digest. It actually only takes 45 minutes to leave your stomach,” Procini says. “You wanna try to stick to low-glycemic fruits, meaning not the super sweet stuff. Go for something more stabilizing to your blood sugar like a green apple with almond butter or a small bowl of grapes.” This means staying away from fruits like bananas, mangos, and pineapples. Sorry to all you tropical fruit lovers out there!

Now if you’re like me and your hand automatically goes for the bag of potato chips, try snacking on some brown rice cakes topped with sunflower seed butter instead. It’s equally as delicious but so much healthier.“The hint of salt from the sunflower butter will give the potato chip-y, salty flavor satisfaction and the rice cake will give the crunch factor,” Procini says.

On the other hand, if you typically crave sweets like Oreos and Chips Ahoy, try reaching for a bar of dark chocolate. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on all the extra calories of a box of cookies. Try to find a chocolate bar with a lot of cacao, and not a lot of other added ingredients. “The darker the chocolate, the better,” Procini says.

So what if you’ve got a hankering for good ol’ comfort food, you ask? Opt for leftover roasted veggies or mashed-up sweet potatoes. “Top the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon and that’ll give the comfort-food vibe without going for a cheesecake or a pizza — something you’ll really regret the next day,” Procini suggests.

Snacking on a source of protein can also help satisfy hunger and keep cravings at bay without all the gluttony. Procini suggests heating up a leftover piece of lean, grilled chicken. For a vegetarian option, choose some leftover tofu instead.

“If you have tendency to wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. craving food, it’s because on a subconscious level you’re experiencing an emotion like grief, fear, anxiety, or stress,” Procini explains. In cases like these, forgo the food and brew some tea instead. Procini suggests sticking to chamomile tea to calm nerves and peppermint tea to soothe your body before trying to go back to sleep.

See, you can snack at night without regretting it in the morning. You just have to be smart about it and practice a little self control (something we all can work on, including me). Happy snacking, folks!

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