So you eat healthy all day long, eating the right portions of whole foods, but then… the nighttime munchies hit midway through that Netflix episode. Sound familiar? We’ve long been told that those nighttime munchies can derail our healthy eating goals, but when done correctly, a little evening snacking after dinner can be totally ok! We’re showing you how with these eight healthy evening snacks.
Why Evening Snacks Aren’t Always Bad
Despite what many fad diets say about “closing down the kitchen” after dinner, you don’t need to deprive yourself in order to stay on track with your nutrition goals. No one wants to go to bed hungry! Not only is it miserable and usually unsustainable to deprive your body’s natural hunger cues, but some research suggests that a small and nutrient-dense snack before bed may be beneficial, especially when combined with healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise.
Plus, going to sleep hungry can also impede our ability to get quality sleep, which is also directly related to our weight.
If you find yourself starving after dinner, consider one of these eight healthy evening snacks that won’t derail your goals.
Here are 8 of Our Favorite Healthy Evening Snacks
#1 A Protein-Packed Yogurt Cup
Here’s the perfect grab-and-eat snack that requires zero prep. We love a protein-packed plant-based yogurt like those from Kite Hill. Plus, yogurt can satisfy the need to sink a spoon into something sugary — when you opt for the healthier lower sugar versions, you’ll satisfy that craving without nearly as much sugar as that bowl of ice cream.
#2 A Handful of Nuts
Nuts are a well-known health food for so many reasons, and as long as you don’t overdo it, they’re one of our favorite healthy evening snacks for when you need a little crunchy, salty goodness. Choose your favorite type!
Here are some great healthy picks, with a general guideline on serving size.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to about a one-ounce serving.
- Almonds — 24
- Pecans — 15 halves
- Cashews — 18
- Walnuts — 14 English walnut halves
You also want to avoid roasted (they are often roasted in not so healthy oils), salted, or candy-coated nuts. Stick to raw varieties whenever possible.
#3 Sliced Veggies and Guac
There’s just something so satisfying about a dip, and this version is a lot lower-cal and fiber-packed than traditional chips and guac.
We like scooping our guac with:
- Sliced bell pepper
- Zucchini chips
While guac is a tasty and healthy dip choice, we don’t want to overdo it here! A reasonable portion would be about two tablespoons to ¼ cup. Or, choose those single-serve guac containers to make portion control super easy. One single-serve container of Sabra guac will only cost you about 100 cals — not too shabby.
Protein-packed, lightly salted edamame is addictive in a way you can feel good about and can be microwaved in just a few minutes.
#5 Rice Cake with Nut Butter
Don’t fear carbs after dark! An easily-digestible, super low-calorie rice cake topped with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter makes one of our go-to healthy evening snacks.
#6 Banana and Dark Chocolate
#7 Air Popped Popcorn
A far cry from the butter and artificial flavor-loaded movie theatre version, homemade air-popped popcorn is a surprisingly low-calorie and healthy evening snack. You can grab the microwavable variety or pop you own in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove.
Portion control is everything when making sure that we aren’t overdoing it (even on the lower cal and carb options). For popcorn, a reasonable portion is about three cups of air-popped popcorn (ya know the healthier kind that doesn’t include all the added butter and salt). Brands like Skinny Pop or Boom Chicka Pop make some tasty and convenient options when you don’t feel like popping your own.
#8 A Protein Shake
Wind down the day on a healthy note with a protein shake. Blend up your favorite fruits and veggies, and a few dates or almond butter if you want a little extra “decadence.”
Want to add a scoop of protein? Try JSHealth X FitOn Protein Powder in Cookies & Cream or Cinnamon Roll. Not only is this powder gluten-free and vegan, but it contains added probiotics, making it the ideal addition to your evening shake.
Here’s a yummy recipe to get you started.
Guilt-free Chocolate Almond Butter Shake
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp raw unsweetened cacao powder
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 scoop JSHealth X FitOn protein powder
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Enjoy as a guilt-free healthy evening (or any time of day) snack!
Remember to Practice Moderation (Pre-Portion Those Snacks!)
When reaching for any of these healthy evening snacks, remember, portions still matter!
Too much of a good thing is still too much, so keep your portions reasonable and remember, a snack is just that. Pre-portion what you’re noshing on so you won’t mindlessly overeat, and you can simply enjoy your healthy nightcap.