These end-of-day snacks are guaranteed to satisfy hunger (and your need for nutrition, too!).
The days are longer and warmer, which means you’re probably logging more miles and staying up a bit later—both of which can ramp up after-dinner hunger and leave you raiding the pantry or freezer in the pursuit of some extra calories.
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While late night snacking usually gets a bad rap (and deservingly so if you end up nibbling on junk food), it can most certainly assist runners in meeting their overall calorie and nutrient needs if done properly. And some healthy late night snacks may actually help you score a better night’s rest. But what should you reach for when a post-sunset snack attack strikes?
Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with these not-so-guilty bites you can buy or make at home that will power your miles and silence a growling belly.
These subzero heroes are a better way to beat the heat than most tubs of ice cream. Wrapped up in dark chocolate, frozen Greek yogurt gives you a healthy dose of muscle-building, hunger-taming protein while the active cultures can support better digestive health. The caveat here is that it’s not fully known what impact freezing temperatures have on probiotic activity. Flavors range from hazelnut to summery strawberry.
There’s strong evidence that consuming protein before bed can help boost muscle recovery and growth. This is especially useful for runners who also participate in resistance training. Casein, which cottage cheese has in abundance, is an ideal before-bed form of protein to eat since it’s slower-releasing than other types like whey, which provides your body with a steady stream of muscle-friendly amino acids as you snooze away. This cottage cheese delivers 14 grams of muscle-making protein in a 1/2 cup serving, supplies a dose of probiotics, and tastes amazing. Mix with a handful of berries if you need a hit of sweetness.
With a sweet-crunchy combo, this trail mix delivers a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats; the mint adds a refreshing taste of summer. Bonus: Pumpkin seeds are a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps regulate sleep patterns.
1 cup beet chips, such as bare
1 cup apple chips, such as bare
1/2 cup coconut chips
1/2 cup sliced dried mango
1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Directions: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Makes 6 servings
The golden popcorn you find at movie theaters may be a belt-stretching calorie-bomb, so healthier popcorn is a great sleep-inducing nighttime snack option. The carbohydrates in popcorn help transfer the amino acid tryptophan into your brain, where it’s used to fire up the production of the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin. With a cinnamon-maple mix, this bagged option tastes like dessert—but with just 138 calories in a 3-cup serving.
Peanuts supply satiating protein while naturally occurring melatonin in tart cherries may give them sleep-inducing powers. And sleep is widely recognized as playing a vital role in exercise performance.
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 cup dried cherries
3/4 cups quick cook oats
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted peanut butter)
Directions: Place dates in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak 30 minutes. Drain and pat excess water away with a paper towel. Place peanuts in a food processor bowl and process until pulverized into small pieces. Add dates, cherries, oats, peanut butter and salt. Blend until mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Roll into 1-inch balls and keep chilled. You should get about 18 balls. Makes 9 servings
Raiding the cookie jar too often at night can torpedo your gut with nutrition-poor calories. Not so with these tender cookies. The main grains here are whole-grain oats, and each cookie packs in 10 grams of protein and no more than a modest 6 grams of added sugar—most of the sweetness hails from natural dates. Plus, they come in three flavors to appease any chocoholic: peanut butter chocolate, chocolate brownie and, of course, chocolate chip.
An open jar of nut butter can be a dangerous thing when it comes to portion control. Combining two of the greatest things ever—almond butter and chocolate—these individual nut butter packs keep you to an honest 100 calories and a reasonable 2 grams of sugar.
And it’s easy to Forgo the mystery ingredients in many store-bought popsicles by making your own. These deliver a wallop of antioxidants (hello, blueberries) and provide fluid to help with heightened hydration needs during these hot and humid months.
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cup blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Makes 6 servings
Most bars are too calorie-rich to be good contenders for a late-night snack. With no more than 100 calories and 6 grams of sugar, these nut-based, two-bite KIND bars taste indulgent without being, well, indulgent. If you’ve really been ramping up the mileage and crushing calories, you have permission to add a modest smear of nut butter to unleash a flood of dopamine.
Even if you aren’t planning an extended stay in outer space, you’ll appreciate the over-the-top fruity flavor that the freeze-dried fruit lends this crunch bunch. The fat from the almonds and cashews help subdue any sugar rush—not something you want shortly before trying to wind down for bed—while the antioxidants in the crunchy fruit may help improve muscle recovery from your hard runs. Just be sure to cap your intake at close to the recommended portion, which is a quarter cup and 130 calories.
This sweet dip is begging to be scooped up by pieces of fruit or even a square of dark chocolate, and the yogurt and almond butter supply a powerful mix of protein and good-for-you fats.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted almond butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
Directions: Combine yogurt, almond butter, maple syrup, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger powder and a pinch of salt in a blender container. Begin by blending on low and work your way up to high speed until the mixture is smooth. Serve with your desired dippers. Makes 4 servings
Cereal and milk need not be a late-night nosh only for college kids or lazy bachelors. Pour this low-sugar granola in a bowl for 10 grams of plant-based protein (not counting the extra from milk) and a dose of ultra-healthy omega-3 fats courtesy of hemp seeds. Both of these can help support the extra stress associated with high volumes of training. The granola is available in four tasty flavors and hemp is considered one of the most eco-friendly plants to grow.
Tofu gives this fresh-tasting pudding some body for little calorie cost (don’t worry, the berries and honey mask any bean-y flavor). And research suggests that people who nosh on more antioxidant-rich berries have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1 (12 oz) container silken soft tofu
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Place strawberries, tofu, honey, lemon zest, cinnamon and a couple pinches salt in a blender container and blend until smooth. Transfer to a container and chill for at least 2 hours to thicken. Scoop pudding into serving bowls and garnish as desired.
Toasted coconut is bound up by dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa) for the ultimate treat you can look forward to all day long. As far as snacks go, you could do a lot worse than dark chocolate—it contains high levels of heart-friendly antioxidants. Try the seeds and salt version as a way to satisfy your salty-sweet joneses.
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