5 Healthy Late-Night Snacks That Won't Derail Your Diet

A registered dietitian shares simple but satisfying ideas for healthy late-night snacks

Eating late at night isn’t typically including among the more commonly expressed healthy habits, like eating right, exercising, sleeping well, and reducing stress.

The reason for that is simple: for many, it’s not a smart habit to adopt.

“It's generally best not to eat too late at night, especially right before bed,” says Dr. Lisa Young, Ph.D. R.D., C.D.N., a nationally recognized nutritionist and an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. “Eating late is most problematic when you end up eating too many calories and munching mindlessly. If, however, you are not eating too many calories, it is less of a problem.”

In other words, by nighttime you’ve likely already eaten enough to meet your calorie requirements for the day, so a late-night snack has the potential to put you over your normal intake.

If this happens occasionally, it likely won't have a large impact on your weight, but if it were to become a consistent habit it could lead to weight gain.

Young says that if you budget the calories from a late night snack into your overall diet and avoid the habit of overeating, late-night snacks can be a part of a healthy eating plan.

“But it’s best to choose a healthy snack without too many calories,” she said.

For those times when you need a simple but satisfying snack late at night, Young suggests the following high-fiber, low-calorie foods.

1. Mixed Berries

Keep them stocked in your freezer so you'll always have fresh berries on hand.

2. Baked Apple

Sweeten up this snack by topping it with cinnamon. 

3. Air-Popped Popcorn

Avoid excess butter and salt by popping your own kernels with an air-popper at home.

4. Hummus and Veggies

Snacking on veggies creates the perfect opportunity to add another serving to your total for the day.

5. Frozen Banana

Young suggests topping it with a small serving of peanut butter.

6. Homemade Fruit Smoothie

Click here for healthy smoothie recipes.