Do you sit in front of the TV at night and eat even though you’re not even hungry? Or worse, do you diet during the day and consume a half-gallon of your favorite ice cream at night?
If so, you’re not alone. Millions struggle with this devastating problem that can lead to obesity, diabetes and even depression.
Before you’re tempted to binge on ice cream again, here are some healthy snacks and recipes to satisfy your cravings and tide you over until morning. And these nutrient-rich foods might even help you live longer!
1. Banana Ice Cream
Bananas contain potassium, which plays an important role in digestion and cardiovascular health. Studies show that increasing potassium reduces your risk of death from heart disease. And frozen bananas make delicious ice cream. Yes, that’s right! It’s easy to transform ripe bananas into soft-serve ice cream.
Here’s how to make banana ice cream:
- Peel 2 ripe bananas.
- Cut them into small pieces.
- Freeze for 1-2 hours on a plate lined with parchment paper.
- Blend in a food processor or blender.
- If necessary, scrape the sides and add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Freeze for a few minutes; or spoon into a bowl and enjoy!
2. Strawberry Smoothie
A 2012 study from Harvard found that older women who ate the most servings of berries — such as strawberries or blueberries — a week delayed memory decline by two and a half years. For a delicious treat, add frozen berries to smoothies.
- Six large frozen strawberries
- 1 ripe banana sliced and frozen
- 1 tablespoon tahini (or almond butter)
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice)
Put ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add your favorite sweetener.
3. Kale Chips
The International Urology and Nephrology Journal published a study that found the nutrients in kale can help protect against bladder cancer. Eating a diet rich in greens can give you lots of energy, as well as help you to keep your weight down. Kale chips have become popular lately; however, store-bought kale chips can be expensive. To save money, make your own kale chips at home.
- One medium bunch of kale
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the leaves and dry well. Trim the kale into two inch pieces, discarding the ribs. Massage one tablespoon of olive oil into the kale. Lay kale in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, or just until crisp. Check often, and don’t overcook. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two, then serve.
4. Avocado Toast
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E and C, as well as being high in fiber and potassium. They also contain folic acid. Studies show that avocados may help cardiovascular disease, weight loss, and aging. And according to studies in 2007 conducted by Ohio State University, avocados may help prevent oral cancer.
Not only are they nutritious, but they’re delicious as well. Try spreading half of a mashed-up avocado on top of a piece of whole grain toast. To add some flavor, squirt a little sriachi sauce on top. The healthy fat from the avocado will satisfy your cravings and keep you full until morning. And it also makes a quick, delicious breakfast.
5. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas can improve blood sugar levels and are high in protein, have no saturated fat, and no cholesterol. A 2004 study conducted on the elderly found that a 7 to 8 percent reduction in death for every 20 grams of legumes they consumed daily. Roasted chickpeas make a tasty, late-night snack.
- 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 2 teaspoons oil (extra-virgin olive or coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Put chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl. And mix with the rest of the ingredients — including the oil. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. These will last for a couple of days in an airtight container, but are best eaten the same day.
6. One-Minute Brownie
A 1999 Harvard study found that men who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month lived almost a year longer than those who didn’t. And a study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that patients who had survived a heart attack were 44 percent less likely to die over the next eight years if they ate chocolate up to once a week, versus none at all.
But let’s be honest: we don’t need to hear about the health benefits to eat chocolate! Make sure that you choose dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa that is at least 70 percent cocoa and doesn’t have much sugar. And if you have a craving for chocolate late at night, here’s a one-minute brownie recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 dash salt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
- 4 tablespoons almond flour (or almond meal)
Grease a coffee cup or mug. Add the coconut oil, milk, vanilla, and salt to the mug. Mix. Whisk in the cocoa powder, honey or maple syrup, and almond flour. Mix thoroughly and microwave for 1 minute. Insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, microwave for 1-2 more minutes. Top with favorite frosting, melted chocolate, or homemade jam. Enjoy!
So the next time you’re tempted to polish off half a gallon of ice cream at midnight, try one of these healthy snacks to satisfy your cravings. And by eating a nutrient-dense diet, you might add years to your life.
What is your favorite, healthy late-night snack? Let us know in the comments section below.