Late night snacks that won’t leave you feeling guilty after eating them.

By: Taren Vaughan

Night cravings are things that many of us suffer from time to time. That sudden urge to run to the kitchen and pop something in the microwave just seems to creep up on us when we least expect it. Even after you have had your three full course meals for the day, there is just no way around those midnight cravings. But before you hop in your car and take a trip down to a 24 hour fast food joint, check out five late night snacks that won’t pack on those unwanted calories before you hit the sack:

Low fat mini bag of popcorn

Usually drenched in butter and loaded down with salt, many may think that popcorn is not the best solution to your night craving woes. The good news is though that this snack can come butter-free and in small packages. Air popped popcorn is the best there is as far as calories and fat grams are concerned. But really who is going to buy an air popper? Popping a mini bag of low fat popcorn in the microwave will satisfy your craving just the same, with just a few extra calories that you will probably burn off in your sleep. In addition to it being low fat, eating a mini bag of popcorn cuts down on the amount that you eat as well. You’re not at the movie theaters remember? No need for a giant tub. A mini bag is just enough to hit the spot until breakfast time rolls around.

Sliced fruit

No matter what time of the day it is, fresh fruit is always a good way to fill your stomach momentarily until you are ready to eat a full fledged meal. All fresh fruits are great for you to eat but orange slices are at the top of the list. They are not only tasty treats but they contain a high amount of Vitamin C, the key vitamin responsible for supporting your immune system. Eating a plain bowl of strawberries with nothing on them might not sound too enticing to some people. So for those who are looking to add a little something to their bowl of fruit, adding some light whipped cream will do the trick. Stay away from sugar at all cost as drenching fresh fruit in sugary substances takes away from the healthy aspect of the snack.

Cheese and Crackers

One of my favorite after hour treats has got to be cheese and crackers. Low in calories and easy to put together, cheese and crackers had to find its way on this list of favorable midnight snacks. There are plenty of cracker and cheese types to choose from. But your best bet is to go with the ones that are low in sodium and fat. Light Saltine and Ritz crackers are some of the most popular of choice. As far as the cheese is concerned, cubed cheese is the way to go as you won’t have to deal with the hassle of slicing it up and probably making a decent sized mess on your kitchen counter. And if you’re not a huge fan of cheese, add some peanut butter to your saltines instead.

Frozen Yogurt

Not to be confused with ice cream of course, frozen yogurt is yet another midnight snack that will leave your taste buds overly satisfied. It is available in many flavors and is a snack of choice for someone who is looking for a cold treat before bedtime. Although it doesn’t taste as good due its lack of cream, frozen yogurt is definitely a great substitute for ice cream. If you want to fancy it up, add some berries or small fruit slices to it. Even when put up against low-fat or light ice creams, frozen yogurt is still by far the more healthier snack out of the three.

Jell-O

Now you know that you can’t go pick up the regular kind of this snack food. A sugar-free or fat free cup of Jell-O pudding is much better to eat during the wee hours of the morning. Unlike the other midnight snack choices that lay before you, you can have a little bit of fun with your Jell-O before you eat it, that is if you have a cookie cutter handy. Aside from the fact that it can be fun to play with, Jell-O also contains gelatin, which has been noted by researchers to help fight food allergies when added to ones diet. Whether it is Jell-O pudding or the colorful Jell-O gelatin, either treat will settle your growling stomach down in no time.

Snack bars, smoothies and fresh vegetables like celery or carrot sticks are also good snacks for those midnight cravings that try to get the best of us. It’s so hard not to resort to greasy foods restaurants during the middle of the night, especially seeing as though they are the only places open for the most part. But I’m sure in that same vicinity there is a 24 hour grocery store too. Pick the healthier snack. Trust me, you’ll feel better about yourself in the morning.

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