It’s a late night and you’re in bed with the lights out. The hearty meal you had for dinner was tasty, but now you’re craving something to nibble on. Oh hello bad-for-you snacks. 

But before you reach for the packet of salt and vinegar chips, think of all the effort that went into your meal prep and exercise this week. When hunger calls, one can’t help but answer, even if it’s late at night. We want your answered call to be a healthy one.

Here is a list of 10 healthy late-night snacks to satisfy you without the weight gain. You’re welcome.

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1. Greek yoghurt and a handful of mixed berries 

Greek yoghurt should be on everyone’s list of top favourite foods, with its phenomenal health benefits. Plain Greek yoghurt is good for building muscle, boosting your metabolism and reducing hunger. Berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) are low in calories, rich in antioxidants and can decrease your risk of heart disease. 

2. Apple and peanut butter 

Trade your slab of chocolate for a medium-sized apple slathered with a teaspoon of peanut butter. Apples are high in fibre and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Although peanut butter has been generally linked to weight gain, this snack adds a nice sweet balance of flavour to the crunchy apple texture. 

3. Air-popped popcorn

Flavoured microwave popcorn is delicious, but it’s packed with unhealthy ingredients. Air popping your own kernels is more nutritious and you’ll rest easy because you’re basically snacking guilt-free. Bonus: Air-popped popcorn lowers cholesterol levels, improves digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. 

4. Baby carrots

Remember when mum used to encourage you to eat your carrots? You should have listened. It’s not too late to catch up. Carrots contain vitamin A, antioxidants and potassium, which supports healthy eyes and skin. These healthy snacks also play an important role in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

5. Edamame

Originally from Japan, edamame beans are a good source of protein. The steamed soybeans are packed full of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, which strengthens your immune system. A few beans before bed will improve your digestion and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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6. Dried figs

Figs contain vitamins and minerals to keep us feeling fuller for longer, so we don’t overeat. Vitamins C and E contribute to enhancing our beauty, giving skin a much-needed boost. 

7. Low-sugar granola bars

The wonderful thing about “granola bars” is that you can make your own at home with healthier ingredients. Think foods like oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut and honey, and you get to enjoy a low-carb snack. 

8. Whole-grain crackers and cottage cheese

This healthy snack has been around forever — and for good reason. Whole-grain crackers pack in fibre and cottage cheese is high in calcium and protein.

9. Pistachio nuts

Firstly, can we talk about how delicious pistachios are? They’re packed with protein, essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also an excellent source of healthy fats. Eating pistachios on a regular basis can have remarkable benefits for your cardiovascular health. 

10. Kale chips

This nutritious superfood is loaded with fibre, and has the ability to reduce the risk of colon cancer and lower blood pressure. Kale chips are a great snack substitute for potato chips.

This article was originally published in Women's Health SA

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