The Best Mood-Boosting Bedtime Snacks

Are you waking up feeling tired, irritable or sad? You should try eating a healthy nighttime snack. It can help you sleep better at night and wake up happy.

What’s the secret to the sleep-enhancing, smile-unleashing effects of certain foods? They contain calming natural compounds: tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. With a little help from these three, your brain feels like it’s on a relaxing vacation.

Almonds and Almond Butter

All nuts contain healthy protein, and almonds come packed with an added benefit: tryptophan. Munching on high-protein snacks before bedtime is a great idea because it helps you sleep more soundly, encourages tissue repair and increases fat burning while you rest.

With a serotonin boost from eating almonds, you wake rejuvenated and energized. Almonds also have selenium, an important mineral for avoiding depression.

Bananas

Everyone loves bananas, and it turns out that bananas love you back. These feel-good fruits can double your body’s melatonin levels, and they’re a rich source of serotonin and magnesium. Plus, bananas are filling, so you don’t wake up as hungry in the morning.

Tart Cherry Juice or Dried Tart Cherries

Tart cherries can make a big difference in tryptophan levels in the blood. Some people love the sour flavor and drink a glass of juice before bed. If you need some sweetness, add 1/3 cup dried tart cherries to Greek yogurt for a major shot of melatonin.

Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries

Berries are one of the best foods for mental performance and mood no matter what time of day. They make great snacks morning, afternoon and night.

According to one study, the purple antioxidants from berries can reduce your risk of depression by almost 40%! If you want to enjoy less stress and anxiety, make sure to add these delicious fruits to your grocery list.

Kiwifruit

Kiwis are one of the only fruits that contain serotonin in spades. They can do wonders for your mood:

  • Help you relax
  • Make you feel sleepy
  • Increase the amount of time you stay asleep
  • Boost sleep quality
  • Promote positive feelings

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning, get up and slice up a kiwifruit or two. They’re the perfect size.

Pistachios

Did you know that a handful of pistachios has more melatonin than some over-the-counter sleep aids? Many products max out at 5 grams of melatonin. Pistachios pack 6.5 grams of mood-boosting melatonin for sleep into just 160 calories!

Milk Smoothies With Fruit or Protein

Milk and other dairy foods have a large amount of tryptophan, which helps your body produce more serotonin. As long as these foods don’t cause you digestive discomfort, they’re a perfect choice for a healthy nighttime snack. A milk smoothie with frozen fruit or nut butter gives you lots of protein and other vitamins, too.

Cheese and (Healthy) Carbs

The mixture of cheese and nutritious carbs can have a big effect on tryptophan levels and serotonin production. Unfortunately, carbs can make you gain weight if you overdo it at night. Pair a portion of cheese with a slice of whole-grain toast, some whole-grain crackers or a bowl of popcorn and you'll be just fine.

Create Tasty Snack Combinations

The great thing about these healthy foods is that mixing and matching them is a breeze. Add a banana to your smoothie. Eat Greek yogurt with pistachios. Make trail mix with dried tart cherries. The stars are the limit.

5 Low Calorie Snacks To Curb Those Hunger Pains

Everyone knows that part of weight loss is cutting calories, which can lead to challenges like hunger pains. Many low-calorie foods just won’t cut it when it comes to filling you up and leaving you satisfied until your next meal. When you don’t feel full, it is easier to give in to temptation and overeat or indulge in less than ideal foods. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy options that are both lower in calories and surprisingly filling.

1. Oats

If you are looking for something to fill you up at breakfast, consider adding oats to your meal. At only 148 calories, a half-cup serving of dry oats contains about four grams of fiber and five and a half grams of protein — each of these nutrients will help curb your hunger and appetite until your next meal.

According to one study, a serving of oatmeal can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake at your next meal. Another study found that instant and old-fashioned oatmeal can improve appetite control over four hours compared to traditional breakfast cereal.

2. Soup

While traditionally hailed as an appetizer or precursor to the main course, soup is satisfying alone, and some research has suggested that solid food is less filling than soups. According to one study, soup can slow the emptying of the stomach, promoting feelings of fullness for more extended periods, leading to fewer indulgences. Another study found that people can decrease their calorie intake by 20% by eating soup before a meal.

However, while soups are often low in calories and provide many benefits, you need to pay attention to the type of soup and the sodium content. Creamier soups tend to be higher in calories. To maximize fullness and minimize calories, you want to focus on lighter options, like broth and stock-based soups.

3. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with 11 grams per serving; it is also a low-calorie and filling snack option. At only 130 calories, Greek yogurt is proven to promote weight loss and reduce calorie intake among women. One study found that women who ate yogurt between lunch and dinner consumed about 100 fewer calories at dinner. Additionally, a second study found that high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt improved feelings of fullness over lower-protein options.

4. Berries

If you love berries, indulge in them. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While all of the nutrients are excellent for improved health, the fiber content matters when considering hunger. A single cup of blueberries has nearly three and a half grams of fiber. However, it is the type of dietary fiber found in berries that matters most: pectin.

Pectin is a type of dietary fiber that is proven to slow stomach emptying, which leads to increased feelings of fullness. By consuming berries as an afternoon snack, you can reduce feelings of hunger and your calorie intake at larger meals.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn is perhaps the most filling low-calorie snack when it is not coated in butter and salt. The surprisingly flavorful plain popcorn boasts only 31 calories per cup and includes about 5% of your daily fiber needs. Not only can popcorn lead to greater satiation, but it can also help stabilize blood sugar, which in turn prevents cravings and hunger. However, to enjoy the low-calorie benefits of popcorn, it must be air-popped and not ready-made.

Low-calorie and filling snacks are not impossible to find. Do you know of any others? Leave a comment.