Living a healthy lifestyle takes commitment and focus. It’s easy to be swayed off course by cravings, sweets cravings and fatty foods, but you know that these will deter you from your goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, enhance your endurance, run a marathon or get stronger, eating a balanced, nutritious diet is a must.
Even so, late night snacks are hard to resist sometimes, and if your stomach is rumbling before hitting the hay, you may reach to something quick and easy. Instead of just grabbing whatever is closest at hand, try these nighttime snacks that won’t derail your good eating habits:
- Almonds: These nuts are very convenient, delicious and good for you. In addition, almonds are a good source of magnesium, which helps relax muscles so you can sleep better.
- Cherries: Whether it’s a handful of cherries or a glass of cherry juice, the tart kind is best before bed. Cherries are a food source for melatonin, which is the sleep hormone that helps to regulate your internal clock. Snacking on these before bed can help you drift off easier on a fuller stomach.
- Cheese and crackers: If you want something a little more filling for your nighttime snack, cheese and crackers are a good option. Cheese is a source of protein, which also provides you with tryptophan (the same amino acid found in turkey that makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner). Along with that, the crackers are carbs, which helps your body better absorb the tryptophan.
- Chamomile or green tea: If you find yourself more thirsty than hungry at bedtime, brew a cup of green or chamomile tea. Drinking tea is linked an a rise in glycine, which is a chemical that helps relax nerves and muscles, so sipping this beverage helps ease and stress or tension you may be feeling. Additionally, decaffeinated green tea features theanine, which is an amino acid that also helps with relaxation.
- Bananas: These fruits are another good source of tryptophan, and they also provide you with magnesium and potassium. “Both minerals help to relax muscles and may ease a painful charley horse that can wake you during the night,” Dr. Alon Avidan, neurologist and director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, told AARP.
- Milk and cereal: If you’re not a cheese and crackers fan, another excellent tryptophan and carb combo is milk and cereal. Before bed, have a small bowl of your favorite whole-grain cereal with some skim milk.
If you find yourself having trouble falling and/or staying asleep because of sore muscles or pain, a massage my help you find neck or back pain relief, which is helpful to getting quality slumber each evening.