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5 skinny snacks that help improve sleep

2. Organic Probiotic Yogurt

 (iStock)

You’ve eaten sensibly all day, but around bedtime you get the urge to snack.  Sweets like cookies and ice cream do more than throw your diet a nasty curve, the sugar rush can leave you tossing and turning for hours. However, a well-chosen bedtime snack can be healthy, weight-friendly, and even help you get a good night’s sleep.

Banana and Almond Butter

A small banana with a tablespoon of almond butter is tasty, easy on calories, and very filling. Plus, bananas are high in potassium - a natural muscle relaxant – and almond butter is high in magnesium and calcium, nutrients known to induce sleepiness.

Turkey Roll Ups and Whole Grain Crackers

Deli-style turkey slices are low in calories and a good source of lean protein – helpful for building healthy muscle. Turkey also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy. Roll up a few slices and enjoy with some whole grain crackers for satisfying crunch and belly-filling fiber, without a lot of calories.

Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries

When you want something cool and creamy, instead of ice cream grab a cup of plain Greek yogurt and mix in ½ cup of mixed berries. The calcium in the yogurt contains the same amino acid the body uses to produce melatonin, a natural hormone known for inducing restful sleep. Sweet, filling raspberries and strawberries are loaded with vitamin B6, which also stimulates melatonin production.  

Apple and Low-Fat Cheese

A small apple cut into wedges is naturally sweet and full of fiber, which makes this nutritious fruit very filling. Pair it with a stick of low-fat string cheese or a wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese, which contains healthy protein, calcium and that bedtime friend tryptophan.

Unsalted Almonds or Pistachios

A handful of these nuts not only provide a welcome boost of protein and healthy fat, they are also a good source of magnesium that promotes melatonin production. Pistachios are especially good for hungry dieters because a half-ounce, 100-calorie serving is about 25 nuts, and cracking each one from its shell makes this a snack you’ll enjoy an extra-long time.

For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books:  The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly weight loss newsletter