Choosing a late night snack can be sidetracked into the unhealthy column by the number of ads for fast food or frozen pizza. However, you don’t have to fall into that trap if you have a little time to make some advance preparations.
Peanut butter and jelly: This is one of our favorites. It’s simple, it can be balanced and it can be healthy. One of the best ways to help improve the health benefits is to make the jelly yourself. It’s actually easy to do. You need unsweetened fruit juice of your choice, sugar and a box of Sure-gel. You don’t have to make the juice, you can use store bought juice using this recipe.
To make the sandwich, you need two slices of whole wheat bread, about a tablespoon of jelly and two tablespoons of peanut butter. I usually do the jelly before the peanut butter as I don’t like getting it in my jelly. Spread on the bread, fold together and enjoy.
The health benefits of this sandwich are protein and fiber. The peanut butter alone provides eight grams of protein.
Guacamole and chips: You can buy guacamole, but then you are stuck with whatever preservatives might be added. Making it at home isn’t difficult and can yield a late night snack that answers the fat craving without having the fat content of a pizza.
For this, a food processor is a good idea, though I have seen it done by hand with a fork. You’ll need a peeled and seeded avocado and two tablespoons of salsa or fresh pico de gallo (may be found in the produce department of your local supermarket). Add them to the food processor and pulse until it’s all mixed together. To do the fork method, put the avocado into a deep bowl, add the salsa or pico de gallo and mash together. It will be more chunky, but still tasty. If you want it restaurant style, warm the chips in the oven.
The health benefits, especially if you use the pico de gallo, include no preservatives, monounsaturated fat and beta-carotene.
Cinnamon Toast: This is the easiest to prepare snack, and it’s good if your sweet tooth is demanding attention. You can mix the cinnamon sugar well in advance or right away. Amounts can vary a little for personal taste, but I like a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon to a tablespoon of sugar. To make the toast, butter a slice of bread, sprinkle on the desired amount of the cinnamon mixture and put it in a pre-heated broiler. It takes two to five minutes, depending on how “done” you like the toast.
You may have noticed that these snacks are fairly light. That’s because heavier foods, such as a hamburger or a pizza, can create sleep problems. The digestive system has to work hard to digest heavy foods and it’s not a good combination for sleep.