There’s no better way to wind down from a busy day than to catch up on your favorite shows with snacks in hand, amirite? That said, snacking before bed can wreak some serious havoc on your sacred sleep time, not to mention the wrong foods could cause unwanted weight gain. But it is important to listen to your body and if it’s hungry, give the body what it wants!

To help you make the best choices possible when reaching for bedtime snacks we’ve curated a list of foods you should indulge in before bed and foods you really should stay away from. This way you’ll be able to go to bed with a satisfied belly while being able to get a good night’s rest.

1. Should: Nut Butter & Whole Grain Toast

Slather some nut butter on your whole-grain toast right before bed and your stomach will thank you. Slice up some banana to go on top and drizzle with a little maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth you simply can’t resist.

Nut butter is a great source of healthy fats and proteins, while whole-grain toast will provide your body with a solid amount of fiber and carbohydrates to help improve your digestion. Proteins will heal those muscles overnight so you can take on Monday with a whole new level of energy.

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2. Shouldn’t: Pizza

Pizza is a glorious meal because it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course as a snack and no one will judge you! But, you really shouldn’t reach for that cheesy pizza late at night.

For starters, pizza contains tomato sauce that has high levels of acidity which could cause acid reflux. But that’s not all, combine the sauce with greasy toppings, high-fat cheese, and the list goes on, you’re just asking for a night of restless sleep. These hard-to-digest ingredients will make your organs work hard so be sure to save the pizza and eat it during the day while your body still has time to digest it!

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3. Should: High Fiber Cereal

Skip having a bowl of Fruit Loops before bed and opt for a healthier alternative. You’ll get whole grains in your cereal, and protein from the milk. It’s the perfect combination to wind down your body before bed and is even more scrumptious with some fruit on top.

Adding complex carbohydrates into the mix can assist with filling your growling stomach and it increases your serotonin levels — it’s the stuff that helps you relax before bed which is very helpful to a good night’s sleep.

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4. Shouldn’t: Celery

Okay, before you decide to ban eating celery all together we want to be clear this is still a healthy food and should be enjoyed! That said, you just may want to skip eating celery right before bed because celery is a natural diuretic.

Diuretics can cause frequent urination because they push water through your system. So if you’re reaching for a bunch of celery sticks before bed your slumber may be interrupted several times throughout the night.

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5. Should: Nuts

Eating a handful of nuts as a bedtime snack will provide your body with tons of protein, good fat and Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to thicken your hair, balance your cholesterol and hormone levels and can even help with PMS symptoms!

Remember that burger you “accidentally” ate (that wasn’t part of your diet plan)? Vitamin E will help balance your cholesterol so that the damage from that cheat meal could be a little bit less significant.

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6. Shouldn’t: Coffee

Some people can drink a late-night coffee and won’t lose any sleep but that isn’t the case for most people. Drinking coffee right before bed may be an obvious no-no, but what most people don’t realize is drinking it even late in the afternoon can affect your sleep too.

Caffeine can linger in your system for hours and in result can cause you to toss and turn for hours only to cut into your sacred sleeping time. Be sure to avoid coffee at least 6 hours before sleep!

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7. Should: Hummus & Veggies

Make yourself a mini platter of veggies, paired with a scoop of hummus, a chickpea-based dip, for a savory and colorful snack before bed.

We already know that vegetables are packed with antioxidants and water, which prevents inflammation, but did you know that hummus is also an anti-inflammatory food as well? Not only can inflammation cause bloating but it can lead to a variety of diseases and illnesses, so loading up your plate with veggies and adding a scoop of hummus is a perfect snack that will leave you feeling satiated and ready for bed.

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8. Shouldn’t: Ice Cream

Snuggling in to watch your favorite movie with a bowl of your favorite ice cream sounds like a great idea unless it’s right before bed. You see, ice cream is loaded with fat and eating it right before bed won’t provide your body enough time to burn it before sleeping.

Further, ice cream is loaded with sugar which will pump you with a jolt of energy which can cause a night of restless sleep. Not to mention sugar gets stored as fat which could, in turn, cause weight gain. Some studies believe eating sugary foods before bed may cause nightmares too which is another recipe for disaster when it comes to sleep.

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9. Should: Mixed Berries

Eating a handful of these lovely berries with a sprinkle of chia or hemp seeds will fill you up quickly and satisfy your sweet tooth before bed. You can also add them to Greek yogurt if you’re extra hungry tonight.

Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in color because they are rich in antioxidants! They’re low in sugar so you can be confident they won’t spike your blood sugar levels before bed. This bedtime snack is simple and fantastic for those pursuing weight maintenance or loss.

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10. Shouldn’t: Protein Shakes

Consuming enough protein is important in achieving a healthy diet. For some, protein shakes are an easy way to increase protein consumption. That said if you’re hitting the gym late at night and come home to drink a post-workout drink be sure to check out the ingredients of your protein powder.

Many sport shakes contain caffeine which can help you pre-workout but can wreak havoc post-workout, especially if you’re planning on going to sleep shortly after. Furthermore, some protein powders are loaded with sugar too which we know by now can wreak havoc on your sleep.

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11. Should: Casein Protein Shake & Coconut Oil

Pack your blender with some fruits rich in antioxidants and potassium, such as blueberries, bananas, and cherries. Add a scoop of casein protein powder or cottage cheese and add a scoop of coconut oil for some good fat and you will be full in no time!

With antioxidants helping to prevent disease and illness, potassium to help improve digestion and casein protein to ensure you have lasting energy, this smoothie is like taking a delicious, all-natural vitamin but afterward, you feel full! The coconut oil will also help you feel full for a longer period of time, ensuring your weight loss efforts are not tossed out the window in a fury of hunger.

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12. Shouldn’t: Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is delicious, especially when paired with pasta or served on pizza! However, it would be wise to avoid eating it right before bed. Those who suffer from acid reflux may experience heartburn because tomatoes are highly acidic.

Further, tomato sauce contains an amino acid called tyramine. This amino acid can trigger the brain to release norepinephrine which is a stimulant that boosts brain activity. So if you’re planning on indulging, make sure it’s several hours before bedtime.

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13. Should: Chocolate Milk

After a busy day at work, at the gym or a fun Saturday, chocolate milk proves to be an ideal recovery drink. Pour it in a glass and drink, or add it to a post-workout smoothie along with fruits, nuts, veggies, and seeds.

It contains the proper ratio of proteins to carbs that your body needs to recover its muscles and energy. If you’re looking for a quick bedtime snack or sip, look no further, chocolate milk is your new best friend.

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14. Shouldn’t: Orange Juice

A cup of OJ pairs wonderfully with breakfast but it should really be avoided at night time. Like tomatoes, citrus fruits are highly acidic which can wreak havoc if you suffer from acid reflux. Plus drinking right before bedtime can cause frequent visits to the bathroom throughout the night.

Further, many store-bought cartons of orange juice are loaded with sugar and as we discussed earlier is never a good idea if you’re looking to get a good night’s rest.

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15. Should: Turkey & Cheese

A kick of protein before bed is a great way to feel satisfied without feeling bloated. Try having some slices of turkey with your favorite low-fat cheese for a double dose of protein and you can bet that you won’t hear your stomach grumbling tonight.

Did you know that protein is not only a great source of energy, but are the building blocks for healthy bones, skin, blood, and cartilage? When you’re trying to get in shape and lose weight, the last thing you need is a preventable injury. With the help of protein, your bones will be strong and ready to take on your daily workouts!

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16. Shouldn’t: Sugary Breakfast Cereal’s

A delicious bowl of sweet cereal can really hit the spot especially when those late-night cravings hit. However, digging into a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal is not the smartest choice, especially if you’re hoping to get a good night’s sleep.

Cereals that are high in sugar will digest quickly and in turn, can spike your blood sugar. This can throw off your sleep hormones which might cause restless sleep. As we discussed earlier, if you’re craving cereal be sure to indulge in one that is high-fiber, and low-sugar.

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17. Should: Low-Fat Cheese & Raw Veggies

Skipping the carbs and looking for a lighter snack instead? Combining low-fat cheese with some fresh veggies is a great way to get those healthy fats and proteins into your system without anything extra. A lot of people are scared of fat, but it’s actually a wonderful source of energy, providing it’s not saturated or trans fat.

Further, vegetables are packed with water and antioxidants, along with vitamins and minerals that are vital to your well being. That is why you’ve never heard anyone say “Stop eating so many veggies!”. There are so many benefits, you simply cannot get enough – especially when you’re looking for foods to assist you with weight loss.

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18. Shouldn’t: Spicy Foods

Spices can really enhance the flavor of many dishes, however, if you’re planning on digging into spicy food be sure it’s quite a few hours before bedtime. Some spicy foods such as chilies are known to raise the body temperature which can result in a restless sleep.

Further, spicy food can also seriously irritate your stomach especially if you’re prone to heartburn. Some even believe that spicy foods can cause nightmares, however, there isn’t enough evidence to prove this true. All in all, play it safe and save the spicy foods for dinner time.

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19. Should: Popcorn

Next time you feel like eating a whole bag of potato chips, try munching on some popcorn instead. It’s best to enjoy air-popped popcorn and you can even top it with some coconut oil for some healthy fats and a dash of salt for flavor.

You may not believe this, but popcorn actually has major health benefits! Not only is it a whole grain, but it has more protein and phosphorus than even eggs or spinach (plus you get to eat a lot of it). Phosphorus is a key component of boosting your metabolism, something we could all benefit from when losing weight.

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20. Shouldn’t: Cruciferous Vegetables

Although vegetables are incredibly good for you, there is reason to be wary of certain ones right before bedtime. Veggies in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts should certainly be a part of your regular diet, but perhaps just not at bedtime. These veggies are quite fibrous and because of that, they take your body a lot longer to digest.

Further, cruciferous veggies contain indigestible sugars that could cause bloating and gas. Both of these factors can certainly affect your sleep.

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21. Should: Cherries

Nothing beats a big bowl of fresh, locally grown cherries. The best part is, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in cherries because they have so many health benefits!

Cherries, as shown in their rich color, are a wonderful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants assist in maintaining heart health and can also reduce your risk of illness, disease and some forms of cancer. Much like the other bedtime snacks mentioned, these benefits contribute to allowing you to continue living a healthy lifestyle!

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22. Shouldn’t: Soda

Drinking a glass of soda right before bed is a bad idea for a few reasons. Firstly, some sodas are loaded with caffeine and just like coffee, it can wreak havoc on your sacred sleep time. That’s because soda will likely cause you to toss and turn uncomfortably all night long.

Second, regular soda is loaded with sugar. As we know by now, sugar can be extremely stimulating and in result can cause restless sleep.

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23. Should: Cottage Cheese

Scoop some cottage cheese into a bowl and add some fresh fruit or veggies into the mix, then enjoy! Cottage cheese is not only delicious but contains something called “casein protein”.  Casein proteins have the secret power of slowly releasing proteins (AKA amino acids) into your bloodstream so you have a steady flow of energy for a longer period of time.

Whether you had a crazy day at work or are running a marathon tomorrow, cottage cheese will help your body prep for, and recover from a high energy day. Eating this before bed allows your body to absorb these nutritional benefits before another day in the life!

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24. Shouldn’t: Alcohol

Food isn’t the only culprit that affects our quality of sleep. Drinking before bed can impact your sleep too! A glass (or a few glasses) of red wine can knock some people out, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a good night’s rest.

When you fall asleep your liver is hard at work as it’s working hard to remove the alcohol from your system. This could, in turn, negatively affect your quality of sleep.

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25. Should: Oatmeal With Fruit & Seeds

Have you ever tried eating a large bowl of oatmeal? It’s difficult! Why? Because oatmeal is so filling, making it a great bedtime snack. Top it with some banana and blueberries, along with some chia seeds and you have yourself one healthy snack.

Oatmeal packs in energy for the next day, can boost heart health and can help prevent diabetes. This is so beneficial for preventing weight gain because a healthy heart means a strong heart that is ready to get your blood pumping and allow you to exercise longer.

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26. Shouldn’t: Fried Foods

We know those salty fried foods are delicious, but the next time your late-night cravings hit, try your best to stay clear of the drive-thru. Greasy foods move very slowly through the digestive system which means your digestive system will be working really hard when you sleep.

Indulging in fried foods in moderation can be okay, and should be enjoyed just preferably not right before bed if you’re hoping to get a good night’s rest!

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27. Should: Bananas

Bananas are a healthy choice for anyone, at any time of the day. They are the superstar of fruits because they are so high in potassium, something our bodies don’t naturally produce. So munching on a banana at night, is a great idea for getting that boost your body needs.

Potassium improves muscle contractions, nerve impulses, heart rhythm, digestion and so much more. These bodily functions are vital to keeping your body moving and absorbing all the nutrients you are eating.

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28. Shouldn’t: Red Meat

You don’t have to cut red meat out of your diet entirely. After all, it’s a great source of protein and it also contains high levels of iron and tryptophan which both have been shown to help sleep. However, it would be a good idea not to indulge in red meat right before bed.

The high protein found in red meat is good for you just not right before bed because it can keep our bodies hard at work all night. Thus, may result in a restless sleep.

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29. Should: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has all that great protein you are looking for. The benefit of protein in your snack is that it not only gives you lasting nourishment, but it also enhances your muscle healing overnight.

Greek yogurt differs from regular yogurt, as the Greek variety has significantly less sugar but is much thicker and so much creamier! It’s a win-win situation for your body and your tastebuds.

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30. Shouldn’t: Chocolate

While avoiding coffee right before bed may be fairly obvious, indulging in decadent chocolate may not be. You see, chocolate contains caffeine too!

There are about 23 milligrams of caffeine in just 1 ounce of chocolate. While this is about a quarter the amount found in a cup of coffee, most of us don’t eat just one ounce of chocolate at a time which means that caffeine can add up quickly. Chocoholics can relax because you don’t have to cut it out of your diet just try your best not to indulge right before bed!

Dima Sobko / Shutterstock

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

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