Don’t be taken in by high-calorie snacks tucked away in the vending machine at work. Those mini-muffins are contributing to your muffin top! Instead, when you pack a meal for break time, include a few extra snacks to get you through your third-shift work schedule. Here are five healthy midnight snacks that won’t pack on the pounds.
- Popcorn. If you say that popcorn is boring, you haven’t tried it with some extra seasoning. Skip the butter (and the calories) and instead toss fresh, hot, popped corn with a taco-seasoning packet or a ranch dressing dry-mix packet. Delicious! For a sweet tooth, try tossing the popcorn with a handful of dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
- Nuts. Nuts are easy to pack and don’t require refrigeration. Try making a blend of your favorites to snack on, such as almonds and cashews. Or splurge on the flavored varieties, such as spicy wasabi or buffalo nuts. Skip the praline flavored or sugar-coated nuts to keep your waistline in check.
- Veggies. It only takes a few minutes to wash and chop a small container of fresh vegetables to snack on at work . Forgo the boring baby carrots and celery. Instead try sweet, yellow bell peppers, spicy radishes, juicy grape tomatoes, and crisp jicama. Grab an individual container of chickpea hummus if you like something to dip your veggies into.
- Fruit. If you crave a little sugar to keep you alert throughout the night shift, turn to fresh fruit. It’s lower in calories than a candy bar, but also satisfies your sweet tooth. Pack a bunch of fresh grapes, whole strawberries, sliced papaya, or a crisp apple.
- Cheese and crackers. When eaten in moderation, both dairy and carbohydrates give you energy, not a big belly. Choose low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers to make the snack even healthier. Get creative and try jalapeno-seasoned cheese or crackers made with flaxseed and quinoa.
The key to snacking during a late night shift is moderation. Keep your healthy midnight snacks under 200 calories each and only bring one or two snacks to work with you each night. You aren’t saving any calories by eating an entire box of crackers or a family-size package of nuts. If you notice yourself still feeling hungry after break time, pack large bottles of flavored water to sip on. Use fresh sliced lemons, limes, oranges, and sprigs of mint to turn boring bottled water into healthy vitamin water!