One minute we’re channel surfing through late-night talk shows, and the next we can’t stop thinking about how hungry we are. (“I need to be up for class in 6 hours and i’m never going to fall asleep on an empty stomach.”) Overeating before bed increases the chance of those calories you are consuming being stored as fat. Rushing the digestive process, and drifting off into sleep with junk food nesting in your system is one of the quickest ways you will gain weight. Fighting the urge to indulge isn’t always easy, but if you have healthy alternatives at your disposal, it will make your diet transition easier to stomach. Here are 7 late-night snacks that will have you sleeping easier, and feeling better about yourself.

Greek Yogurt

It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and will have you feeling full and satisfied. If the yogurt by itself isn’t tasty enough for you, add in your favorite fruits and oatmeal. Greek yogurt is one of the finest options on this list and comes in many flavors such as blueberry, peach, and strawberry. My favorite brand is Chobani.

Cheese Quesadilla

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A cheese quesadilla is the perfect alternative to warming up that leftover pizza in your fridge. When you think of healthy foods, quesadillas aren’t the first thing that come to mind, but if you use whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat cheese you have a nutritious and delicious snack on your hands. If you must have sour cream with your quesadilla, go low fat and don’t glob it on.

Dark Chocolate

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Who doesn’t like chocolate?  Chocolate lovers rejoice, you can fulfill your late-night craving while reducing your risk for heart disease and lowering your blood pressure. Dark chocolate is scientifically proven to be healthy, and won’t leave you feeling bad about yourself like housing a snickers bar would. Like anything, if you overdo it it isn’t healthy, but a few pieces before bed will have you dreaming peacefully. I suggest Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate. ($1.79 per 3-pack).

Blueberries

Frozen blueberries are an easy late-night snack, and actually possess more positive benefits than most of it’s fruit group counterparts.  This sweet little blue fruit can soften dry skin, prevent memory loss, and even block the growth of cancer infested tumors. Easy to find, cheap to buy, and quick to prepare; blueberries are your friend.

Popcorn

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Popcorn is probably one of the tastiest snacks on this list, and when prepared correctly it can actually be one of the healthiest as well.  Popcorn is chock-full of whole grains, fiber and antioxidants. With this being said, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you are eating an entire bag of butter-laced popcorn in your bed as you wind down your night. Do away with the butter, and plain air-popped popcorn is an entirely different story. In need of a little extra flavor? Good butter substitutes include olive oil, citrus and spices. If you want to get creative while maintaining a high-standard of health, you can even add trail mix ingredients to your popcorn. (Peanuts, raisins, dried mangoes, etc…)

Pistachios

Pistachios - Healthy Snacks

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Pistachios may be small, but they have big-time nutritional value. They contain protein, fiber and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Most pistachios are roasted and salted, hindering their nutritional value slightly. Unsalted pistachios are the healthiest  nuts known to man. Not nuts for pistachios? Almonds and walnuts are pretty healthy as well.

Whole Grain Crackers with Hummus

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Hummus is one of the most trendy and popular of the healthy snacks. It is quite versatile and can be used in many ways. One of the healthiest ways to enjoy it is with whole grain crackers. It makes for one of the best late-night snacks because of its uncanny ability to fill you up, while maintaining a healthy standard and quality taste. It’s made from garbanzo beans and comes packed with fiber and olive oil (both of which will satiate your hunger pains). Hummus is probably the most expensive item on this list, but if you are willing to pay for quality, it is a great option.

Feel free to get creative with these snacks, and mix it up! Eating the same anything every night will become monotonous no matter what it is you’re eating.  Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a couple of the items on this list and start building towards a healthier life. I didn’t cover drinks in the list, but when it comes to washing down your late-night snack I would suggest water. If the tap water in your dorm or apartment is a little nasty, you should purchase a Brita Bottle. Easier than the traditional filter, the bottle filters the water and gives you something to drink out of at the same time. I had one my last 2 years of college and it was extremely convenient. If you’re not a water person, fat-free milk is also a very healthy drink, especially if you are an athlete or you’re trying to build muscle.

I hope this list helps you and gives you some healthy late-night snack options to choose from. These snacks taste just as good as most of the junk food you’re used to having, anyway. The battle is mental — get in a routine and these snacks we’ll become just as appetizing as Double Stuffed Oreos. (Did I just ruin this whole article by mentioning Double-Stuffed Oreos?)

What is your favorite late-night snack?