When trying to maintain a healthy diet, the most difficult time of day is often after dinner. It’s easier to stay on track when you aren’t constantly tempted by the refrigerator and pantry in the next room. Consuming even 300 calories after dinner can lead to a weight gain of 30 pounds a year.
On the other hand, if you avoid consuming extra calories in the evening, you can actually lose weight. Sometimes, those cravings just won’t quit, so there are healthier after dinner snack options to satisfy your hunger for both sweet and salty, and everything in between.
1. Banana Ice Cream
One of the most beloved desserts in the world, ice cream is sweet, cold, and refreshing. Traditional ice cream is also packed with fat and calories, which can leave you feeling bloated. Banana ice cream is a delicious dairy-free alternative that is both easy to make and friendly to the waistline. All you need to do is blend frozen bananas in a food processor until it develops the smooth consistency of ice cream. You can even mix in healthy additions like toasted coconut, almonds, or dark chocolate chips.
2. Peanut Butter Rice Cake
Rice cakes are naturally low in fat while also being very filling. A typical rice cake only contains around 35 calories. Topping one with a tablespoon of peanut butter adds extra protein and creates a winning combination that will satisfy any sweet and salty craving. If peanut butter isn’t an option due to allergies, consider trying sunflower seed butter, soy nut butter, or even Tahini. Topping the peanut butter with sliced strawberries or bananas packs on some extra potassium and flavor.
3. Hard Boiled Egg
Eggs contain just 78 calories each, making them the perfect after dinner snack. Since they are loaded with protein, just one hard boiled egg will keep you feeling full the whole night. They are also rich in vitamins A, B2, B12, D, calcium, and zinc. It’s easy to make a bunch ahead of time so that when the after dinner cravings hit, you won’t need to scrounge around the house for something healthy to eat.
4. Microwave Popcorn
A healthier alternative to chips and pretzels, microwave popcorn is both convenient and low in fat. One cup contains roughly 65 calories and less than 5 grams of fat. Avoid ones that contain extra butter and instead choose plain or light options. If you’re craving cheesy popcorn, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast as a yummy, dairy-free alternative.
5. Carrots and Celery with Hummus
Plain carrot and celery sticks can be boring, but dipping them in fattening dressings can add many unwanted calories to your daily diet. Hummus is a great alternative to dips and dressings since most varieties contain just 25 calories per tablespoon. There are a variety of flavor options as well, from roasted red pepper hummus to even chocolate hummus, ensuring that every hunger pain is satisfied.
Raisins are truly a super fruit. Not only do they mimic the sweet and chewy vibe of candy, they are also packed with protein and vitamins. Just one box of raisins contains almost 2 grams of protein as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
7. Cherry Tomatoes
Is it a fruit or is it a vegetable? While technically it’s a fruit, it doesn’t really matter when it’s so healthy and delicious. One cup of cherry tomatoes contain 27 calories and 0 grams of fat, making them a delectable alternative to fruits that are higher in sugar like grapes and cherries. Their firm outside texture provides a satisfying burst of sweetness when you bite into them, creating the ideal after dinner snack.
Cereal isn’t just for breakfast. It’s actually a great way to end the day as well. Healthy cereals paired with almond milk or skim milk are low in fat and calories in addition to being packed with vitamins and minerals. Great options include shredded wheat, Cheerios, corn flakes, or any other unsweetened cereal. Top cereal with toasted almonds, dried cranberries, or sliced bananas for additional health benefits.