The other day I received a text message from one of my friends saying, "I stay up until 2 a.m. every day working. It's mentally and physically exhausting. I get so hungry and always turn to cereal. Fruit and-or veggies are not satisfying. Solve that problem and we are even."
For me, answering questions is the best way to learn, refresh and exercise my brain. I love to try to give a creative, planned, researched answer. And if someone took the time to ask the question, he or she is probably are not the only one with the issue.
So I want to share with you my answer on how to attack my friend's late-night, inefficient fuel of sugar and carbs.
Most cereals are extremely high in calories, sugar and carbs. They are not the best option for those late-night cravings. Yes, there are some healthier, high fiber, low sugar options, but they are better for breakfast or a midmorning snack.
At night, when you just have to have a snack, you need to be prepared with healthy options in order to satisfy the hunger and avoid quick and easy alternatives that are not beneficial.
Here are five alternatives to late-night cereal:
1. Veggies wrapped in turkey
Wrap cooked asparagus in a slice of turkey lunch meat. The low sodium variety is ideal, or get the leanest slices you can find on the shelf in the store. Take the slice of turkey and spread one triangle of Laughing Cow light spreadable cheese (in any flavor) on it and then put in a piece of asparagus, maybe a tomato, then roll it up and put a toothpick in it. Keep them in a container in the refrigerator or keep the asparagus cooked in bulk so you can easily make them. I cook asparagus in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the stove with garlic powder and fresh ground pepper until they done are to the desired tenderness.
2. Reduced-fat cottage cheese with unsalted slivered almonds
3. Protein shake. Take 1 scoop vanilla protein, 1 banana, 1/3 cup organic pumpkin (in the can), 1 cup low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and blend. Or try 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, 1 cup low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk, ½ banana and blend.
4. Lean ground turkey meat with vegetables.
This is really satisfies me late at night because I can put a bunch of salsa on it and eat a lot of it but it's still really healthy and lean. My favorite vegetables are mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, onion, zucchini squash, spinach and tomatoes.
5. Hard-boiled eggs
These are a must-have in my fridge at all times. I can eat them in the morning for a quick breakfast, bring them with me for a snack, and have them at night.
Lunden Souza can be reached at email@example.com.