14 Healthy(ish) Late Night Snacks to Fuel Your Summer Runs

These end-of-day snacks are guaranteed to satisfy hunger (and your need for nutrition, too).

The days are longer and warmer, which means you’re probably logging more miles and staying up a bit longer. Both of which can ramp up after-dinner hunger and leave you raiding the pantry or freezer in the pursuit of some extra calories.

While late day snacking usually gets a bad rap, and deservingly so if you end up nibbling on junk food that makes it easy to pack on unwanted pounds, it can most certainly assist runners in meeting their overall calorie and nutrient needs if done properly. And some night snack options may actually help you score a better nights rest. But what should you reach for when a post-sunset snack attack strikes?

Stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with these not-so-guilty treats that will power your miles and silence a growling belly.

Clio Greek Yogurt Bars

These subzero heroes are a better way to beat the heat than most tubs of ice cream. Wrapped up in dark chocolate, frozen Greek yogurt gives you a healthy dose of muscle-building, hunger-taming protein while the active cultures can support better digestive health. The caveat here is that it’s not fully known what impact freezing temperatures have on probiotic activity. Flavors range from hazelnut to summery strawberry.

Good Culture Whole Milk Classic Cottage Cheese

A study review published in the journal Frontiers of Nutrition found there is strong evidence that consuming protein before bed can help boost muscle recovery and growth. This is especially useful for runners who also participate in resistance training. The study authors point out that casein, which cottage cheese has in abundance, is an ideal before-bed form of protein to eat since it’s slower-releasing than other types like whey so provides your body with a steady stream of muscle-friendly amino acids as you snooze away. This cottage cheese delivers 14 grams of muscle-making protein in a 1/2 cup serving, supplies a dose of probiotics and tastes amazing (we kid you not!). Mix with a handful of berries if you need a hit of sweetness.

Crispy Beet Trail Mix

Photo credit: Claudia Totir - Getty Images
Photo credit: Claudia Totir – Getty Images

With a sweet-crunchy combo, this trail mix is the pinnacle of snacking satisfaction. It delivers a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats, and the mint provides a refreshing taste of summer. Bonus: pumpkin seeds are a source of the amino acid tryptophan to help regulate sleep patterns.

1 cup beet chips, such as bare
1 cup apple chips, such as bare
1/2 cup coconut chips
1/2 cup sliced dried mango
1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Directions: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Makes 6 Servings

Living Intentions Cinnamon Twist Popcorn

While the golden popcorn at the multiplex is a belt-stretching calorie-bomb, healthier popcorn is a great sleep-inducing night-time snack option. The carbohydrates in popcorn help transfer the amino acid tryptophan into your brain where it’s used to fire up the production of the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin. With a cinnamon-maple mix, this bagged option tastes like dessert but with a much less guilty 138 calories in a 3 cup serving.

PB&J Balls

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 – Getty Images

These great balls of nutrition taste like you’re eating late-night PB&J toast, but extra nutritional oomph. Peanuts supply satiating protein while naturally occurring melatonin in tart cherries may give them sleep-inducing powers. In recent years, sleep has become widely recognized as playing a vital role in exercise performance since it influences everything from recovery to mental performance when working up a sweat.

1 cup pitted dates

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

1 cup dried cherries

3/4 cups quick cook oats

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted peanut butter)

Place dates in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak 30 minutes. Drain and pat excess water away with a paper towel. Place peanuts in a food processor bowl and process until pulverized into small pieces. Add dates, cherries, oats, peanut butter and salt. Blend until mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Roll into 1-inch balls and keep chilled. You should get about 18 balls. Makes 9 Servings

Flapjacked Soft Baked Cookie Bar

Raiding the cookie jar too often at night can torpedo your gut with nutrition-poor calories. Not so with these tender cookies that are as worthy of a nutritional high-five as any other packaged option out there. The main grain here is whole-grain oats and each cookie packs in 10 grams of protein and no more than a modest 6 grams of added sugar – most of the sweetness hails from natural dates. Plus, they come in three flavors to appease any chocoholic: peanut butter chocolate, chocolate brownie and, of course, chocolate chip.

Barney Butter Almond Butter Blend Chocolate Snack Pack

An open jar of nut butter can be a dangerous thing when it comes to portion control. Combining two of the greatest things ever – almond butter and chocolate – these individual nut butter packs keep you to an honest 100 calories and a reasonable 2 grams of sugar. Also keep a few stashed in your car to help fuel summer road trips.

Lemony Berry Popsicles

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 – Getty Images

There is no better way to chill out on a hot summer night than with a popsicle in hand. And it’s easy to forgo the mystery ingredients in many store-bought options by making your own. The beauty of these is that they deliver a wallop of antioxidants (hello, blueberries) and provide fluid to aid with the heightened hydration needs during these red-hot months.

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 1/2 cup blueberries

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Makes 6 Servings

KIND Minis

Most bars are too calorie lofty to be a good contender for a late night snack. With no more than 100 calories and 6 grams of sugar, these nut-based two-bite KIND bars taste indulgent without being, well, indulgent. If you’ve really been ramping up the mileage and crushing calories we give you permission to add a modest smear of nut butter to unleash a flood of dopamine.

Crunchies Strawberry Banana Trail Mix

Even if you aren’t planning an extended stay in outer space, you’ll appreciate the over-the-top fruity flavor that the freeze-dried fruit lends this crunch bunch. The fat from the almonds and cashews help subdue any sugar rush – not something you want shortly before trying to wind down for bed – while the antioxidants in the crunchy fruit may help improve muscle recovery from your hard runs. Just be sure to cap your intake at close to the recommended portion, which is a quarter cup and 130 calories.

Almond Yogurt Dip

Photo credit: istetiana - Getty Images
Photo credit: istetiana – Getty Images

Who says dips need to be savory? This sweeter version is just begging to be scooped up by pieces of fruit or even a square of dark chocolate. The yogurt and almond butter supply a powerful mix of protein and good-for-you fats so it works for, not against, your health.

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup unsalted almond butter

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

Combine yogurt, almond butter, maple syrup, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger powder and a pinch of salt in a blender container. Begin by blending on low and work your way up to high speed until the mixture is smooth. Serve with your desired dippers. Makes 4 Servings

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah Granola

Cereal and milk need not be a late night nosh only for college kids or lazy bachelors. Pour this lower sugar granola in a bowl for 10 grams of plant-based protein (not counting the extra from milk) and a dose of ultra-healthy omega-3 fats courtesy of hemp seeds. Both of which can help support the extra stress associated with high volumes of training. The granola is available in four tasty flavors and hemp is considered one of the most eco-friendly plants to grow.

Strawberry Pudding

Photo credit: Photo Marylise Doctrinal - Getty Images
Photo credit: Photo Marylise Doctrinal – Getty Images

Heat waves are hardly the time to spoon up rich chocolate pudding. Tofu gives this fresher tasting pudding some body for little calorie cost. And don’t worry, the berries and honey mask any beany flavor. Research suggests that people who nosh on more antioxidant-rich berries, which is exactly what you should be doing when they are in season, have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Garnish options run the gamut from cacao nibs to chopped pistachios to coconut chips to granola.

2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries

1 (12 oz) container silken soft tofu

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place strawberries, tofu, honey, lemon zest, cinnamon and a couple pinches salt in a blender container and blend until smooth. Transfer to a container and chill for at least 2 hours to thicken.

Scoop pudding into serving bowls and garnish as desired.

Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters

Toasted coconut is bound up by dark chocolate (70{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} cocoa) for the ultimate treat to look forward to all day long. As far as snacks go, you could do a lot worse than dark chocolate since it contains high levels of heart-friendly antioxidants. Try the seeds and salt version as a way to satisfy your salty-sweet joneses.

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