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The Worst (and Best) Late Night Snacks

The Worst (and Best) Late Night Snacks

Allie Firestone | DivineCaroline

July 31, 2009

I’m the queen of the late-night snack. I picked up the habit as a college student living in San Diego, finishing way too many nights at 24-hour Mexican food joints. Ever since my first taste of those carne asada fries (basically nachos heaped on top of French fries), I was hooked on the fourth meal—fries, thick-crusted pizza, spicy nachos—you name it, I’ll eat it. Unfortunately, my favorite meal often has me scarfing the absolute worst things to put in my body at 2 a.m. Now, as a supposed grownup with a not-quite-as-fast metabolism, I wondered which foods are better choices when late-night hunger pangs strike.

According the Mayo Clinic, no particular foods help us sleep better. On the other hand, there are foods that can wreak havoc on our shuteye. I dug around and found out which foods to avoid and which to choose to evade that next-day food hangover.

Heavy, High-Fat Meals

My beloved carne asada fries and thick-crust cheesy pizza fall into this category. These choices are bad, bad, bad if we’re looking to get a restful sleep post-feast. The cheese and oil are made of fat, which sits in our digestive tract the longest of any type of food. To push it through, our bodies require a bunch of energy—this makes it tricky to get cozy.

Fiery Food

Eating too much hot sauce or spicy chips can cause physical discomfort when it’s time to lie down—especially if you’re prone to heartburn, like me. “Spicy food also gives you an endorphin rush, making it that much harder to get to sleep,” says Lynn Smithson, a San Diego-based nutritionist. Since spiciness keeps our brains running on full power far longer than the time it takes to consume it, saving the spice-induced endorphin rush for daylight is probably a safe bet.


The stimulant is found in a lot more than a cup of coffee. Candy, ice cream, and especially that dark chocolate bar stashed in the freezer can contain as much as a cup of coffee does. Caffeine increases the activity of our nervous systems, keeping our thoughts racing as we lie in bed.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    According i use to avoid hard snacks at the late night,So i cant be more feeling lazy.

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  • Twitava_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Comprehensive and well-arranged lists, especially the healthy alternatives! I shared this article with my healthy lifestyle group - and it was a smash! Girls are saying big hello and thank you, Allie!

  • Grand_max50


    over 5 years ago


    The best advice I have is to plan your evenings to include activities you enjoy. Look forward to a good book, a bath, or a phone call with a friend. Then you'll be less likely to go to food for a late-night comforting treat.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    Some of it seemed like common sense, but it is hard to resist the urge for the Bad Snacks! Great tips on the alternatives!

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