By: Matt Weik
For many people, the hardest time of day (nutritionally) is at night. What can you eat that tastes great and would prevent you from devouring an entire carton of ice cream? You need something satiating, right? You don’t want to be lying in bed dreaming about potato chips and pretzels. So, what do you grab? You grab yourself one of the nighttime protein snacks listed below.
The nighttime protein snacks listed below will help curb your late-night cravings and appetite while also providing the protein needed to allow your muscles to recover, rebuild, and grow. You will find many of the nighttime protein snacks found below are slow-digesting protein sources that can break down gradually as you sleep – helping to keep you in an anabolic and muscle-sparing state.
1. Greek Yogurt
One of the extremely versatile nighttime protein snacks you can reach for is some Greek yogurt – preferably the plain flavor as the fruit-flavored variety tends to be loaded with sugars. What I would recommend is adding your favorite nuts or even granola to the Greek yogurt to give it some crunch and texture.
Greek yogurt contains a good amount of slow-digesting protein (perfect for at night) while also providing helpful probiotics to improve gut health.
When you crave something salty and crunchy, rather than reaching for an unhealthy carb source, grab yourself a handful of nuts. They can be almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, Brazilian nuts, even walnuts. Nuts are loaded with micronutrients, healthy fats, and of course protein.
While I would recommend the raw variety such as raw almonds, if you want something salty, go ahead and do so. Some nuts are lightly salted and some even with sea salt. Choose the variety you want and make sure it's in your rotation of nighttime protein snacks.
3. Cottage Cheese
Another slow-digesting protein source is cottage cheese. Now, many people out there can’t even look at cottage cheese without feeling sick to their stomach – it’s an acquired taste and texture. That being said, just like with the Greek yogurt, if you mix different things into your cottage cheese, you won’t even know what you’re eating.
Think about delicious carbohydrates you can add to the cottage cheese. Things like cut-up fruit, natural peanut butter, nuts, or even some trail mix to add a little sweet and salty into the fold. Before you totally dismiss it, add this to your list of nighttime protein snacks and give it a try.
4. Hummus with Vegetables
When it comes to snacking, many love to be able to combine the foods they love. What better way to check all the boxes off of your list than with some hummus and vegetables? You get the amazing crunch from raw vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, and peppers with the creamy deliciousness of protein-packed hummus.
For those who have no idea exactly what hummus is, it’s nothing more than blended up chickpeas. Yes, those little round tan-looking things you see in salads. You may even be familiar with roasted chickpeas which would be another item to add to our list of the best nighttime protein snacks.
5. Fruit with Nut Butter
Some people simply crave sweets at night. Rather than grabbing yourself a candy bar, opt for something with natural sugars in it like fruit. You can then combine that piece of fruit with a natural fat source (like natural nut butter) to help add some protein, healthy fats, as well as slow down the digestion rate of the fruit.
You can think along the lines of a banana with natural peanut butter or even an apple cut up into slices with almond butter to dip your slices into. These make for great nighttime protein snacks.
What better natural protein source than the good old egg? Scrambled, dippy, over-easy, hard-boiled, you name it – just eat it. Eggs are the perfect source of protein and should be one that you toss in your nighttime protein snacks rotation. If you aren’t a fan of cooking late at night, it may be your best bet to scramble up some eggs to store in the refrigerator or even hard-boil some eggs you can toss in a Tupperware container so you can grab and go late at night.
A single egg contains around 6g of protein. Consume three to four at night and you have yourself a quick source of 18-24g of protein before you hit the sack for some shuteye.
7. Protein Bar
Protein bars and nutrition bars come in a wide variety of flavors and profiles. Some are high in carbohydrates and some are low in carbohydrates. Some have a good amount of protein in them while others are in the low single-digits. I would gravitate more towards the bars that are on the lower end of the spectrum for carbohydrates while still containing a minimum of 15g of protein.
There are creamy bars, nut-based bars, yogurt-coated bars, layered bars, all-natural bars, plant-based bars, you name it! The key is to try a few different bars to see what you like. If you are able, buy them by the individual bar until you find what you like and want to invest in a box.
8. Protein Shake
It’s hard to not have protein shakes on our list of the best nighttime protein snacks. Protein shakes are easy to make, have a minimal cleanup, and provide you with a ton of protein. A powder that I would recommend for your nighttime protein snacks would be either a straight casein powder or a blended protein powder that contains casein as one of the protein sources.
Again, casein is a slow-digesting protein that will be evenly released into the bloodstream over several hours. This also provides a lower release of insulin since there won't be a huge surge in blood sugar levels. Most of the protein powders available on the market today will provide you with a minimum of 20g of protein per serving which is more than enough for before bed.
9. MPA Iso Poofs
Snacking is one of the hardest areas to find products to suit the needs of those conscious about their physique and what they put in their body. For that reason, MPA created one of the best ANY time of day protein snacks when they launched their Iso Poofs. Eat them in the morning or before bed as nighttime protein snacks to help your body stay anabolic. Either way, it doesn’t matter! MPA Iso Poofs are extremely versatile.
Each serving of Iso Poofs is under 100 calories, contains only 1g of fat, 3g of carbohydrates, and 19g of protein (flavor dependent).
MPA Iso Poofs are currently available in three delicious flavors: Apple Cinnamon Crunch, French Toast, and Ginger Bread. Best of all, you can take Iso Poofs and add them to many of the items already found on the list to further increase their overall protein content while adding a little crunch and texture as well. The number of ways to implement Iso Poofs into your nutrition is endless!