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Healthy Midnight Snacks?

I keep waking up in the middle of the night hungry! What should I snack on? 
ByKelly Kasper, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
March 2, 2017
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Something tasty! Seriously, there’s no need to force down snacks you hate; otherwise, what’s the point of getting out of bed? But that doesn’t mean you have free reign to eat _anything _you’re craving. High-fat, high-salt, high-sugar and highly processed foods aren’t good for anyone, and such empty calories make it extremely easy for a pregnant woman to  gain extra weight without actually getting enough nutrition for her and baby (one to two pounds per week in the second and third trimesters is ideal).

Instead, stock up on lean protein-rich snacks. “Protein takes a little longer to metabolize; it stays around awhile so you’re not as likely to get hungry as quickly afterwards,” says Kelly Kasper, MD, OB-GYN and associate clinical professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. In other words, eating a protein-rich midnight snack will help you make it until morning. Low-fat yogurt, trail mix, nuts and string cheese are good bets. Other healthy options include whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, cheese with crackers or half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Popcorn can also be a good snack — with a few caveats.  Microwave popcorn “isn’t necessarily the healthiest; there’s just too much in a bag and it contains processed chemicals and flavors,” Kasper says. So instead of popping a bag into the microwave, make your own popcorn with an air popper or on the stove with a small amount of healthier oil, such as coconut oil. You can pop some before bed and stash it in portion-sized bags, so you’re not doing a ton of work in the middle of the night! Oh and good news: Sprinkling on some salt is okay, just don’t go too crazy with it.

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