It’s 11 p.m. on a Sunday and you’re sitting at your desk frantically trying to get your work done for the upcoming week. As you are putting the final touches on your essay, suddenly a rumbling, thunderous noise fills the room. Could that really be coming from your stomach? Dinner was almost five hours ago and you have been craving something sweet, but it’s 11 p.m. and isn’t eating late at night bad for your body? Plus, the easily accessible, late-night snacks you have stashed in your room consist of candy, chips, and cookies, products that will only leave you feeling lethargic, inattentive, and potentially gross.
In recent years, the eating late at night myth has come under fire, which is a great thing for all of you collegiettes who stay up late. A 2005 study of primates at Oregon Health & Science University found that late-night meals did not lead to extra weight gain. Whether food was consumed at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m., a calorie was just a calorie. Of course, many people tend to make worse choices when it comes to eating at night, typically grazing on fatty, unhealthy foods (like those candy, chips, and cookies hiding in your dorm room) and consuming portions that are more appropriately sized for the football players that live down your hall.
If you’re like me, your sweet tooth takes over at night, craving everything from ice cream to brownies or even a big, moist slice of chocolate cake. But, what if I told you that with some creativity and careful planning, you could satisfy your late-night sweet tooth without the excess calories of a typical dessert? There are healthy and nutritious “pseudo-desserts” that will satisfy your hunger, give you a nutritious boost, and most importantly, cure all of your sugar cravings. Here are twenty easy and delicious ways to satisfy any sweet tooth.
From a Nutritionist: Sheila Tucker, a nutritionist at Boston College, suggests a variety of “healthy desserts” that incorporate both nutrition and sweetness using ingredients that are easy to find on campus.
1. Make your own parfait with regular or Greek yogurt and layer alternating with cut-up fruit. You can also make a version with vanilla yogurt, crushed graham cracker crumbs, or granola, nuts, and/or fruit.
2. Instant hot cocoa packets are great for a chocolate fix, but use skim milk instead of water for a calcium boost and add a small handful of miniature marshmallows for fun.
3. Microwave popcorn (a great whole-grain snack) and melt 1-2 Tbsp. of chocolate chips or similar candy bits into the popped corn using your microwave. Let cool.
4. Try melting 1 Tbsp. peanut butter and 1 Tbsp. of chocolate chips (or Nutella) in a microwave-safe bowl and stirring into a handful of pretzels or a cup of dry cereal. Let cool.
5. Pudding – either from the cafeteria or make-your-own from a mix in your room. It is a great source of calcium and protein, too.
6. Banana non-split: Freeze a banana and cut it into 2-inch pieces. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, dip the banana pieces part way in chocolate (put on a fork or toothpick – like you would do for fondue), roll in sprinkles, and let cool.