Healthy snack ideas when you're working all night?
April 30, 2010 4:12 AM   Subscribe

Healthy snack ideas when you're up all night?

I have picked up some babysitting work to earn a little extra money and I am struggling with how to keep up my healthy eating plan on such a schedule. I am trying to lose about 15 pounds, and eat healthily during the day. Typically, I eat dinner at 6ish, have a light snack at around 8 and am fine. My previous babysitting work was all in the bedtime to midnight range, and this worked on those days as well. But now I have a new family I am working for where the parents stay out quite late, a minimum of 2-3 a.m. In the past, I have been unprepared with my own food and wound up starving at 11 pm or so and foraging through their cupboards for something.

So, I need to pack a snack with me so I can not let this extra work derail my healthy eating. But what to bring? Here is my typical eating day:

Oatmeal and soy milk for breakfast
Small piece of fruit for a snack
Salad with chicken, fruit on the side for lunch
100-calorie trail mix and banana for afternoon snack
Stir-fry with rice or noodles for dinner
100-calorie treat (smoothie, granola bar, fruit leather) at night

I can't eat nuts, wheat, flax or dairy. Beyond that, I am open to suggestions for a late-ish snack to pack with me on day that goes from 8 am to 3 am!
posted by JoannaC to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I would do 2 things...first, bring the extra snack like you are trying to figure out, but also, second, make sure that the previous snack (100-calorie treat) has some protein in it...that will help keep you from getting too hungry. I find that when I eat higher sugar (even if it's healthy sources of sugar) stuff without any protein along with it, it makes me crave even more stuff.

Without dairy or nuts, some snack ideas that come to mind are hardboiled eggs, raw veggies with hummus, some dried edamame, or even some turkey jerky.

Also, if you just want a snack that is quick and kind of filling to beat the munchies, popcorn can fit the bill. It has very low calories compared to its volume.
posted by tastybrains at 4:54 AM on April 30, 2010

Protein and a little bit of fat can be your friends for this kind of grazing. Jerky (which is pretty low-fat), chicken/tuna salad with low-fat mayo, nuts, etc.

Keep away from carbohydrates, especially processed/simple carbs during the later hours. They're good for a quick energy boost, but the boost goes away quickly and that makes people want to snack all over again.
posted by xingcat at 5:01 AM on April 30, 2010

Seconding hard boiled eggs and perhaps also yogurt.
posted by Hurst at 7:57 AM on April 30, 2010

After reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, my boyfriend and I started on a low carb diet. We bought a box of Carbquik to make biscuits when we were dying for bread-y foods, and holy cow: one of those things will sit like a brick in your stomach for hours. It's 14g of fiber per serving, so don't chow them down at once - eat one or two and then wait. Because damn. I eat one of those things and then I'm done for the next 6 hours.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:28 AM on April 30, 2010

The traditional diet snack food is popcorn. The 100cal bags of smart pop are amazing; there's more food there than in any other 100cal portion of anything on the market. There are also 100cal bags of kettle corn which use splenda that are pretty good. You can also use the becel margarine spray for a little extra buttery flavour. And if you feel like splurging on your popcorn toppings, check out this thread.
posted by cgg at 8:31 AM on April 30, 2010

I agree with tastybrains that the right after dinner snack will help - I'd say you want protein and some fat. I like the idea of eggs or veggies with hummus, and would also suggest soy yogurt, oatmeal with soymilk (if you don't mind a repeat of breakfast), sunflower seeds, sunbutter or soybutter on rice crackers, veggies, or apple slices, etc.

I'd save the 100-calorie treat for your very last snack of the night, the one you have at midnight or 1am on the late babysitting nights.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:15 AM on April 30, 2010

Is there a reason you can't go to sleep if you know they'll be home late? Obviously you should check if they'd mind, but I used to sleep on the couch when babysitting for a long night. Then you aren't still awake and hungry at 1am, thus avoiding the whole problem.
posted by jacalata at 1:06 PM on April 30, 2010

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