Medical Reviewed by Sindhu Vas, Post Graduate in Nutrition and Food science
Do you feel hungry all the time? Are you feeling the urge to raid your kitchen every now & then to satisfy your sudden hunger pangs? Do you often feel hungry during the late-night hours in spite of having a sumptuous dinner? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to all these questions, then worry not for you are not the only one.
Most of us have gone through or are currently going through constant hunger pangs, which make us feel that our stomach is empty, and needs to be refilled.
This constant feeling of hunger distracts us from our work. The next thing we do is to hunt for readily available instant food that we are craving for, and before we realise, the damage is already done.
If you are one of those who are struggling hard to control the constant hunger pangs, then you have landed at the right place. Keep reading to understand how and what needs to be done to control this situation.
The Internet is flooded with a plethora of healthy diet meal plans to keep you fit and active. Any of us can get inspired and try to follow these in order to keep our weight and overall health in check.
Often, we start by adopting and following a healthy meal plan. We may be successful in following the meal routine throughout the day, only to get distracted and carried away by hunger pangs at night. Though some people do not fall for food cravings, most of us often do.
This sudden urge to satisfy hunger could arise due to a lot of different reasons. In our attempt to satiate and a hungry stomach, we end up eating whatever is readily available for us to eat. This often does a lot of harm than good.
This article takes you through the concept and cause of hunger pangs. It will also provide you with a list of healthy food that can satiate your hunger pangs at night.
What are hunger pangs?
Hunger pangs are also known as hunger pains, which are essentially a result of irritation sensation in the stomach linings. It is not necessary that this irritation will happen on an empty stomach only. It might happen after a couple of hours of having a heavy meal.
An irritated stomach causes a sensation of pain, and even a gnawing feeling due to rubbing of its walls. This sensation is relieved by the intake of food, as the stomach walls get separated and are prevented from rubbing.
Hunger pangs are like sudden urge or desire for food rather than true hunger. These often result in weight gain, as these will prompt an individual to eat when he/she is not hungry.
How to overcome hunger pangs?
1. Create your meal routine
Depending on your daily routine and working hours, set a proper plan to schedule your meals. Try your best to follow this plan strictly. This way, you will always eat an adequate amount of food at regular intervals and keep away from food anxieties.
2. Get adequate sleep
Sleep for at least 7-8 hours daily. Avoid sleeping too late unless you are keeping awake for urgent work.
Sleeping on time will help you avoid late-night hunger pangs as you are less likely to get out of bed and raid your kitchen for food at the cost of interrupting a peaceful sleep.
3. Have a balanced diet
Try to include more proteins in your diet. This is because proteins are known to keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, ultimately suppressing the chances of late-night hunger pangs. Indulge more in dietary fibre, as it also takes longer to digest, keeping your tummy fuller for long and has fewer calories by volume.
4. Drink water
If you still feel the hunger after a proper meal, drink water instead of munching on snacks. This is because hunger is confused with thirst. Having a glass of water will fill your tummy, relieving you from the sudden feeling of an empty stomach.
5. Do not stock up on junk
If you can’t avoid junk food altogether, try to keep it to a minimal level. Do not store excessive junk food at home. This will prevent you from binge eating high-calorie unhealthy foods.
In the absence of the availability of any junk food in your vicinity, you are less likely to cook or order food, as they can’t satisfy an instant hunger spike. You will ultimately end up eating a fruit or drinking water to sustain the hunger moment.
Top 10 foods that can help you to satiate your hunger pangs at night:
Several types of food are recommended to satiate your hunger pangs. While eating a piece of cake might sound tempting and make you feel good momentarily, they might not sit well with your digestive system.
However, healthy food loaded with nutrients can effectively help you to curb your hunger pangs. Let us take a look at the 10 healthy foods that can fill your tummy at night while providing some health benefits.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, nuts of any kind are well known for being fulfilling snacks. While chips might sound like the more obvious choice for snacking, having nuts, especially almonds, are much more beneficial for health.
If you find yourself feeling hungry between your meals, or after dinner before you go to bed, you can eat a few almonds to satiate your hunger. However, make sure that you don’t reach the point where you are ravenous and end up eating a whole packet of them. Remember that everything is good until a certain limit.
Health benefits of almonds:
- They are rich in nutrients like fibre (3.5gms), protein (6gms), Vitamin E (37%), Magnesium (20%) and Manganese (32%).
- It is a rich source of antioxidants. Especially the outer brown skin of almonds is full of antioxidants.
- They are healthy for people with diabetes as they help to keep blood sugar levels in check.
- It also helps to keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check.
For most people, a meal is incomplete without including meat in it. Research shows that including meat in a meal is a “learned behaviour” that contributes psychologically to make people feel fuller.
However, the entire concept of eating meat to feel full cannot be solely attributed to our psyche. Meat, especially beef, pork etc. are high in protein and fat which take longer for our stomachs to digest.
Even though there is no conclusive evidence to support that there is a difference in the different types of meat in terms of satiating our hunger, it is better to opt for lean meat like chicken, fish etc. regarding nutrition during dinner to keep us full for an extended period of time.
- Meat is the richest source of protein.
- It is a source of iron, one of the nutrients that are under-consumed by most people.
- Meat is a source of Vitamin B12 which aids in energy production in the body.
Even though it is not the obvious choice when it comes to eating something at night, oatmeal is something that can curb your hunger pangs for a long period of time. It is also one of the most recommended foods to include in one’s diet to lose weight.
The thick and gooey texture of oats comes from a fibre called beta-glucan. The beta-glucans take a long time to travel through the digestive tract and thus keep us full for a long period of time.
Additionally, they also keep our cholesterol levels in check by trapping bile and expelling it from our body and consequently forcing our bodies to use cholesterol to produce more bile.
- They are a well-balanced source of various nutrients like Manganese (191%), Phosphorous (41%), Magnesium (34%), Copper (24%) etc.
- They are a rich source of antioxidants, especially avenanthramides.
- It helps to reduce cholesterol levels in our blood.
Drinking soup alone as a meal might not satiate your hunger for long. However, including a type of soup with your meal, especially during dinner, can help to control the portion sizes of your meal. Thus they are one of the best foods to eat at night to lose weight.
Studies show that people who have a cup of soup before their meals feel significantly fuller and do not feel hungry for longer. If you are looking to cut down weight, it is best to choose a clear soup with chunks of meat or veggies than a creamy one.
- They are nutritious and contain the goodness of vegetables and meat used to prepare them.
- Soups are comfort food and can be included with any meal without any negative effect.
- They are an excellent way to replenish the fluids in your body, even on a hot day.
5. Cottage cheese:
Cottage cheese is one of the healthiest choices of snack for bodybuilders and people who are on a diet. It can effectively curb your hunger and keep you satiated for a long time.
If you are feeling hungry after dinner, eating a bit of cottage cheese can curb your hunger completely. It is one of the most nutritious choices among cheeses and pairs well with fresh black pepper.
- It helps to boost weight loss. It contains linoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps our body to burn fat more effectively.
- They have a great source for Folate, one of the Vitamins essential for pregnant women.
- It is a rich source of protein.
One of the best foods to eat at night to lose weight is legumes. Legumes are a collection of pulses that include peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. You can prepare them in anything like soup, salad, chilli, stew etc. for dinner.
Legumes are full of soluble fibres and complex carbohydrates like oligosaccharides. Our body takes a long time to digest these complex carbohydrates and as a result, helps us to remain satiated for a longer period of time.
- They are rich in dietary fibres which keep our bowels healthy.
- The soluble fibre in them helps to keep our blood cholesterol levels at check.
- They are a rich source of carbohydrate.
7. Greek yoghurt:
Greek yoghurt is produced by straining regular yoghurt which concentrates all its nutrients. Thus it is high protein food which helps to curb hunger pangs. Eating Greek yoghurt by itself or using it as a substitute for sour cream or a dip can help you to satiate your hunger pangs at night.
However, before buying Greek yoghurt, makes sure that the concentration of the yoghurt is because the whey is removed and not because cream has been added to it.
- It is full of probiotics which consist of some types of bacteria and yeast. These good microorganisms help to keep your gut healthy.
- They are a rich source of protein.
- It is chock full of the goodness of Vitamin B12.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of fibre and omega-3 fats. Even though they don’t take up a lot of place in your stomach, they help to satiate your hunger.
However, it is important to remember that our body cannot digest the hard shell of flaxseeds and thus they need to be grounded to make them edible.
Just pair them with yoghurt or a smoothie, and they can easily be the best food to eat at night to lose weight.
- They are loaded with nutrients like carbs (2gms), fibre (1.9gms), and protein (1.3gms).
- It contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for cardiovascular health.
- They are full of Lignans, which help to reduce the risk of cancer.
Categorised as versatile foods, avocados can be paired up with just about anything. Use them in salads, sandwiches or make good old guacamole to keep you full during the night.
Avocados are a great source of soluble fibre that helps to form a thick gel-like substance which takes time to get digested by our body. Thus they are the best food to eat at night to keep your stomach full for a longer time.
- They are extremely nutritious and full of Vitamin K (26), Folate (20%), Vitamin C (17%), and Potassium (14%).
- It contains monounsaturated fatty acids which help to keep your heart healthy.
- They are loaded with fibre.
If you are craving some sweets late at night, do not give in to sugar. Instead, settle for a bowl of berries. Berries are loaded with fibre which helps you to remain full for a long time. They also contain magnesium that helps you to relax your nerves and muscles and help you to sleep better.
- They are full of antioxidants that help to fight the free radicals in our body.
- It helps to control our blood sugar levels and improve insulin response.
- They are full of fibre. 
Include these ten best foods to eat at night to lose weight, or having them as a snack can help you to satiate your hunger pangs and remain healthy. All of them are effective in helping you to lose weight while being delicious and filling!