It should be noted that everyone snacker has their own unique tastes (no pun intended) and preferences, so my recommendations may not work for you. I will accept no responsibility for this.
Tip #1: All good midnight snacks have a cheese component.
You can never go wrong with cheese. Ever. Hard Cheese, Spreadable Cheese, Cream Cheese etc. Never leave a kitchen without one. Also, if it is good enough for Liz Lemon, it's good enough me for.
Tip #2: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Yes, everyone has cravings, and sometimes you really just want to eat an entire bag of sour cream and onion chips. But a truly good midnight snack balances those chips with salsa or an apple or some queso dip (refer to Tip #1). Also, no one ever ate an entire bag of anything and woke up the next morning pleased with themselves. Keep that in mind.
Tip #3: Don't rush!
Listen, if it's midnight and you are eating, you don't have anywhere else to be, so there's no need to ravenously dig throw your fridge and devour the first 6 things you can grab with your hands. Take you time to figure out what you are really in the mood for and what's available. Also, studies show that eating slower fills you up sooner so you eat less.
Tip #4: Think of a Midnight Snack as a multiple course menu.
Whenever I midnight snack, I always like to have bits and pieces of all sorts of different things rather than lots of one thing. A slice of cheese here, a piece of fruit there and a few bites of something else goes a long way. Try mixing and matching all of the food groups over your different courses. But take caution, food profiles change when the sun goes down. What is delicious to you at midnight may almost certainly not be delicious as tomorrow lunch.
Tip #5: When in doubt, look to the leftovers.
If you are little timid about throwing together your own midnight snack creations, just pick apart what's taking up room in the fridge. No one really cares about eating their leftovers or they wouldn't have become leftover's. Besides, sooner or later whatever doesn't get eaten by you is more likely than not gonna end up eaten by the garbage disposal. Somebody has already taken the time to prepare these dishes, and they are already coordinated for your enjoyment. Take yesterdays leftover quesadilla, add microwave, and voila! Midnight Snack.
But I understand it doesn't do much good to you to just read my tips, so I'm posting the menu for the midnight snack I ate tonight. Full Disclosure, I live in a house with three refrigerators, so I have a lot of food options at my disposal. Don't feel bad if you can't quite live up to my menu's greatness. It takes years of practice and a Food Pack Rat like my Mother to be able to snack like I do. (No Offense Mom).
Midnight Snack Menu - 8/27/10
Amuse-Bouche: One Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese Triangle
Appetizer: Cheddar Flavored Soy Crisps
Main Course: Sliced Roast Beef dipped in creamed horseradish sauce
Dessert: Colby Jack Cheese Sticks and Nutella
Beverage: Homemade Chocolate Milk
Well, I hope you learned a lot and that I've given you some good ideas. Now go get snacking!!