You are trying to eat healthy but you find yourself feeling very hungry before bed. You’ve heard you shouldn’t eat at night and don’t want to derail your efforts but you need a little something to stop the grumbling in your stomach. Is it OK to eat at night? And what should you eat? Here are some of the best snacks to eat before bed.
There is so much conflicting information out there:
“Don’t eat after 7pm. Eating before bed will make you gain weight.”
“Eating before bed will help you sleep better. Go ahead, have a snack.”
You may have also heard:
“Eat carbs for better rest before bed.” “Eat protein before bed for weight loss.”
“Eat fats at night to keep you full.”
What type of food is OK to eat at night?
Whole grain carbohydrates are thought to raise tryptophan in the blood so some experts suggest that carbs are a good option.
Others argue that fats will keep you full longer and so eating nuts before bed are the best option.
Still, other experts focus on keeping the snack light and would advise you to eat a light protein snack before bed.
I suggest finding what works for you but keep it light and watch your portions.
Eating too much food before bed may satisfy your hunger, but it can also cause stomach discomfort and keep you up. Keep in mind that the digestive system slows down during sleep, so keep your snack light.
Are you really hungry? Before you grab a snack recognize if you are really hungry or if perhaps you are misinterpreting other cues.
People often mistake thirst for hunger. Not that you want to guzzle a bunch of water before crawling into bed. Instead try drinking more water at dinner and throughout the day.
You are tired and your body is seeking energy. When we are tired, our bodies start to send signals to our brain that we need energy. The best remedy is sleep but you might interpret that as needing food. Give it what it really needs- rest. Just go to bed.
You are bored or procrastinating. Often we look in the fridge as a distraction from the work we’ve brought home or the paper we are trying to write. It could also be flat out boredom. If it is nearing bedtime and you are bored or avoiding work, again- go to bed. Pick it up in the am after a healthy breakfast.
If you truly are hungry, here are some ideas…
- Whole grain crackers (can also add a thin spread of peanut butter)
- A hardboiled egg
- A handful of unsalted almonds
- A couple of slices of wholegrain toast with a spread of almond butter or a thin slice of low fat cheese.
- Cottage cheese or low fat yogurt mixed with fruit- cherries are thought to be quite good as they are naturally high in melatonin, a sleep inducing chemical.
- A glass of low fat milk
- Plain pop corn
- Raw veggies (you can dip in 2 tbsp of hummus)
- Celery and nut butter
- A spoonful of nut butter
- A piece of fruit – bananas are often recommended because of the presence of tryptophan
- A small protein shake
- Whole grain cereal and milk (watch the portion!)
- Fruit and nut butter
- Turkey Roll Up (deli slice of turkey and a piece of cheese)
*Keep portions in check. Do not eat out of packages.
*Avoid caffeine and SUGAR.
What is your favorite bedtime snack?