4 Foods You Can Eat Before Bed

late_night_snackMost people have heard that eating before bed isn’t a great idea if you’re looking to lose weight. This fact has broken a few hearts, especially for those of us who love a tasty late night snack. Well, here’s some good news: hope is not lost.

Not every food that you eat past 7 PM will go straight to your hips. In fact, there are certain foods when eaten late at night that can actually help you lose weight. So what are these magical tasty treats, and how exactly does all this work?

First, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat. And that’s carbs. Carbohydrate consumption causes a significant rise in insulin (i.e. the storage hormone), which stops fat burning. In the late evening hours your metabolism is winding down, so an insulin spike is the last thing your body needs if you are looking to lose weight.

So what should you reach for instead? Slow-digesting, high-quality protein.

Slow-digesting proteins don’t cause an insulin spike, plus they provide your body with a steady flow of amino acids as they breakdown slowly throughout the night. Amino acids help you recover from exercise and maintain your calorie-burning lean muscle as you lose fat.

Now, ready for some prime snack options?

1. White Meat Protein (not red meat) – Chicken and turkey are great pre-bed meal choices because they digest slowly and have a very low insulin release. They also promote the release of another hormone, glucagon, that helps the body break down carbs and fat to be burned for energy. DO NOT have red meat. Red meat has a significantly higher insulin response.

2. Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is slow digesting and stimulates glucagon release. Just make sure you’re eating plain cottage cheese. Flavored varieties come with a lot of added sugars, which aren’t what you want at any time, but especially before bed.

3. Green Vegetables – Technically not a protein, but they contain virtually no calories, are high in fiber, and very filling. You can’t go wrong with a nice plate of fresh veggies.

4. A Protein Shake – Protein in a pretty pure form. If you’re having this before bed, make sure it’s slow-digesting protein and low in carbs. Many people even make having one of these before bed a nightly ritual. Just make sure you’re not having whey protein. Research has shown that it causes more of an insulin release than even white bread! Opt instead for a a time-released blend that includes a blend of slow-digesting, high-quality proteins.

Anyone else hungry, now?

The Foods You Should Be Eating Before Bed

This article is based on Joel Marion and Tim Skwiat’s The 4 Best Foods to Eat Before Bed check out the full piece to get a more in-depth picture.

Late Night Snack

It’s not as much about the time you choose to eat, but the foods you choose.

There are many myths that have been circulating in the world of dieting and nutrition for years.  One of the most pervasive is that there is a magical cutoff time after which you should no longer consume any food.  Some pundits say don’t eat after 6PM, some say 7PM.  Who can even remember the rule anymore?  While late-night eating can certainly be detrimental to weight loss and belly fat burning efforts, this doesn’t mean that eating anything past the late afternoon is completely off limits.  In fact, there are some late night snacks that can actually encourage and accelerate weight loss and help you to finally achieve your body composition goals.  Let’s dive in!

Set Yourself Up to Succeed

Recent psychological research has suggested that willpower is a finite resource that we can only expend so much of.  By imposing a hard stop for when you can and can’t eat, you may be unnecessarily spending some of your precious willpower that could be better used elsewhere.

So What Should I Eat?

The original article lays out some of the ways that the hormones insulin and glucagon cause physiological reactions that make the following foods better choices before bed so definitely check it out.  In the meantime, let’s talk about what foods you should actually be eating if you want a nighttime snack.

Protein Rich Foods: If presented with the choice between protein rich or carbohydrate rich foods before bed, choose the protein every time.  Foods that are high in protein are not only excellent choices for preventing weight gain, they also promote fat burning.  How?  Proteins help repair and maintain our lean muscle which is one of our body’s tools to burn calories.  Let’s get specific.  Here are a few of the best pre-bed foods for promoting weight loss.

  • White Meat Protein and Eggs: White meat animal protein sources such as chicken, turkey, as well as eggs are great choices before bed.  These types of proteins are digested slowly by your body, causing the sustained release of amino acids which ultimately leads to feeling more satisfied longer
  • Green Vegetables: While vegetables are classified as carbohydrates, they are low glycemic which means they won’t cause too much of an insulin response.  Adding a little protein and some vegetables to your late night snack routine should go along way toward helping you achieve your fat burning goals.

These are just a few quick tips to help you make smarter choices when it comes to snacking before bed.  Remember, you can stay healthy and promote fat burning without unnecessary self-deprivation.  Remember to check out the full piece for even more tips and continued reading.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.