Should you eat before bedtime?
Eating before bed is such a controversial issue in the health and fitness industry.
Some people say in order to lose weight, you have to stop eating by a certain time while others claim that in order to effectively lose fat, you have to eat before bed (oh don’t you just love weight loss controversy?).
What I will share today is my firsthand experience with real world results and the methods that have worked for myself and my clients. I am not claiming that one method is right and the other method is wrong. What I hope to do is give you some viable options to use on yourself and see what your body responds best to.
The reason for the above "disclaimer" is that what I have learned SO clearly over the past 13 years of being a nutritionist is that every person is different, and learning what works best for YOU is something that will help you maintain a lean, toned body and healthy habits long term.
Now, back to the matter at hand....
To eat or NOT to eat before bed, that is the question...(all of a sudden I’m Shakespeare).
My "rule" for night time eating has always been to encourage clients and readers to stop all eating 2-3 hours before bed. This rule would always accomplish 2 things.
Number 1, people would just naturally eat less. Why? Because most people do a good amount of eating after dinner while just "hanging out," not because they were hungry, but in most cases because they were bored. Giving people a cutoff time eliminated a lot of mindless snacking.
Number 2, people would be more inclined to eat a wholesome, well rounded dinner that included a healthy amount of protein and good fats to make sure they were not hungry later on. Knowing they were not going to be able to just grab "something" (i.e. snacking) after dinner, made them eat more protein and fat at dinner that would keep them satisfied longer.
It was always my own personal rule to stop eating after dinner. My husband and I always ate dinner by 6:30pm, and I am usually in bed by 9:30pm, so this always worked well for me...UNTIL...
(Insert scary music)
The kids arrived....
Oh those kiddos have such a way of changing your entire life, don’t they?
Now, we have to eat dinner by 5:30pm in order to do baths, book time and then bed time by 8pm. The first few nights we started the early eating schedule I noticed I was going to bed hungry...and nobody likes hungry Isabel. I absolutely can’t sleep if I’m hungry, so I started having a little something around 8pm after the kids went to sleep.
If you find yourself in a similar situation...a little hungry before bed…here are some food suggestions for snacking close to bedtime.
- If you are going to eat close to bedtime, do not, and let me repeat, DO NOT have a carbohydrate-rich snack. When you ingest carbohydrates, your body releases insulin to control your blood sugar. Insulin is a fat STORING hormone and not something you want abundantly flowing through your system before bed.
- Eat protein with a little bit of fat before bed. Protein and fat keep you satisfied longer and will not release a huge amount of insulin in your body. As a matter of fact, it will release the opposing hormone, glucagon, which is a fat BURNING hormone.
(Remember – these are not full blown meals. These would be considered a "little something" in order to not go to bed hungry.)
- Sliced natural turkey (I make my own and cut it up) + 1/4 avocado
- Cold leftover chicken from dinner (I have no problem eating cold leftovers)
- 1-2 hardboiled eggs
- Protein Powder Chia Seed Pudding*
*This last one is my own ridiculously delicious concoction and even though I have had people tell me it looks really weird, you know me by now...I’ve never cared what other people think.
Isabel’s Yummy Protein & Chia Seed Pudding
- 1 Scoop Biotrust Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder (details below)
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 4 Tbsps water or coconut milk
Just mix all ingredients together. Sometimes I eat it right away for a quick fix, but due to the nature of chia seeds, the longer you let it sit (stirring it every 10 minutes or so) up to 45 minutes the more "pudding" consistency it will become.
You can double the recipe if you feel like you need a bit more. Remember, this is just what I call "a little something" before bed. Not a huge meal.
I have just recently started using Biotrust Protein Powder on a regular basis. If you remember, I worked closely with this company to create a digestive enzyme that I was directly involved in formulating. They then formulated, what I feel, is one of the best protein powders both based on the quality ingredients and even more importantly, it is the best I have ever tasted...and of course...it is completely free of any of the artificial additives and toxic ingredients of most protein powders.
If you want a great-tasting snack that you can eat before bedtime or any time of day (I’ve also had this as a quick on-the-go snack sometimes), then check out BioTrust's delicious new protein powder at the link below. And best of all, I even convinced the folks at BioTrust to offer my subscribers a really cool Buy 2, Get 1 Free discount along with free shipping on every order for the next few days:
==> Isabel's favorite late-night snack
So, if you're looking to satisfy your late-night cravings with a wholesome, nutritious great-tasting snack, I'd definitely check out my new favorite protein powder, BioTrust Low Carb. Not only will you get an ideal nutrition solution for those late-night cravings, but it's the exact late-night snack that I personally use myself.
==> Delicious, wholesome late-night snacking