I am sure 99.9% of you have heard at least one person in your lifetime say this:
“It is not good for you to eat food after 7pm (or whatever evening time) because you will gain weight.”
I am so confused as to where people get some of these ideas about food?! Seriously, who told you this?? It is not WHEN you eat. It is more along the lines of WHAT you eat and how much. Let’s unravel this myth.
1. “Bedtime snacks provide calories we don’t need”: FALSE! It can actually be worse for your body and metabolism to not consume a bedtime snack. The bedtime snack is not just all about the calories it contains, but how it affects your metabolism. So what type of bedtime snack should you be eating? One that contains both a carbohydrate and a fat. This combination before bed is key because the carbs are bringing your blood sugar levels back up slightly (since they dropped after dinner) and the fat slows the absorption of the carbs into your bloodstream. This means you will have stable blood sugars throughout the night. Well….why is this so important? Stable blood sugars helps with the following: supports your metabolism, maintains your weight, promotes weight loss, burns fat through the hormone glucagon, provides consistent energy levels, keeps you focused, stable moods, and no cravings! (WOO!)
It is important not to restrict yourself from food all day long – you are setting yourself up for a night of binge eating. This is technically destroying your metabolism making it harder to lose weight. Also if you haven’t eaten throughout the day, you’re likely to make poor snack choices because your body is just craving something…anything.
2. “I can’t sleep if I eat right before bed”: It is all about what and how much you choose to eat before bedtime. If you ate a huge meal or a bunch of cookies before bed, it is most likely going to interfere with your sleep because the food you ate spiked your blood sugars. When you are sleeping your blood sugars will drop again and will interrupt your sleep. Therefore, disruption in your sleep will leave you feeling not rested in the morning. A small, balanced bedtime snack with a combo of a carbohydrate and a fat will help keep your blood sugars stable and set your body up for a great night of sleep. Oh, and the reason why protein is not recommended before bed is because it actually can interfere with your sleep!
Bedtime snack ideas: Make sure it has a serving of carbs and a serving of fat
*Some people don’t realize carbs are in fruits and veggies. This is the type of carb I am recommending. Not pasta, pretzels, chips, bread, etc.
- Handful of berries and nuts
- Sauté a pear in coconut oil and top with a few walnuts
- Frozen berries with 2 Tbsp. of heavy cream
- Broccoli with a little melted cheese or butter on top
- Half sweet potato with a little butter
- Half of a banana with a nut butter
- It is actually pretty important to include a bedtime snack!
- Our bodies need fuel constantly, even when we sleep.
- When I say bedtime snack, I’m saying at least 15- 30 minutes before bed so it has time to digest
- Smart bedtime snacks are ones that will help you sleep without weighing you down.
- Why go to bed hungry if your body will benefit from a bedtime snack?
- Stable blood sugars promotes good sleep, which is important since sleep not only gives our bodies energy but regulars hormones (Ghrelin) that control our appetite and metabolism.
Don’t forget that while you are sleeping you are technically “fasting.” It is important to “Break the Fast” 1 hour of waking! Always be sure to consume a healthy balanced breakfast!
Your body does not process food differently just because it got dark outside. Fuel your body and metabolism and you’ll be shocked by how wonderful you feel, and look! 🙂