[A Dietitian’s] 5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Eat Before Bed
It’s three hours past dinner and you’re getting ready for bed, when you feel the familiar grumble in your tummy. You’ve been told over and over again that eating before bed will make you fat; that eating before bed provides unnecessary calories; that you shouldn’t eat after [insert time here]. Conventional wisdom says that food will sit in your stomach all night long, which will result in packing on the pounds.
Word to the unconventionally wise: Don’t fall for it! These are myths, and not only will eating the right type of bedtime snack not make you fat, it will actually boost your metabolism (Get my (FREE) guide for more ways to do THAT), and a bedtime snack can bring you closer to your weight and overall wellness goals by keeping your blood sugar levels stable. So, don’t push through that hungry feeling and go to bed on an empty stomach, and even if you’re not hungry, it’s still important to eat a snack to reap the health benefits!
Before you go accusing me of insanity, read these five reasons you absolutely should eat a balanced bedtime snack—even if you’re not hungry!
1. Eating a snack before bed can promote weight loss. Yup, you read that correctly! We’ve been falsely told that a bedtime snack is simply extra calories (read my post on why I HATE calories here!). There’s a huge problem with this outdated theory: Weight loss cannot be simplified to an equation of calories in and calories burned. If this were true, you could be drinking all the diet soda and eating all the 100-calorie cookie snack packs you wanted as long as you hit the gym often enough (ugh, I’m feeling sick just thinking about that…but I used to fall for this too (read about how low-fat foods OWNED me and how they made me gain weight.). You see, general health and weight loss are about nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs to work best, and keeping your blood sugar levels stable. When you eat the right amounts of the right foods, your blood sugars stabilize and your fat burning hormone, glucagon, can do its job (i.e. burn fat!!). When you skip the bedtime snack, your blood sugar crashes shortly after you fall asleep, and you don’t sleep well and pack on the pounds. So yes, skipping your bedtime snack can actually cause weight gain. And consuming a nicely balanced bedtime snack of popcorn with BUTTER, or apples and almond butter, can promote weight loss. Yep. Butter helps you lose weight. Consider that your Metabolism Boosting Tip #1 and for my very BEST, dietitian-approved tips for weight loss and skyrocket energy levels, grab my FREE guide here.)
2. Having a satisfied belly will help you to fall and stay asleep. Many people struggle with falling and/or staying asleep. The simplest thing that helps our coaching clients with sleeping is having a bedtime snack. Who would’ve thought!? Before you dish up a heaping bowl of ice cream, keep reading because we’re not talking about filling up on just anything. Your bedtime snack should be made up of the F and C of our PFC mantra. (Protein can interfere with sleep so sticking with fat and carb is perfect!) About 15 to 30 minutes before bed, have a bowl of berries and heavy cream, carrots and guac, apple slices and almond butter, mashed avocado and banana pudding, a serving of my real food Shamrock Shake or a sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon (YUM!). Try to stick with a couple tablespoons (or half an avocado) for fat, and a half cup (or half banana or half sweet potato) for carb.
3. While you’re sleeping, your body is still hard at work and needs energy. In coaching appointments, we work with clients to get to the “root cause” of their weight gain, fatigue, sleep issues, and low energy levels. Once you start regularly supporting your metabolism by following the action steps outlined in my (FREE!) Metabolism Boosters guide, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline and way better energy levels. At bedtime, eating an “FC” (Fat and Carb) snack will support your metabolism which means your body can continue to do fat-burning work while you sleep. We’ve had clients focus on this one key area for just a week or two and see drastic results. A bedtime snack matters!
4. An full stomach before bed= stable blood sugars = better sleeping = healthier life. Sleep affects your immunity, energy level, appetite, metabolism, cravings and your weight. The better you’re sleeping at night, the better you’ll feel all day. Do yourself a favor and eat that healthy fat and carbohydrate before bed so that your body can get the supportive rest it needs to keep you going allllll day long.
5. Bedtime snacks set you up for success. Why deprive yourself of a yummy snack if it will help your weight, energy levels and brain power the next day? Who doesn’t want to pour a couple spoonfuls of heavy cream (or coconut milk if you’re dairy free) over frozen berries and enjoy a delicious sorbet treat before bed if it actually helps your body?
So, start today and make it a priority to incorporate a bedtime snack into your regular bedtime regimen and start reaping the benefits. And go grab my FREE 5.5 Metabolism Boosters guide so that you know just what to do to be on your way to a healthier, fitter, more energetic self. YAY!