By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
Knowing which foods to have before bed is hard to decipher. You’re hungry, or you’re bored, or you are stressed out and just want a chocolate treat or glass of wine.
Well, there are definitely food choices that can sabotage your weight loss goals, and other foods that can help them. Let’s go through some food choices that you should stay clear of first.
The body has different responses to different macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins). All of these cause an insulin response, but more so carbs. Carbs signal the pancreas to release insulin, which then tells beta cells to uptake the glucose (carbs) into the cells. But, if you’re overweight, most likely you have a form of insulin resistance, which means those beta cells don’t uptake the glucose and instead your fat cells eat it. Basically, carbs turn into fat in excess.
When winding down at the end of the day, the catecholamines are low and glycogen stores closed (fancy terms for body not in stress). This means glucose has no where to go but the fat cells for later use.
So, the biggest rule is to stay away from sugars and other forms of carbs before bed.
Instead, you can look for foods high in protein and healthy fats (omega-3s). Protein will regulate your blood sugar better and also repair muscle cells while asleep, and fats are used most effectively when the body is in oxygen efficiency (winding down before bed).
Additionally, high protein and animal-based foods have tryptophan, an amino-acid which may lead to drowsiness. This can be a good thing since you’re about to go to sleep. Having a baby-like slumber is a major plus here.
I will make a sidenote before going into healthy food choices before bed: your daily total macro-nutrient goal (intake of fats, carbs, and proteins) is far more important than the foods you eat before bed. Meaning, as long as your daily intake of food is appropriate, it matters less which of those types of foods are taken at the beginning or end of your day. Ok…I got that off my chest.
So here are a few snacks to eat before bed to still lose weight.
- Slices of turkey
This sounds simple, and it is. Just having a few slices of turkey (with maybe some mustard on top) is quite filling since this snack is all protein, but the heavy trace amounts of tryptophan will put you to sleep in no time.
- Breakfast for Late Dinner (Egg, bell-pepper, spinach scramble)
Nothing sounds better than having breakfast for dinner. So, if you want a little something before bed, crack two whole eggs and one egg white on top of some sauted veggies with olive oil and you have a delectible scramble for about 200 calories.
- Chocolate Protein Smoothie
This is going to taste just like dessert. Take a chocolate flavored protein powder that has no added sugar and blend it in almond milk, ice, and organic peanut butter and you have one tasty smoothie. It’s just like a Dairy Queen smoothie except less than 7g carbs.
- Chicken Cheese Wrap
Get some deli sliced chicken and raw chedder cheese, slice some cheese inside or a rolled chicken slice and these bad boys are filling but all protein and healthy fats.
- Stuffed Bell Pepper with Tuna and Sprinkled Feta Cheese
Tuna needs to be line caught so as to have no added metals and toxins but the tuna is straight up protein and healthy fats. Bell pepper has virtually no calories, and the cheese has some taste for the snack.