Healthy Snacks Before Bed Time
It is quite common for people to get the niggling craving for an evening snack but what if you are trying to lose weight or keep things healthy? Here are my top healthy snacks before bedtime you can eat with out the guilt.
First..lets go over some rules for evening snacking. Your body’s digestion reduces by 50% when you sleep so it’s important to stay clear of some food types as they will put strain on your system and you could end up waking up with a food hangover…we have all been there…still bloated from the night before, sleepless or restless night resulting in feeling fatigued the next day. This is a big fat NO NO in my book.
However there is reason to believe that having a healthy snack before bedtime can promote better sleep, maintain steady blood sugar levels which in turn could help with your weight loss..AWESOME.
So forget the rules of eating before 6pm to maintain a healthy weight or help weight loss – lets consider the fact that maintaining steady blood sugar levels will decrease your chances of having a mega crash and cramming whatever you can get your hands on into your mouth.
First the nitty gritty..
FOODS TO AVOID BEFORE BEDTIME
In order to have a good nights sleep there are foods you must avoid. Caffeine is an obvious one but did you know chocolate contains caffeine! So if you find yourself reaching for a feel good choccy bar after dinner..think again. Not only will the refined sugar leave you feeling restless and add to your fat storage the caffeine may well stop you from falling asleep easily.
Refined sugar converts into fat if it’s not being used immediately as fuel in the body. It releases too much energy into the body quickly rather then steadily which contributes to a restless nights sleep making you reach for refined carby and sugary goodies to get you through the next day…sound familiar? Be aware of hidden sugars in fruit yogurts and so called ‘healthy’ cereals.
Alcohol effects your normal sleeping pattern. You might find you fall asleep easier but you wake up just a few hours later. This is because when you fall asleep you actually miss the first phase of sleeping (REM sleep) and go straight into a deep sleep but once the alcohol wears off you can find yourself in the REM state and wake easily.
A bad nights sleep can make you feel exhausted lowering your will power making you reach for bad food choices…not to mention the hangover munchies!
High fat foods take a lot of time to digest and could lead to a restless nights sleep. High fat foods are energy/calorie dense, which will only add to your waistline if eaten before bed. Remember not all fats are created equal and healthy fats are essential as part of a healthy diet. See my article on fat burning foods to get the low down Click Here.
Great now we have the NO NO’S out the way we can get to the interesting bit -Healthy Snacks To Eat Before Bedtime.
- Plain and low fat greek yogurt with blueberries, strawberries or cherries.
I have stated low fat because full fat is too energy dense and takes longer to digest. Plain low fat greek yogurt is a great source of protein and contains an amino acid called tryptophan which helps induce sleep. Berries are low in sugar making this snack a balanced combination of protein and carbohydrate.
IMPORTANT FACT – DON’T AVOID CARBS…WHHHHHAAAT?!
Yes don’t avoid carbs with your healthy bedtime snacks and here is the reason; Tryptophan found in dairy, eggs, some meats and fruit is an amino acid that promotes sleep HOWEVER its needs carbohydrate in order for the tryptophan to be absorbed. Without the carbs it will result in the amino acid not being absorbed and another amino acid called tyrosine, being absorbed which has the opposite effect keeping you awake!!
- Cottage cheese for those who crave a cheesier snack and something more savoury. Cottage cheese is a great low fat cheese which is high in protein and contains a type of protein called casein which is a slow releasing helping your blood sugar levels to remain steady overnight. Try topping 2 oatcakes/ryevita/rice cakes or carrot sticks for a good protein and carbohydrate balance.
- Turkey is a fabulous low carb option and also contains tryptophan which helps promote sleep..it is a very lean meat so ideal as a late night snack combine with 2 oatcakes/ryevita/rice cakes or tomato slices. Ideally go for a good quality deli style turkey as turkey steaks will be too heavy and dense before bed.
- Apple & almond butter is the perfect combo for those with a sweeter tooth. The apple for the sweetness and the almond butter for protein and good fats to help regulate those blood sugar levels.
- Cherries have sleep inducing effects on the body and can help with insomnia because they contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body’s internal clock. Eat raw and natural on their own or add to some plain yogurt.
- Bananas are another food that contain tryptophan and a medium banana is only around 100 calories perfect for a pre bedtime snack. Combine with almond butter for an even more filling snack.
- Salmon is a great source of protein and omega 3 fats, which help you, keep full throughout the night plus it’s a good source of vitamin B6, which promotes the production of sleep hormones.
- Carrot sticks and hummus can be a satisfying snack before bedtime. Protein packed hummus is great for keeping hunger at bay and the carrots add a satisfyingly healthy crunch. If your worried about the fat content you can opt for low fat hummus.
So we have completed the healthy snacks before bedtime rules. Now you’re all clued up you can banish the guilt of late night eating. You can be rest assured that the myth of ‘no carbs after 6pm or you’ll gain weight’ is in-fact just a myth! Go forth and enjoy filling that empty spot in your rumbling tummy