For most healthy people, it’s perfectly okay to have a snack before bed, yet keep in mind that there is no recipe for an ideal bedtime snack, only some guidelines.
Avoid Junk Foods and Sugary Desserts: Loading up on sugary, processed junk foods like ice-cream or crisps right before isn’t a good idea. These foods are high in unhealthy fats, sugars and salt which trigger cravings and overeating. They make it very easy to exceed your daily calorie needs for the day.
Eating before bed doesn’t necessarily make you put on weight, but filling up on high calorie foods certainly can.
If you happen to have a sweet tooth, try some low-sugar berries a couple of squares of dark chocolate or if you crave for something salty have a small handful of salty, roasted pistachios, almonds or other nuts or seeds.
Combine Protein or Fat With Carbs: If you don’t have any stomach or digestive problems combining complex carbohydrates with protein and a little healthy fat is a good way to do it.
Complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables provide you with a steady source of energy as you fall asleep.
Teaming it up with protein or a small amount of fat can help keep you full through the night and keep your blood sugar stable.
Some evidence suggests that eating a carb-rich meal with a high glycemic index before bed can help you fall asleep. The reason for this is that carbohydrates improve the transportation of tryptophan an amino acid, which can be converted into neurotransmitters that help regulate sleep. The same effect you may also receive from tryptophan rich foods such as fish, red meat, poultry and dairy.
In other studies a meal rich in fat can improve sleep quality.
Some snack ideas include an apple with peanut butter, whole grain crackers and a slice of turkey, or cheese and grapes.
Conclusion: eating a carb with protein and fat snack before bed is fine for most people if you haven’t surpassed the amount of calories needed for the day. A definite no, no is eating junk foods and desserts before bed.
So the big question. Should you eat before bed ?
The answer to whether or not it’s a bad idea to eat before bed really depends on you and your habits.
It’s not a good idea to make a habit of snacking on unhealthy foods before bed. It’s also unwise to eat a large portion of your calories during the night.
Keeping that in mind, it’s perfectly fine for most people to have a healthy snack before they Zzzzzz. :))
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !