Late Night Snack
Feeling hungry before bed always brings with it such a dilemma. Occasionally I just put myself to bed slightly hungry and hope I will sleep ok, but sometimes I need something extra to stop my tummy rumbling. But what is the best food to have? What will my body be able to digest without being stored as fat as I sleep?
Before the Fast
Technically, sleeping can be seen as a long period of fasting, as you do not consume any nutritiants for 8-10 hours. Therefore, you need to supply the body with the relevant nutritiants to keep it going during the fast. If after dinner you are left wanting more, here are some healthy options that the body will be able to process while you sleep.
Oats: Although one would usually avoid carbohydrates before bed as you cannot burn them off, oats are easily broken down and slowly digested. This means that you shouldn't be waking up feeling hungry in the night or experience a blood sugar crash and don't need to worry about weight gain as much as if you were to eat another carb such as bread
Casein: After a workout day, casein protein shakes are a great late night drink. The casein is slowly released, allowing the muscles to repair whilst you sleep. Give this a go and you'll be feeling the gains in the morning.
Cottage Cheese: This is another perfect source of protein before bed, especially if you have had a big workout that day. They contain slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the muscle tissues over the long time period. Hopefully, this will decrease chances of DOMS in the morning and help those muscles repair ASAP!
Berries: These are a low calorie option as a late night snack. As fruit goes they are low in sugar and so will not cause you to have a sugar high. The sweetness will satisfy cravings and allow you to relax and sleep easy!
Nuts and Seeds: A small handful of almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds etc are great before bed. They are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid which helps induce sleep and magnesium, a mineral that helps your muscles and nerves relax.
Milk: Babies have been given a glass of milk before bed for centuries. This is because of it's high calcium levels which help to produce healthy bones and teeth. It also contains protein to repair muscles over night and contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps induce sleep
Bananas: These are a great snack before bed as they contain high levels of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a muscle relaxant.
Mix it up
A lot of the best options for a late night snack go together very well. Try out a combination of peanut butter on banana and get the benefits of both the fruit and the nuts.
Alternatively, give a bowl of oats, berries, nuts and seeds a go and reap the benefits of all the different foods.
Finally, if you have had a hard workout, then try a casein protein shake made with milk for an added burst of protein to restore those muscles.
Hope that has given you all a good idea of the sorts of things to eat before bed if you are feeling peckish. Try and stay clear of sugary foods and cafinated drinks as these will keep you awake. Also try to avoid very starchy foods as these wont be processed easily by the body and could be stored as excess fat. Not what you want after a hard day in the gym and kitchen!