By: Susan Howard
Yeah, I’ve heard it too, don’t eat after 7PM, if you eat late at night the calories will store as fat, drink water to stave off hunger. All wrong. Sorry Oprah.
First of all how could your body store more fat at night? Does it know what time it is? “Well it’s 9:30 at night, time to store fat!” Of course not. Also it benefits you to eat late at night because it keeps your metabolism up as you digest the food and if you are working out you must be certain you feed your muscles sufficiently so they can grow. (Hillary Swank, while training for “Million Dollar Baby”, woke up at 4 am to drink a protein shake to ensure her body wasn’t eating her muscles).
If you are just about to go to sleep and had a big dinner I am not mandating you eat more, nor am I saying that the snack should be your biggest meal of the day. Just try a few hours before you go to bed to grab a final snack.
Here’s what your day ideally would look like:
7AM Breakfast 300 to 450 calories
10AM Snack 250 calories
12PM Lunch 300 to 450 calories
3PM Snack 250 calories
6:30 PM Dinner 400 to 600 Calories
9:00 PM Snack 250 Calories
See a pattern here? About every 2 to 3 hours you should be eating. Think of yourself as a humming bird, eat fly eat fly eat fly, sleep.
Don’t stress too much about the calories. First try and get the times under control. If you eat with this type of consistency you won’t be left hungry in the first place so likely you won’t overeat.
What should I have at night you ask? I will tell you.
I love a piece of wheat or Ezekiel toast with almond butter and a drizzle of honey.
You could also have a bowl of popcorn with a sprinkle of butter and brewer’s yeast for salt (actually, it tastes better than salt and is good for you, trust me).
I have been having a cup of instant oatmeal –the big round bucket with the captain on the front –and throwing in some raisins and sliced almonds. Zap in the microwave for 2 minutes and boom –a yummy treat.
For a treat I may chop up some fruit and put a dollop of fresh whipped cream on it and sprinkle a bunch of nuts on top.
In general you might notice in the snacks I mentioned there is a balance of carbs, protein and fat. That’s something you want to shoot for in most of your meals.
If this is TMI, don’t stress it. Just remember to give in when you get the late night munchies, munch away.