Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t eat past a certain time of day or you will gain weight? Somewhere along the way we’ve been told that we shouldn’t eat after 7 p.m. or we will pack on the pounds. This is a common misconception. Our bodies need fuel constantly, not just when we are awake. When we’re sleeping, our bodies are burning calories to circulate blood, assist with lung functioning, and fuel our brains.
Studies consistently show that nighttime eating does not actually cause weight gain if you stay within your body’s daily caloric needs. Where some people do get into trouble with eating late at night is if they binge and take in more calories than they need in a day. This often happens when people restrict their intake too much during the day. If you find that you’re ravenous at night, you probably aren’t getting enough calories throughout the day. This is why severely restrictive, extremely low-calorie diets backfire–they are too difficult to maintain long-term and ultimately are unhealthy because they bring your metabolism to a screeching halt. Your best bet is to eat portion-controlled meals consistently throughout the day, never going more than 3-4 hours without eating.
Here are a few healthy picks for when your internal clock makes you hungry for those sweet, starchy and salty foods:
Baby carrots with Greek yogurt Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12.
Skinny Vanilla Milkshake: Add 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder to 1 cup of skim milk and blend with ice!
Pistachios: For 100 calories you can have about 30 nuts and they have less fat and salt than most processed snacks!
Chocolate covered banana slices: Melt a square of dark chocolate in the microwave for about 20 seconds then dip in the banana slices. It’s antioxidant rich and fiber-rich and a great way to feed that sweet tooth!