If you have ever been concerned about your weight, you have certainly heard this rule, “Don’t eat after dinner.” The rationale used was that we are less active in the evening and everything we eat would turn to fat. Really?
Well, here’s some good news for you, if you ever went to bed hungry, with a gnawing feeling in your tummy because it was 11:30 and you ate an early dinner at 5:00. Eating in the evening does not cause weight gain. What does cause weight gain is the type of food you eat.
Being tired is a trigger for many to eat comfort foods. So you may be more likely to grab sugary snacks or salty chips. They are typically empty calories, meaning they are not giving your body what it’s asking for… fuel. If your are getting hunger signals, your body wants food- whole food that nourishes it.
So, the next time you are really, truly hungry in the evening, reach for a small snack that will give your body just what it needs. Also, make sure your evening meal has protein, veggies and no or minimal processed foods. We metabolize processed foods very quickly.
Here are some suggestions for an evening snack:
- graham crackers and nut butter (peanut, almond or sunflower)
- plain or vanilla yogurt with berries or sliced bananas
- cantaloupe half filled with cottage cheese
- whole grain cracker and couple of slices of cheese
- small handful of almonds and orange
Do you see a pattern here? A protein and fiber food in a small but satisfying amount. It takes a while to metabolize food, so don’t eat and hop right into bed because the digestion process can disrupt your sleep. Have your snack at least an hour before bed.
And if you’ve been active during the day, having a small nutritious snack (if you’re really hungry) will not add on pounds. Eating 2 bowls of ice cream a half hour after dinner will! Remember, eating only when hungry and stopping as soon as you are mildly full prevents weight gain… not the time on the clock. If you’d like to get more tips like this, sign up to the right to get them delivered to you email inbox about once a month.
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