It’s not always possible to avoid eating after dark. Some situations (a late work shift, a delayed flight, some event or kids exams) call for legit midnight meals—and hey, other times you’re just still hungry.
So what to do? The trick is to munch on fare that won’t spike your blood sugar, incite cravings, or pack on pounds. Any of these light-but-filling combos should tide you over till morning.
- 1 medium banana + 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 medium apple + 1-ounce low-fat cheese
- 1/4 cup black beans + 1 small corn tortilla
- 1 cup blueberries + 6 to 8 ounces plain, non-fat yoghurt
- 1 cup carrot sticks + 3 tablespoons hummus
But if you need a full-on dinner at night and you cannot avoid it, dieticians suggests something that’s about 40% veggies, 40% carbs, and 20% protein.
And don’t go immediately horizontal after you eat — spend some time sitting up reading, watching TV, doing the dishes, whatever. This reduces your risk of indigestion and acid reflux. If you notice any acid reflux symptoms, don’t eat within an hour of laying down.
Capsaicin, which makes food spicy, can cause indigestion and discomfort, which wrecks your sleep. And snacks with a lot of oil or fat (like deep-fried anything) will also take forever to digest. Not only will this keep you up, but it also means those acidic stomach juices are around for a longer while your body is horizontal, which can cause acid reflux.
Sugar also isn’t great for sleep, so try to avoid things with lots of added sugar like candy or chocolate. If you’re really craving something sweet, something with naturally occurring sugar like fruit or dairy are better options.
Complex carbohydrates like whole-grain bread are great because they release serotonin when digested, which helps calm you down, serve the purpose of snacks. And adding a little protein will keep you full until breakfast. Experts also suggest drinking a big glass of water or a cup of hot tea (decaf), to help you feel full and hydrated.