Published November 18, 2012

Evening Snacking: Yay or Nay?

by Helen M. Ryan
woman opening the fridge in the night
To eat or not to eat in the evening? That is the question.

So many times we hear from diet experts, "Don't eat after 6 p.m." That may be somewhat decent advice, but it's not realistic.
Let's face it. If you eat at 6 p.m., get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast at 7:30 a.m. that's a long time to go without food.
The biggest concern—other than that your body needs a consistent flow of calories and nutrients—is that you may be so hungry that you wake up in the middle of the night to eat, often eating the wrong types of foods for that hour.

(Hmmm how do I know this? Because I have gotten up at 2 a.m. and eaten a bunch of crackers, peanut butter, and other goodies more than once!).
The best way to ward of this late-night 'snack attack' is to eat a little something before you go to bed.

My favorites?

  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt (note the plain - save your sugar for something yummier)
  • Reduced fat string cheese (or a low fat cheese substitute as long as it has protein)
  • A teaspoon (not table - tea) of almond or cashew butter
  • Fat free cottage cheese
  • A hardboiled egg
  • Hot cocoa (with fat free milk - soy milk - raw cocoa powder and Stevia)
  • A few slices of turkey cold cuts (or vegan cold cuts)

These are all super quick snacks that all have protein in them. Why protein? Because protein takes longer to break down in your system and will keep you fuller longer. So will fat (as in the almond butter), so you can always sprinkle a few almonds, cashews, etc. on your cottage cheese or in your yogurt. As much as I love carbs—try to nix those in the late evening.
Evening snack = no middle of the night attack.
~What is your favorite evening snack?