Eating Before Bed Isn't Bad For You, But Only If You Do It Like This

by Talia Koren

Raise your hand if you've ever eaten before bed.

Yes, I'm raising my hand, too. We've all reached for a cookie or maybe some cheese and crackers before going to sleep, and we never feel great about it. Even though we know it's "bad," we still do it.

Well, your day (or night) is about to get a lot better because enjoying a bedtime snack isn't all that bad for you. It can actually be good for you, if you snack smart.

Here's the thing: Mindless eating will screw with your weight-loss goals. But, strategic bedtime snacks can actually get you closer to your goals.

So, put that pint of ice cream back in your freezer and listen up.

The more you exercise, the less eating at night affects your weight gain.

When you're working out frequently, even if it's just three times a week for 30 minutes, your metabolism will cause your body to process foods differently, regardless of the time.

For example, if you eat carbs at night, but you've been working out consistently, your body will use that fuel toward muscle recovery instead of storing it as fat.

Eating protein before bed supports muscle growth.

Instead of ice cream, try going for a creamy protein-rich snack like yogurt or cottage cheese. Your body repairs muscles while you sleep, so you'd be doing your body good by fueling up with protein before bed.

Certain foods can actually help you sleep better, while some guarantee you won't get a wink.

Some foods contain hormones that promote sleepiness, helping you fall asleep faster and ensuring your body will get the quality rest it needs.

Foods like walnuts, cherries, kiwi, turkey and rice help the production of sleep hormones in the body like melatonin. On the other hand, booze and fatty snacks like chips and ice cream are going to do the opposite.

Here are some of the best snacks you can eat before bed:

Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories.

Dates are great for digestion and are so tasty if you need a sweet fix.

Cheese sticks are another great source of protein.

Cherries contain melatonin, which also helps you get good rest.

Popcorn is a solid, low-calorie carb option that will make you feel full before hitting the sack.

If you're not a cottage cheese fan, get your nighttime protein from Greek yogurt.

Bananas are an excellent source of tryptophan, which makes you feel relaxed.

You're welcome. Now that you have all of these bedtime snack options, do your body good and fuel yourself with protein and sleep-inducing foods in your PJs.

Citations: 10 Perfect Bedtime Snacks (Prevention)