Graze more during the day. If you snack on healthy, whole foods on a regular basis, you won’t feel completely famished by the end of the day and feel that NEED to eat a meal late at night!
Make your meals count. Grazing doesn’t mean having a bag of chips, half a bagel and then some pretzels. All your food choices throughout the day should be like little mini-meals which are balanced, containing proper amounts of complex carbs, healthy fat and lean protein (plant based, if possible!).
Stock up at the office. Leave healthy foods, kitchen gadgets (such as can openers, hand blenders, etc.), and utensils at work, so you can eat healthy there! We spend so much time at work these days, so it’s important that it be outfitted with all our essentials. If you have to purchase two of everything so you have one at work and one at home, DO IT. It’s better than relying on the vending machine or the local sub shop for food every day.
Have healthy foods on hand at home. Nothing is worse than coming home from a long day hungry and having nothing to eat! If your pantry and fridge are stocked ahead of time, this leaves you less likely to call for pizza delivery at 9:43 pm.
Prepare ahead of time. This ties into that last tip. Having healthy foods on hand is great, but having something prepared and READY to eat, is even more helpful! Make your whole grains in your down time (perhaps on the weekend) to have them ready to go (things like brown rice, quinoa) and have veggies chopped and ready to be made into a quick and light stir-fry or salad.
Keep it on the lighter side. It’s not recommended to consume a heavy meal at night, especially if you will be going to bed soon. Sleep is a time for our bodies to rest and rebuild. If we feast on a huge meal before bedtime, our body cannot do it’s job of rebuilding, as it’s now got the enormous task of breaking down all that food you just consumed. As most of us know, protein is the building block to muscle, so having something with a higher protein content can be helpful, but again, keep it light and plant based, if you can. Quinoa is an excellent choice as it’s versatile, considered a complete protein, and also counts as a healthy complex carb. Pair that with some veggies and you’ve got yourself a pretty delicious late night dinner. 🙂
Fuel up properly BEFORE you work out. Don’t work out on a completely empty stomach. Your body needs energy to get you through all that hard work at the gym! Complex carbs, such as fresh fruit, smoothies or brown rice are great to eat before a work out. If you work out with no fuel, trust me, you will feel twice as starved after your work out and this can leave you prone to fast food or other junk on the way home.
Keep healthy snacks in your car at all times. Raw almonds, a greens bar such as Amazing Grass, or some goji berries. With traffic these days, sometimes we spend more time in our cars than we’d like to, keeping us from getting home at a decent hour and having that meal. It’s never a bad idea to have food on us always!
Figuring out what to eat late at night does not have to be so mysterious. It’s not about not eating carbs after 4pm or cutting off food completely after 8pm. Your body needs what it needs, no matter what time of day. Don’t torture or starve yourselves in the hopes to look like super models. Food=fuel and your body is always running, even in your sleep. It’s all about the right fuel and also the big picture. Taking extra steps throughout your entire day can amount to a much more pleasant evening.
If you need help with meal planning or more late night food ideas, I’m here to help!