Hi folks!  I’m back to answer more of your burning questions…

In this addition of “Ask Anna” I’ll be answering a family members question about eating at night.  Their question:

“Dear Anna,

I love your blog.  You are so smart and helpful and funny.  Your hap-hazard recipes and pictures are not the best but I am willing to look past this and enjoy your posts.  [some of this may have been edited to improve content 😉 ]  Anyway, I have been trying to watch my figure, especially with the summer months and swim suit season coming.  I’ve heard it’s not good to eat protein or carbs at night.  Is this true?  What should I be eating?  Or should I not eat? Thanks for any advice you can offer.”

Oh if I had a nickel for every time someone questioned ‘what to eat and when.’  It is very confusing.  In a perfect world, we would all eat when we were hungry and not eat if we weren’t but life is never that simple.

My initial thought: if you are hungry at night (and truly hungry, not just bored) then by all means EAT!

Think of your body like a well-oiled machine.  You must feed it to keep it running and burning.  If you don’t and try to cut back too many calories or aren’t eating enough, your energy dips and your metabolism slows.  You may be eating less, but your body will begin to burn less and this will leave you feeling burnt out.

If your body needs energy (and calories) at night then its important you feed that need to keep your metabolism burning.  Remember, your body is working even at rest and needs energy to do so.  This is especially important for people who are really active and for those who are doing weight training and trying to gain muscle.  At night, the body uses a lot energy for muscle repair.

However, I will say that if you are eating at night because of habit or boredom or any emotional reason, then you should re-asses your need for a nighttime snack. Any extra calories taken in will be stored (again, this is fine if you are an athlete or active and will burn them off but not good if you are overweight and need to watch your calorie intake).

So, say you do need a snack at night because your physically hungry, what should you eat?  I would recommend a high protein snack with a bit of healthy fat if you’re active.  Protein will help muscles repair and fat will slow the digestion/absorption of the protein.

Per usual, I would recommend whole foods over packaged/processed foods and avoid high sugar foods.

Some ideas:

-Cottage cheese with peanut butter

-Greek yogurt with unsweetened cocoa powder and some chopped nuts

-Whole wheat toast with peanut butter/almond butter

-Rice cakes and peanut butter

-Carrots/celery with hummus

-Piece of fruit and a glass of milk

-Smoothie with low-sugar yogurt and berries

I hope this help clears up some confusion about eating for energy, even at night!  If you have any questions about eating at night, or another question for Ask Anna, please let me know!


What is your favorite nighttime snack?!