There has been a lot of discussion and rumors floating around that in order to stay lean, burn fat, and build muscle, you cannot eat late at night before bedtime. I am here to tell you the myths and matter-of-facts on this subject.

The idea of “not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep” is true to an extent. It comes from the notion that anything eaten within that time frame gets stored as fat. To make this statement as a “catch all” is simply untrue. You CAN eat right up until to bedtime IF you eat the correct foods.

What are the correct foods? A good late night snack should primarily be made up of slow-digesting proteins. Mixing in a faster digesting protein is fine, as well as some healthy fats. The healthy fats will slow digestion even further, which is good for when you are sleeping. This will keep that protein on a “time-release” during the night.

Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein, while whey and soy are fast digesting proteins. You can always check the labels of foods and see if what they are composed of.

Good late night (slow-digesting protein) meals are:
1. Low-fat cottage cheese mixed with walnuts, cashews, almonds (whatever kind of nut you like). I currently have maple walnuts, they make the dish absolutely delicious. Hint**Add a dash of flavored protein powder (whey is fine) just to add flavor. The reason I say “low-fat cottage cheese” here is because you will be getting fats from the nuts you add. Do not add a whole serving of your protein powder; you might as well just make a shake. It is there to add flavor and that is it.

2. A poultry, meat, or fish dish is a great option before bed. The protein found in these whole foods are slightly faster digesting than casein but still slow due to the fact that they are whole foods (and meat will have some fat content, thus slowing digestion further). About 3-4 oz. should be an appropriate serving size for before bed.

3. Any dairy that is low in sugar is a good option: yogurt, cheese etc…

Ultimately, protein is the main thing to look for prior to bedtime. Enjoy!