Shed those unwanted pounds while you get your beauty sleep. It’s a challenge most people face when they’re trying to eat healthy: you’re starving right before bed, but you don’t want to eat something that will derail your diet. Turns out, going to bed hungry could actually hurt your weight-loss efforts.
Compiled from Eat This, Not That! here is a list of favourite bedtime foods that will help you fall asleep faster, build lean protein while you snooze, or keep you satisfied all night long to avoid those morning hunger pangs.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is like the MVP of yogurts, thanks to its high protein and low sugar content (in unsweetened varieties). The protein is filling and can help you build lean muscle while you snooze. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that eating protein right before you sleep stimulates overnight protein synthesis, which repairs and helps grow muscle. Since lean protein helps your body burn fat, getting enough of the macronutrient is key for weight loss.
2. Peanut butter on whole grain bread
Peanut butter toast is a delicious and filling snack any time of day, but especially before bed. This peanut butter contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps put you to sleep, and the B vitamins in whole grain bread will help you absorb it. It is a great source of plant-based protein to help you build muscle, and healthy monounsaturated fats to keep you full and blast belly fat.
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3. Protein shake
If you’re one of those people who prefer to hit the gym in the evening, recovering with a protein shake can help you build muscle while you catch up on your beauty sleep. Research suggests eating protein before bed helps your muscles better utilize the amino acids for protein synthesis, and building lean muscle is key to getting rid of fat.
4. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is almost the perfect bedtime snack. It’s rich in casein protein, a slow-releasing protein that keeps you full overnight and will help you repair muscles while you get your beauty rest. Plus, it contains the sleep-inducing tryptophan to help you fall asleep.
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Did you know bananas also have tryptophan? The amino acid will help put you to sleep quicker, and the fiber will keep you satisfied. At about 100 calories each, this sweet fruit will help squash any sugar cravings you might have after dinner. Try freezing a banana (unpeeled, of course), and mash it up with a fork to create a tasty ice cream-like treat.
If you’re craving something salty, munch on some almonds. At five grams of protein a serving, they’ll help you repair muscle overnight, and the fiber will keep you satisfied. Plus, almonds are a fat-burning superfood: One study found that overweight adults who ate ¼ cup of almonds for 6 months had a 62% reduction in weight and BMI.
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