What Nutritionists Eat Before Bed
Hit with a late-night craving? Try reaching for one of these nutritionist-approved snacks.
Photo By: AndreyPopov/Getty
Photo By: ollo/Getty
Photo By: ToscaWhi/Getty
Photo By: Kryssia Campos/Getty
Photo By: CaseyHillPhoto/Getty
Photo By: SimplyCreativePhotography/Getty
Photo By: omersukrugoksu/Getty
Photo By: Tetra Images/Getty
Photo By: bhofack2/Getty
Photo By: LauriPatterson/Getty
Photo By: sagarmanis/Getty
Expert Snacking Choices
Let’s begin by busting the myth that it’s taboo to eat before bed. Despite the belief that late-night munching is a weight-gain guarantee, eating a sensible snack before bed can actually help you maintain a healthy weight, and control cravings and blood sugar. We asked dietitians worldwide to share their favorites foods to eat before going to sleep.
Glass of Milk
Warm milk before bed isn't just an old wives’ tale. Milk (warm or cold) actually is a good choice to sip before bed. "If I’m hungry before bed, I like to have a glass of milk" says Alabama-based dietitian Stacy Lewis. "Milk has 1 gram of protein for every ounce. This helps me stay satisfied until breakfast."
Another good dairy option is Greek yogurt, as recommended by health and wellness expert Edwina Clark, MS, RD APD, CSSD. "A bowl of Greek yogurt and fruit provides all the creamy sweetness of ice cream without the added fat and sugar," she says. "And yogurt is rich in probiotics, which may help settle the stomach, and is also a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps regulate circadian rhythms."
Romina Barritta, RD of GlobalDietitians.com reminds us there may not be a need to eat before bed. She recommends considering what time you had dinner to avoid mindless munching. "In Argentina dinner is served late, around 8:30pm or 9pm, so there's no need to snack before bed ... but occasionally a decaf espresso with a little milk, plus dark chocolate-covered almonds is my thing."
Lots of nutritionists love peanut butter. Brynn McDowell, RD reaches for something satisfying and a little sweet. "My favorite bedtime snack is a spoonful of peanut butter with a few dark chocolate chips on top. It's creamy and crunchy, providing some protein and fat to keep me full and a little bit of sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth."
Cheese and Fruit
The combo of cheese and fruit is perfect for a bedtime snacking bliss. According to Dani Sindelar RD, CDE, LN, pairing up cheese and apple slices is the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
An overwhelming number of nutrition experts cozy up with a cup of tea before bed. "Less eating and more sipping!" is RD Jessie Furman’s mantra. "Warm herbal tea is my first choice towards easing into my bedtime routine while delivering gentle flavor." Among some of the most popular varieties: chamomile, lavender and rooibos.
Pita Chips and Hummus
Bedtime snacks don’t have to be complicated. Another winning combo of healthy carbs and protein can be found in a serving of hummus with a handful pita chips for dipping. As simply put by Tricia Benjamin Ruth, RD, "the protein and carbs fuel me through the night."
Craving a frozen treat? Take a tip from dietitian Jessica Cording. "I absolutely love frozen berries as a bedtime snack — it’s that tart and sweet flavor combo." Frozen berries also pair well with other late-night superfoods. "If I know I need a little protein, I’ll add some plain Greek yogurt, ricotta or a piece of cheese."