Late Night Snacks

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 22, 2007 3:49 AM GMT
    Is there a solution to my late night cravings? Currently, I eat fairly healthy, trying to maintain a 1500 cal intake a day and usually all goes well until I'm sitting in front of a TV around 10 at night. The best solution would be to just head up to bed, but life just seems worthless and dull.

    My main question is, is it better to make an offical rule to myself to not eat after 6 or so, and suffer through, or is it okay to eat 300 calories or so late at night?

    Thanks!
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    Jun 22, 2007 4:34 AM GMT
    I am most definitely not an expert, so I will probably be corrected by others.

    I've heard that the general rule of thumb is to avoid eating 3 hours before you go to bed. Anyone care to verify/disprove that?

    Also, have you tried just drinking water when you get hungry at night? A lot of the time when you feel hungry all you actually need is more water. If you absolutely have to eat something, however, try some peanuts. They're very filling and fairly low-cal.
  • Starboard

    Posts: 242

    Jun 22, 2007 4:46 AM GMT
    My rule is that if I am hungry, my body is telling me that I need to eat something. Then again, there is a difference between being hungry and having a craving.

    If you are craving things that are bad for you, the solution is to keep them out of your refrigerator and pantry (you can't eat it if it's not there!)...as I write this, it is just about 11:30PM, and if there was chocolate cake with buttercream frosting readily available, I would definitely not be typing this entry.

    But there is no reason to starve yourself just because it's late in the day if you are seriously hungry. I would definitely avoid anything heavy, high in carbs or sugar...I usually go for some fruit/lowfat cottage cheese or a handful of almonds...a banana with a little peanut butter also seems to hit the spot.

  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jun 22, 2007 6:01 AM GMT
    Unless u have diverticulitus, Almonds can be a good snack, but I agree it's not good to eat 3 hours before sleep, but I'm human and I have, just I don't make a habit of it.

    Peace
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    Jun 22, 2007 7:06 AM GMT
    I've heard of bodybuilders who set their alarm clocks to wake up and eat every three hours.

    Personally, I tend to nibble on (too much) almond & chocolate if I'm watching TV. Reading a book seem to require enough attention that I don't pay attention to the stomach, though.
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    Jun 22, 2007 9:29 AM GMT
    First of all, I've looked at your profile and if you are doing all the weight training, cardio and sports that you say you are doing then there is NO WAY you should only be eating 1500 calories. This is far too few! No wonder you are craving food. You are starving your body. It needs fuel.

    I suggest you up your calorie intake by at least a 1000 calories and eat 6 smallish meals during the day. Snack on orchard fruit and that will keep the hunger pangs at bay.

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 22, 2007 10:49 AM GMT
    Late night snacks aren't very good...
    the cals that you consume have a much better chance of being stored as body fat at this time
    ...chances are that you are having hunger pangs because your blood sugar is dropping at this time
    if that's the case @ around 6 whenever you eat dinner eat some complex carbs which will tide you over for the next few hrs
    if it's plain boredom...you can much on some noisy - crunchy veges til your heart's content
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 22, 2007 10:49 AM GMT
    Agree with RedHeadGuy--my trainer's got me on a 2500-calorie diet of six meals through the day. The only thing I'd add is that you should take in most of those calories in the morning and not have carbs with dinner.
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    Jun 22, 2007 12:43 PM GMT
    The only reason I'm eating 1500 calories a day is to finally shake the belly fat and also because some days I do end up eating around 2000 calories. But thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how it's going.
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    Jun 22, 2007 1:21 PM GMT
    Eat when you are hungry, but watch what you eat. I would say you should eat more of a protein rich diet for dinner so it would last you through the night because it has more complex sugars and it takes time for your body to break it down and eventually consume it. Or if you are really still hungry and can help but have a snack at night, have a cracker w/ peanut butter and some skim milk. That would fill you up with not so much of the calories .

    In my case, i always get hungry early in the morning like around 2am-4am, i get up and eat HEAVY. Like some rice and whatever viand i can have it with. I go to the gym regularly anyway so i don't worry much about it. I feel worse when i'm hungry and don't eat.
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    Jun 22, 2007 2:52 PM GMT
    My partner had a chronic problem with late night snacking. We found what helped most was a small glass of Kefir (kind of like liquid yoghurt)about half an hour before he went to bed. He hasn't really snacked since starting this regime and sleeps much more soundly, as well.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 22, 2007 2:52 PM GMT
    I agree that 1500 calories is probably way too little for a guy your age and activity level. When you're actually hungry, not just craving something, it's a sign you need to eat more. Also, at 5'10" and 163 with a 30 inch waist, you're pretty damn close to what most people consider the ideal weight for a guy your height

    That being said, it's also possible this is a mood thing for you. The fact that you said life seems worthless and dull is a warning sign. I'd say you need to spend more time doing some hobby you enjoy, whatever that hobby happens to be. If you can't come up with a hobby that seems interesting to you these days, that's a major warning sign of a clinical depression, and you may benefit significantly from discussing this with your school's health center, preferably talking to both a nutritionist and a mental health counselor. There's a strong link between physical health, mental health, diet, and activity level, and it can spiral either upward or downward depending on your situation.
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    Jun 22, 2007 4:19 PM GMT
    Not eating enough food will also make you depressed.
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    Jun 22, 2007 8:21 PM GMT
    1500 calories...you are in caloric deficit...you're 19 in great shape, and still growing. I agree with "red" above...no wonder you are hungry. I think you need to plan out your diet during the day to include more healthy snacks between meals.

    Oh, Mike3, I have diverticulosis...and the latest thinking is that converting that over to diverticulitis has nothing to do with nuts and seeds...that went out about five or six years ago. Instead, increasing fiber intake really takes care of the problem, which I have had, by the way, since I was in college. But that is a different thread.
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    Jun 22, 2007 8:37 PM GMT
    I've also heard that eating carbs late at night hinders muscle development, i.e. growth. As it was explained to me, when you eat carbs the body compensates for the rise in glucose by producing insulin. Insulin inhibates the release of the growth producing hormone which is generally released while you sleep. Try to eat a bit more protein at dinner or an hour after you have dinner. This will keep you more satiated.
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    Jun 23, 2007 4:12 AM GMT
    I eat a cup or so of low-sodium cottage cheese before bed. Cottage cheese is primarily casein protein, which is super slow digesting and will 1) encourage your metabolism to keep running slightly higher, and 2) prevent muscle catabolism as you fast (sleep).

    Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein because it forms a “gel” in the gut, which results in a steady release of amino acids into the blood stream over time. Research shows that when you consume casein, you will reach a peak in blood amino acids and protein synthesis between three to four hours. The total release of amino acids in the bloodstream, however, can last as long as 7 hours after ingestion of casein protein!

    So it's a perfect pre-bedtime snack. But can be kind of bland. You get used to it though.
  • 2theTEE

    Posts: 637

    Jun 23, 2007 5:55 AM GMT
    I agree with Enigmatic...it is the perfect pre-bed time snack! Just add some diced orange slices to it and you have yourself a great tasting healthy dessert!
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    Jun 23, 2007 11:12 AM GMT
    I had a problem, an addiction almost, to potato chips in the late evening (and I wondered why I was getting fat). My doctor asked me to switch to air popped popcorn (with a little salt) if I have craving for a snack. It has worked well and as a bonus I am usually quite "regular" the next morning. If I over salt I wake up feeling like I have a hangover though.

    I do tend to operate on instinct rather than counting calories and measuring servings so the above probably wouldn't fit in many people's nutrition plan.

  • Jun 23, 2007 1:33 PM GMT
    I myself have problems eating six meals a day and still eating my last meal 3 hours before bed mostly because I space each meal out by three hours.

    Having an eating pattern like this definitely makes it so that I'm never feeling starved, which really kills the possibility of cheating on my diet. However, it does perpetuate the late night meal, as I'll have one within an hour or two of the time I retire.

    My best advice is similar to much of the advice already given: if you absolutely must have a snack/meal before bed, then try to wean out all of the processed sugars/"bad" carbohydrates. I'll either have something involving a little whole wheat bread, or some brown rice (maybe a sweet potato.)
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    Jun 23, 2007 2:27 PM GMT
    I try not to eat 3 hours before I go to bed and I drink lots of water and that helps. As far as the snacking goes I eat unsalted almonds as a laet night snack.
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    Jun 24, 2007 1:24 AM GMT
    If I'm hungry but don't have time/patience to eat I drink a large glass of water. It'll hold you over for a while, though, it's probably not very healthy to ignore hunger pangs.

    However if you're just having cravings, I find it helpful to drink water, stay active, and distance yourself from food. Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but it keeps the waistline trim too!
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Jun 24, 2007 2:24 AM GMT
    As Redheadguy says,you need to be eating more calories a day;lot`s more!No wonder you`re hungry at night.I`d advise you eat a substantial breakfast,then reduce your meals through the day towards evening.If you`re still hungry,snack on fruit,nuts,etc.Generally,avoid a lot of food in the hours before bedtime.Do you crave any particular foods?It may be a sign you`re deficent in some types of nutrition.Also,maybe you could try other activities at that time to distract you from food,something that really engages your attention,and makes life more fulfilling and exciting.Best of luck!