Let’s bust the myth right now that you shouldn’t eat past 8 p.m. And that carbs at night make you fat.
A bedtime snack can actually help you sleep better, repair your muscles and make you LOSE fat in the long run.
Going to bed hungry can shorten your sleep cycle, meaning you won’t sleep as soundly as you do with adequate food.
Bedtime snacks are also a great idea for people who work out really early in the morning and don’t want to —or don’t like to — eat before they train.
Nutrient timing is important. But if you follow a flexible dieting plan and have food left at night don’t be afraid to have some fast-digesting carbs as part of your snack.
Things like berries or cereal (if you eat that) are fine if they fit within your overall goals.
A really, really good option —no matter what type of nutrition program you follow —to consider at night is casein protein. Casein is a great bedtime snack (and meal replacement) due to its slow release.
For that very reason, it’s not a good post workout, when you need a protein like whey that will immediately hit your bloodstream.
Casein slowly works its way through your bloodstream and helps your body repair at night. An easy go-to is a frozen banana, scoop of chocolate casein and a serving of peanut butter thrown in the blender to make a makeshift ice cream.
Casein pudding, which involves mixing casein with water and some milk and putting it in the fridge to form, is another really easy and popular idea.
(For easy pre/post workout ideas, see this article.)
While some fat is OK at bedtime, you don’t want to go overboard with it.
A serving or two with the rest of your snack is one thing. Having a cheeseburger with bacon an hour before going to bed is another.
Guys can get away with more fat than girls, and an athlete on a weight cut may find that they don’t have enough food left for a bedtime snack the way their diet is structured.
That’s OK in the short-term (and you shouldn’t eating to a deficit long-term anyways) as most of your calories/carbs will be around workouts. But for the average athlete, going to bed starving is just setting yourself up for a poor training day.
Keep in mind, you are an athlete that trains and fuels. You don’t diet and exercise.