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Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

If you eat dinner between 6-7:30pm and are still up by 11pm, chances are you’ll be hungry again before bed. Contrary to popular belief, eating at night doesn’t lead to weight gain. It’s all about caloric intake versus caloric expenditure over the whole day, not just at 10:30pm. Despite these facts, there are still some bedtime snack options that should be put to rest.

1. Cereal
This tends to be the most popular choice for people when they can’t sleep. Not all cereals are bad choices. However, if it’s a high-sugar, low-fiber one, you’re best to keep it in the cabinet. Cereals like this will raise hell with your blood sugar. You’re more likely to wake up the next morning starving due to the over-production of insulin the sugar creates. Go with some non/low-fat Greek yogurt on top of a whole-grain, high-fiber cereal instead. Remember you can’t ever go wrong with a low-sugar, high protein snack.

2. Mexican or Thai Food
We love all those spices and authentic flavorings. However, all those spicy flavors can actually keep you from falling asleep. Plus many of these foods tend to be high in fat and calories. You don’t want to sabotage a whole day of clean eating with this choice, not to mention the heartburn that may ensue. Try a small quesadilla on the skillet using corn tortillas, low-fat cheese and cooking spray.

3. Cheeseburger and Fries
It had its time and place when we were undergrads, but unfortunately that time has passedL. Greasy, heavy foods of course are high in calories and fat. They also take longer to digest, often making us feel tired and sluggish the next morning. Burgers, pizza and fast-food Chinese are all bad choices. Opt for the small turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread instead. Your stomach will thank you in the morning.

4. Chocolate
Yes, we all know this one is high in calories and sugar. Don’t forget about the caffeine though, as it can contribute to restless sleep. It’s not a filling snack either, so if you crave it, it’s easy to overeat….don’t let that sweet tooth get the best of you! Try hot tea or even a glass of low-fat chocolate milk. If you need something more filling, lean towards a graham cracker with one tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread or other nut butter and a ½ cup of milk.

5. Soda
I saved the best for last. Caffeinated or non-caffeinated, this has got to be worst choice if you’re looking to maintain lean body mass and not gain bad weight, ANY time of day. It’s at the top of the list for added sugar and empty calories (really bad combination). Even sugar-free diet sodas can keep you awake at night. The carbonation may lead to heartburn and can upset your stomach. Go with fat-free or low-fat milk, hot tea or water instead.