What to eat at night to lose weight


Nagina Abdullah


February 18, 2019

What to eat at night to lose weight

You’ve been eating really healthy all day, and you feel great! But then later in the evening, you’re craving some kind of late-night munchie. It feels like an almost uncontrollable urge, and you can’t stop it! It can be hard to know if or what to eat at night to lose weight!

Maybe your mouth is watering at the idea of something crunchy, or creamy. You start thinking about the chips you got for that party a while back and hid from yourself in the back of the cupboard.

Or you give into a bowl of delicious Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone ice cream with chocolate syrup on top. Sometimes you cave and open two or three packages of your kids’ snacks (maybe goldfish?) because you need something now and they’re so convenient.

Or maybe, you have just enough of an empty stomach that it feels uncomfortable. And you know by the time you lie down in bed, your stomach could even be growling, and you might even have trouble falling to sleep.

It’s a good idea to eat enough at dinner so that you’re satisfied but not overly stuffed. If you’re too full, it could mess with your sleep and make you wake feeling bloated and wanting to skip breakfast.

But if you had dinner and find yourself hungry later before bed, it’s okay and even good to quiet your tummy and help you relax.

In this post, I’ll tell you:

  • Specific foods to eat and specific foods not to eat before bed
  • Which vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to look for in your late-night snacks to help you lose weight while feeling satisfied all night
  • Exact powerful food combinations to satisfy your late-night cravings WHILE boosting weight loss
  • Which foods you MUST avoid right before bed so you don’t have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night

What to eat at night to lose weight

Indulge in Flavorful Teas That Soothe and Calm

This first to thing ask is, “Am I actually feeling hungry? Is my tummy truly rumbling in hunger? Or am I craving comfort?” Sometimes I’m not actually hungry, I just want to be soothed.

So, I treat myself to something else like a bath, a facial mask, and cucumbers on the eyes while listening to music, a nice cup of turmeric tea, cinnamon tea, or herbal tea.

Herbal and spiced teas are the perfect way to unwind and enjoy a nice vibrant flavor at night without taking in ANY extra calories,

They can soothe your body and mind, and can actually give your metabolism a little boost too.

But when I truly do need to give my tummy a little something to chew on so I can sleep, I have foods that will help me lose weight while I sleep.

First of all, it’s good to know the kinds of food that support both sleep and weight loss.

Slow burning carbs and lean protein are the best overall answer to what to eat at night to lose weight. (1)

Some of the nutrients you’re looking for to support sleep and weight loss are

  • Magnesium
  • Tryptophan

  • Niacin

  • Fiber

Make sure that you keep your late night snack around 200 calories. It should be snack-sized, not a full plate of food. (1)

Let’s go through specific foods to eat and specific foods not to eat before bed.

Get my FREE Snack Framework PDF with snack ideas, serving size amounts, calories, and grams of protein and fiber to aim for.

Foods to eat before bed to lose weight

Coconut Oil to Cure Cravings Before They Hit

Coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids (2), which are metabolized differently from most other fats known as long-chain fatty acids.

Because of their unique structure, coconut molecules help increase fat burning and help reduce hunger (3). In fact, eating coconut oil has been shown to burn an extra 5% or 120 calories! (4)

Obviously, that makes coconut oil good to have around late at night when you need to be satisfied, but still, want to burn calories. It keeps you satiated but doesn’t feel heavy and translates to extra fat on your body.

Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over your dinner so that you will feel full and won’t even crave any late-night snacks.

Or for a late-night snack, you can add 1/2 – 1 tablespoon to a berry and almond-milk or a green smoothie, or even have a piece of high fiber toast with coconut oil and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or kefir

These are all high in lean protein 5, which is great for satisfying you without getting overly full.

The casein protein in cottage cheese has even been shown to help produce fat loss while you sleep in studies. (6)

Protein helps your body repair and build muscles while you sleep, which helps you burn more fat while you’re awake. (7) All dairy has tryptophan, which helps relax you so you start to feel sleepy more easily. (8)

I recently went to the Time, Inc. studios in NYC and talked with Health.com producer, Kate Santichen, to share my delicious recipe to beat the late-night munchies. It is quick, easy, tasty and really helps to control cravings late at night! This healthy treat tastes just like Grandma’s apple pie.

I shared my popular “Grandma’s Healthy Apple Pie” late-night snack recipe at Time Inc. Studios. You get protein from the cottage cheese and the cinnamon mimics sweetness, without actually being a sugar! You get the sweet, apple-pie taste while not feeling guilty. Get the recipe by watching the video below!

This recipe personally helped me on my 40-pound weight loss journey. I know how difficult it can be to find delicious desserts that are low in calories and sugar, yet high in protein.

Watch my professional cooking video above which shows me at the Time, Inc. studios in NYC to find out:

  • How this dessert helps your body not to store fat!
  • Why spices make a difference in losing weight and maintaining it.
  • How this dessert beats the late-night munchies

With this healthier option, you have a perfect option instead of snacking on ice-cream, chocolate or cookies when those late-night munchies hit!

1 – 2 tablespoons peanut, almond or other nut or seed butter

Peanut butter is smooth (or crunchy) and soothing to eat in more than one way. It contains tryptophan which eases you into sleep.

Have it alone with a spoon or spread it on a piece of sprouted grain toast like Ezekiel Bread or high-fiber toast for vitamin B, which helps your body absorb the tryptophan. (4)

Just make sure you stick to the serving size. Quantity is important with peanut butter because it’s dense with calories, so 1-2 tablespoons are very satisfying without adding unnecessary additional calories.

1 – 2 tablespoons of almonds or pistachios

Nuts are high in healthy fats (9) and satisfy with a nice crunch. Plus they have niacin, a B vitamin that reduces anxiety. That’s great when it’s time to unwind from the day! (10)

Make sure you get them unsalted and unsweetened to make sure you get all the benefits with no extra sodium or sugar.

And even though they have healthy fat, you still don’t want to overdo it. Make sure you only have the recommended 1 – 2 Tablespoons.

Canned tuna, smoked salmon, white turkey meat

These are all lean protein sources which means they are high in protein and low in calories. Protein digests more slowly and burns calories while it’s digesting, so it will keep you satisfied for longer. (11)

The fish have lots of healthy Omega 3s that burn belly fat and help your body heal. Salmon has the most Omega 3s and is really convenient to eat as smoked salmon.

Tuna doesn’t have as much, but there’s some and it’s really convenient. Sardines are another great source of Omega 3s. (13)

And there’s relaxing tryptophan in the turkey. It’s exactly what to eat at night to lose weight! (14)

You can enjoy any of these lean meats alone, on light high-fiber crackers, or even on a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread or other high-fiber bread.

So many of these foods are perfect for targeting belly fat! Check out these posts for more on belly fat burning foods and exercises.

Belly Fat Busters! 5 Mouth-Watering Belly Fat-Burning Foods

How to Burn Belly Fat Fast: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What Exercises to Do

Are You an Apple or a Pear? What to Eat to Lose Belly Fat

Beautiful Blueberry Smoothie, or another cool berry smoothie

Berries are a sweet dose of vitamins that satisfy the sweet tooth. (15) Add greek yogurt or protein powder for a filling pa.

If you can’t run the blender because everyone else is asleep, sometimes I like to just enjoy a half a cup of frozen berries on their own. It’s like having sweet, handy little popsicles!

what to eat at night to lose weight
Try the low sugar blueberry smoothie or the cinnamon carrot cake smoothie in this post!

Crisp apple with almond butter or smoked salmon

An excellent answer to what to eat at night to lose weight, apples are a great source or sweet crispy fiber.

You only need half of a large apple or one small apple. Pair it with a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter for a protein that slows digestion so the natural sugars in the apple doesn’t get stored as fat.

Or if you’d like a more savory version, try half an apple with smoked salmon, tuna, or turkey for a dose of protein and Omega 3s!

High fiber cereal or whole grain bread (like Ezekiel Bread)

Get your dose of fiber and Vitamin B with Ezekiel bread, and add tryptophan and magnesium if you have the cereal with unsweetened almond milk. (16)

Foods to avoid right before bed for best sleep and weight loss

Just as important as knowing what to eat at night to lose weight, you also need to know what not to eat at night.

When foods interfere with your sleep, it can do the opposite and cause you to gain weight.

This is because good quality sleep is important to help support your body’s fat burning, help avoid cravings, and more.

Obviously, anything with caffeine isn’t a great idea. It could keep you awake or make you wake up in a few hours. Alcohol can do this too. (17)

What to eat at night to lose weight
I replaced wine and my second daily cup of coffee with this turmeric tea and now I sleep SO much better!

Other foods that could keep you up or wake you up are very spicy foods or very sugary foods. The spices could cause heartburn if you’re susceptible to it. The sugary foods might wake you up for the same reasons wine would. (18)

What foods help you doze off more easily? Have you noticed any foods that interfere with your sleep? Let me know in the comments!

Here’s an easy way to remember the best snacks for weight loss. Get my FREE Snacks Framework to have an easy reference for the healthy, filling snacks.

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Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

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