Wondering what to eat after a late evening workout session? Here are 7 foods that are safe to have before retiring for a good night’s sleep.
There are several opinions about the connection between eating late in the evening and weight gain. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Weight Control Information Network, the time of day does not matter. Weight gain (or loss) depends on how much you eat, what you eat as well as the amount of physical activity you get during the day. This is why having a light meal after a workout in the evening should not cause you any harm.
In fact, you can actually benefit from a having a late night post workout meal! This is because after an intense workout, your muscle fibres and connective tissue sustain microscopic tears. With proper nutrition, hydration and sleep, these tears will heal and develop into stronger, bigger muscles. Forgoing meals can leave you weaker, vulnerable to injuries, and prone to sleep problems. Need some ideas on what foods are safe to eat at night? Read on and find out.
With a higher protein-to-fat ratio – 19:1 — than any other part of the chicken, chicken breast is a great source of lean protein and it’s the most common muscle-building food. One large chicken breast will give you your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of niacin also known as vitamin B3. This will help your body produce energy from all the foods you eat and keep both your nervous and digestive system healthy.
Incorporating chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, to your light meals will help keep your hunger in check, in the middle of the night because they are a significant source of fibre. Chickpeas also provide high level of proteins – a cup of cooked chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein and is perfect for muscle recovery.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, amino acid in cottage cheese or glutamine, is particularly valuable in helping the body recover after a heavy workout. Additionally, cottage cheese is an optimal choice after an evening’s sweat session and as a light snack before bedtime because it is low in calories and contains a high amount of casein – a slow digestive dairy protein that can help keep your body in an anabolic state. This will allow your muscle tissues to utilise energy from nutrients from food for growth and maintenance.
Having oatmeal after an evening workout is ideal. It is a great complex carb and this will help restore and rebuild muscle tissues that were torn during a workout. It also boosts energy. Oatmeal is also a natural source of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. This means it is great for those who have difficulties falling asleep. The added bonus? One cup of cooked oatmeal only has 166 calories!
Salmon is known for its omega-3 fatty acids which lower elevated triglyceride levels and it also aids rapid post workout recovery. With 22 grams of high quality protein per 85 grams, salmon provides the building blocks your body needs to re-synthesize the muscle tissue after a tough workout. On top of that, salmon contains vitamin D, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 which will helps increase energy and strength.
Bursting with vitamins and minerals, spinach is a versatile vegetable that is just as nutritious whether it’s fresh or frozen. Rich in chlorophyll, spinach is great at lowering muscle inflammation. It contains B vitamins that can enhance your metabolic rate and a large dose of plant-based iron to support your energy and recovery even further. This leafy green is also an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that’s essential for muscle development.
Tofu is yet another great post workout option to add to your plate. Made out of dried soybeans, tofu is a plant-based protein source. Abundant with unsaturated fats (good fats) – 16.8 grams per cup — tofu helps increase blood flow in your arteries. This will increase the flow of anti-inflammatory agents to working muscles, which allows quicker recovery from the evening’s workout.
With a large selection of fresh foods to choose from at the supermarket, you won’t run out of ideas on what to feed your body in order to replenish nutrients. Remember to drink lots of water after your workouts and always be mindful of what you consume, particularly if you’re having a late evening meal.
Foods to Avoid
Prepping light post workout meals can be a piece of cake but what you really don’t want, is to indulge in foods that will not act as an healthy fuel for your body. Here’s a list of foods you should stay away from, especially before bedtime.
- Salty snacks that are high in sodium. You need sodium to regulate a number of key functions in your body but much can cause water retention, dehydration and hypertension.
- Sugary products and carbonated drinks. Additional sugar intake will slow your metabolism and the gas from carbonated drinks will result in bloating. This can cause you discomfort while you are asleep.
- Fatty foods such as fast foods and oily foods. Unlike healthy fats such as unsaturated fats that will aid in muscle recovery, unhealthy fatty foods will leave you feeling sluggish after consumption. They also increase your bad cholesterol levels.