Eating before bed can seem like a no-no for most people, especially for weight loss. However, just because you eat something before bed, it doesn’t mean it’s going to turn into fat. There are many factors that go into what happens to food if you eat it right before bed time. One of the biggest factors is what did you eat the rest of the day?
Cereal can be a quick, easy snack that can seem comforting at any time of the day. However, not all cereal is created equal, so the type of cereal and milk will really impact how your body handles it. The amount of cereal is also an important consideration. Your serving should be a snack size not a full bowl.
What’s the sugar content?
Eating complex carbohydrates that have fiber can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Keeping blood sugar levels constant is important for risk for diabetes and could also impact the quality of your sleep.
Eating high sugar content foods could increase the chances that food can get stored in fat cells.
Watch the sugar content of the milk you choose too. Some plant based milks can have a lot of simple carbohydrates.
How much fiber?
Just like the sugar content, the amount of fiber is important. Higher fiber cereals can mean slower digestion process and steady blood sugar levels.
Choose a cereal that is made from whole grains for a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A cereal that provides greater than or equal to 3 grams would be something to look for.
What did you eat the rest of the day?
Maybe the most important question when assessing if you should or shouldn’t eat some cereal before bed is what did you eat the rest of the day. What you eat right before bed may not make or break your weight loss, but what you eat the whole day is important.
Your body is constantly using energy for repair, fuel muscles, send nerve signals, digest food, etc. What you eat throughout the whole day influences whether your body stores energy or uses it for fuel, not just what you eat right before bed.
If you’ve already had a fair amount of sugar, steer clear of choosing a sugary cereal before bed. If you’ve eaten really healthy for the day, why ruin it by eating a sugar loaded cereal snack?
Are you hungry?
Why do you want to eat the snack before bed? If you’re hungry, it makes sense, and eating a snack to take the hunger edge off can actually help you sleep. If you aren’t hungry and just want to munch on something, chances are you probably don’t need to eat anything, it’s just a mental appetite.
See also: Is it bad to go to bed hungry?
If you have a consistent habit of eating something before bed, trying eating more through the day so you aren’t as hungry later at night.
If you just did a hard workout later at night, eating something with some complex carbohydrates and protein can help refuel your muscles. In this instance, eating something like a serving of cereal with milk could be beneficial.
Are you eating breakfast?
If you wake up in the morning with no appetite because you ate too much the night before, try reversing it. Eating more earlier through the day and less late at night could be helpful for weight loss especially if you are prone to over doing late night snacking.
Eating most of your calories in the evening and at night is associated with having a higher body mass index according to a 2007 study. If eating a snack of cereal will lead you to keep eating at night, don’t do it.
Eating cereal before bed could go either way: it could be fine or it could be bad. The type of cereal and milk you’re using is important.
If you eat cereal before bed, make sure it has a low sugar and a high fiber content. Serving size is an issue, and it’s easy to go overboard on cereal. Measure out your servings to avoid going heavy handed on the portion size.
Take into consideration what you ate the rest of the day. If you had some splurges already, maybe you don’t need the cereal before bed.
If you ate really healthy the whole day, keep it up and choose a healthy option for a cereal snack.
If you had a hard workout and are hungry, having some complex carbohydrates with protein can help rebuild the muscles.
However, if you’ve been sitting on the couch since dinner, you probably don’t need the extra energy before bed.
If eating a snack of cereal will lead to more eating at night, skip the cereal snack. Eating most of your calories at night isn’t the best for your waistline.