What to eat before bed to lose weight

Updated February 21, 2017

Regardless of how much exercise you put in each day, losing weight may continue to be a struggle if you don't alter your eating habits. One common diet “sin” that many people trying to lose weight commit is indulging in a late-night snack. And while eating before bedtime is not always a hindrance to weight loss, it can be if you make unhealthy food choices.

The Problem

Many of the foods that people choose to snack on before bed have high calorie contents, such as ice cream, cake and cookies. As the fitness resource website Critical Bench notes, if you have already consumed the total number of calories that your body needs for the day, your body will store the extra calories from your late-night snack as fat. Eating high-calorie foods increases your chances of going over this daily calorie limit.

The Solution

Finding the willpower to leave the ice cream in the freezer and the cookies in the cabinet can be a challenge. That is why Critical Bench recommends ridding your home of these high-calorie foods and others like them. Replace all of your go-to bedtime snack items with healthier choices such as cottage cheese, pretzels, fat-free yoghurt and fruit. By only eating low-calorie foods before bed, you can help prevent your body from storing fat.


Some people are under the impression that eating any type of food before bed, or more specifically after 8pm, will automatically trigger weight gain. As the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) notes, this notion is a complete myth. The time at which you eat is irrelevant when it comes to fat production and weight gain. What is important, as mentioned earlier, is how many total calories you have eaten during the day and how much physical activity you have completed to counteract those calories.

Benefits of Eating Before Bed

When you go to sleep, your body gets to work repairing cells and tissues. It does this by using nutrients such as protein. According to Critical Bench, by eating a snack before bed, you can provide your body with extra nutrients to facilitate its rejuvenation. Otherwise, if you eat dinner as your last meal, which is often around 6 or 7pm, there will be a substantially longer amount of time between the last time your body receives nutrients and when it can get more: breakfast.


WIN recommends that you avoid eating your late-night snack in front of a television. This is because programming can be distracting and facilitate overeating. It is also best to avoid eating heavy foods, such as meat or cheeses, immediately before bed, since their digestion may interfere with your ability to sleep well or lead to gas and bloating in the morning.

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About the Author

Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.