You come home tired after a long day and grab the first thing you find in the fridge. Heat it up in the microwave and eat it. Did you even pay attention to what you had on your plate? It’s okay to do this every now and again, but it’s important that this kind of eating behavior doesn’t become a habit.
Dinner is an important part of the day. If you’re on a weight loss diet, you know it’s crucial that you don’t skip this meal because it keeps your metabolism active and helps care for your overall health. But it’s also important that you watch what you include on your plate. Some foods are hard to digest this late in the day, while others might keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Are you ready to find out what foods to avoid at night?
1. Red meat
All too often people spend long days away from home and get hungry. You come home ready to make a hearty meal that will provide you with plenty of nutrients and leave you satisfied. That’s why it’s common to make a dinner with meat and vegetables on the side. Steak with garlic sauce, for example – a dish that’s rich in iron and protein.
Is it good for you? Not at all. Consider the following reasons:
- Red meat is high in protein, no doubt, but it’s difficult for the body to digest, causing your stomach to be active for a long time after you go to bed. This might cause trouble sleeping, as well as bloating, gas, or even constipation.
- If you want to have meat in the evenings, try turkey breast instead. If you cook it on the grill with a little lemon juice, it’s even better for your digestive system. Turkey is also a healthy alternative to fattier meats.
We know, everybody loves pizza. It’s easy to make and a quick fix for the last meal of the day. But you probably already know that most pizzas are made with processed flour, are rich in fats, and have lots of calories that will add to your waistline while making the body work harder to digest them.
You might think that having a pizza with lots of vegetables on it will make it healthier, but usually there’s a lot of cheese and spices on it as well, which have a big impact on your stomach. Pizza isn’t a healthy choice for dinner. It’s a much better idea to save those slices for the daytime.
A glass of warm milk is one of those classic things to have before hitting the sack. Because it contains a high amount of tryptophan, it certainly produces a restful feeling. In this case, whether you should drink milk at night really depends on the person. If you’re used to drinking a glass of milk with a little honey, for example, it might be fine for you – but it’s usually not recommended. We’ll explain why:
- Milk and the lactose it contains aren’t easy to digest. There are a lot of people who are lactose intolerant and can’t properly synthesize this animal product. Be careful.
- Milk is also rich in animal protein and calcium, both of which aren’t easily digested right before you go to sleep.
- Warm milk might help you fall asleep more easily, but know that you have other, healthier options. Almond milk, for example, is much more digestible in the last hours before you fall asleep. Give it a try sometime.
4. Lettuce-based salads
What could be healthier than a hearty salad for dinner? Well be careful, this might not be your best option at night. Check out the following reasons why:
- Lettuce is delicious and easy to add to salads, but it has a high insoluble fiber content that can cause gas and bloating during the night.
- Everyone’s body is different. Some people can consume lettuce without any problems in the night, so you should be the one to decide for yourself whether it works for you. But in general, lettuce can cause discomfort. A healthier option is to make a caprese salad using fresh tomatoes.
- Another plant to watch out for at night is celery. It also contains a lot of fiber, and you already know it might not be a good idea to eat a lot of this before you go to bed.
5. Garlic and onion
It’s a good idea to limit yourself to consuming these two in moderation at dinnertime. If you add raw onions or garlic to your dinners you could cause inflammation in your stomach during the final hours of the day, and end up with indigestion.
The same rule applies to very spicy dishes. They’re delicious, but adding hot peppers to your dinner recipe is like swallowing “the sword of Damocles.” It might taste delicious tonight, but tomorrow you’ll probably suffer the consequences.
6. Rice and pasta
- How about some macaroni for dinner? Some nice warm rice? Sometimes you might come home starving and a hearty plate of pasta sounds perfect, but it’s probably not a good idea.
- You should always try to choose more complex carbohydrates from vegetables and greens over rice and pasta.
- If you really like rice and pasta dishes, however, add them to your meals in small quantities. That helps you control how many carbohydrates you consume, because they turn into empty calories that the body doesn’t burn well at night. So if you’re a fan of macaroni, rice, or lasagna, try eating them for lunch instead! Then with just a little exercise or a brisk walk, you can burn off those extra calories.