“Will nighttime eating make me gain weight?”
The brief answer is no.
Calories eaten at night will not necessarily make you gain weight, unless they exceed the amount of calories you need for the day. But whether you eat 500 calories at 6pm or 9pm it’s the same.
However, there is a reason a lot of diets propose no eating after a certain time, whether that’s 7 or 8pm. The reason for this is that it helps you close down the kitchen and stop endless snacking at night. However, dinner by 7pm is not realistic for everyone, specifically my busy Manhattan clients who are often working much later than 7 or 8pm!
If you don’t get home till 9pm, does that mean you should skip dinner?
Here’s why it’s helpful not to eat late at night:
- You are usually not as hungry at 6pm vs 8/9pm for dinner, so it’s easier to keep portions in control.
- If you close the kitchen, you’re not allowing for mindless late night snacking which can add up to hundreds of calories.
- You’re not eating right before bed which can keep you up at night.
- You will be less likely to give in to cravings.
- You will keep your metabolism going, by not waiting long periods of time between lunch & dinner.
If it’s not possible for you to eat an early dinner, then consider these tips:
- Have one or two afternoon snacks.
- If you eat lunch at 12pm and dinner is not until 9pm. Then have a small snack around 3pm and again at 6pm. This will prevent you from being ravenous later on and making a poor decision.
- Consider a small dinner – make portions smaller, especially if you are snacking more in the afternoon.
- It’s smart to fuel yourself really well during the day when you need the energy and have a small light dinner.
- Some good options: egg white veggie omelet with whole grain bread, lentil soup and salad, baked sweet potato topped with vegetarian chili, salad with grilled chicken, grilled fish with roasted vegetables.
What time do you eat dinner?