Integral to anyone’s lifestyle is the time of day you do certain things, like eat. The norm I would suppose is breakfast before 8 AM, lunch around noon, and dinner between 5-7 PM. If you talk to most any dietician, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc., most, if not all, will tell you to avoid eating meals after 7 or 8 PM. If your lifestyle fits the above model, I would recommend that too, simply because your body processes slow down during sleep and when that happens, you are more likely to convert carbs to fat rather than using them up.
But there are millions of us that work shifts and cannot or would not (me), go to bed hungry. There are however, some things you can do that mitigate the damage so to speak.
1. In your late night meal, avoid starches/simple carbs. That is to say keep away from pasta, white bread (including fast food buns), white potatoes (hash browns and fries), and sugary foods of all sorts.
2. Do use plenty of protein. Best sources are turkey, salmon, tuna, and chicken because they have the smallest percentage of fat. The reason for this is pretty simple; your body cannot store protein. So if you give it more than it needs to repair the daily damage it ships the rest out as waste. Plus having all its needs met you are less likely to wake up hungry.
3. If you are not a shift worker but need a snack before bed, think fruit or fiber. Oatmeal, wheat toast, fresh cherries, and grapes are also good night snacks that may actually aid the sleep process.
The Meals: I build my night meals with veggies and meats I like. So while I do occasionally use fish (salmon or tuna), I more often use some of the turkey options I like, and chicken as well. You should know that many of the turkey options I use are in place of beef or pork. This has evolved over the last few months for two reasons. First the economics of turkey; turkey is cheaper than beef or pork.
I do usually have a healthy portion of beef or pork on the weekends when I’m not counting calories. So the second reason is turkey rolls in at around half the calories of either and the turkey products I buy lend themselves to easy calorie counting.
Veggies: I started out using canned veggies, but am transitioning to the frozen veggies because they have a lot less sodium, and I get a half portion more and again it’s easier to figure stuff out when its 4 portions per bag instead of 3.5 portions per can. Additionally, there are more choices in the freezer than in the cans.
Slammer Sausage n Green Beans
1 Pkg (4 Servings) Kroger All Natural Cut Green Beans
½ Pkg (3 Servings) Eckrich Pre Sliced Turkey Smoked Sausage
2 Tsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
In a 1 qt Saucepan empty the green beans first and add water just below halfway to the top of the green beans, add the sausage on top, cover cook on medium high until water is boiling for 2-3 mins. Drain the pot, serve on a plate and garnish with Parmesan Cheese. (475 Cals).
1 Pkg (4 servings) Kroger All Natural Broccoli and Cauliflower
10 ea ( 1 ½ servings) Kroger Meals Made Simple Turkey Meatballs
1 can (2 servings) Kroger Value Mushrooms pieces and stems
Empty contents of Broccoli n Cauliflower and drained mushrooms in 1 qt Saucepan. Fill with water to just below the top of the veggies. Add the Meatballs, cook on Med High approx ten mins (should boil long enough to cook the frozen foods). Drain the Saucepan and serve. (440 Cals)
3 Pepper Salmon Spinach Dinner
1 Pkg (4 Servings) All Natural Cut Leaf Spinach
½ Pkg (2 Servings) All Natural 3 Pepper & Onion blend
1 Pkg 6oz Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
Empty Contents of Spinach and ½ bag of 3 Pepper blend into 1 qt Saucepan, fill with water to just below the veggie line, Empty contents of Salmon Pouch on top and cover and cook for approx 10 mins on Med High. Drain and serve. (350 Cals)
As you can see you get a full plate of food, plus by cooking the meat on top of the veggies much of the fat drains off when you drain the pot but enough lingers to “Butter” the veggies. The variations here are endless. I also use meat rubs to spice things up a bit by putting a pinch or two over the meat in the pot and let it steam down into the veggies.
But the very best part of it all is that it takes a whole 10 mins or so to make your meal. That gives me time to drink a glass of cold water before and I have another one with the meal; I do this at every meal so I only need a couple more glasses of water a day to reach my hydration goal.
Now these combinations can of course be mixed and matched and that gives you 36 variations or more than a whole month of eating from just the above mentioned ingredients.
More of these and some interesting variation using MUFA’s are in the works. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for useful tools as well as some more great recipes. 'Til then WE BE JAMMIN’! All Dayyyy LOOOOOONG!!!!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Hmrjmr1 (author) from Georgia, USA on July 28, 2012:
ME too on the Oatmeal VC, Thanks glad you enjoyed the read.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 28, 2012:
I'm always up for great ideas when it comes to food and dieting. Finding oatmeal on your list of late-night snacks is a big plus for me. I love the stuff. And I love your hub!
Hmrjmr1 (author) from Georgia, USA on October 12, 2011:
Thanks Pop Dittos back at ya! Welcome back.
breakfastpop on October 12, 2011:
Great advice and recipes too. I love it when you write about food!
Hmrjmr1 (author) from Georgia, USA on October 10, 2011:
Jenna Pope from Southern California on October 10, 2011:
Great article! Voted up.