I’m always hungry at night, right before I go to bed. Some misinformed folks still believe that eating on the cusp of a snooze turns the food right into fat. That’s not true, you only pack on the pounds if you are taking in more calories than you expend! However, bedtime snacking shouldn’t be a mindless, free-for-all. Smart sleepers will focus on foods that fuel muscles, keep hunger at bay and maintain blood sugar levels so that the brain doesn’t wake up the body.
Those prone to indigestion and heartburn will want to avoid spicy foods and acidic foods like citrus and tomato sauce and (horrors) chocolate. Sorry, but you’ll also have to put away the Ben & Jerrys; high-fat foods can do a number on your digestive system and are no-no’s for late-night snacking. However, a protein and carb balanced mini-meal of 200-ish calories is the perfect pick and portion for late-night noshing.
In order to satisfy my sweet tooth (and keep from eating a whole share-size bag of M&Ms), I’ve started treating myself to a protein shake or smoothies about an hour before bedtime. For me, it’s an optimal amount of food that doesn’t feel like a brick sitting in my stomach all night. Check out this yummy Caffeine-Free Caramel Apple Tea Smoothie I made with vanilla protein power and my favorite rooibos tea. Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free and contains protective antioxidants, as well as calcium, zinc and other nutrients that are helpful to a runner.
Caffeine-Free Caramel Apple Tea Smoothie Recipe
- 2 teabags Caramel Apple Rooibos Tea (by Republic of Tea)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1.83-oz packet GNC Lean Shake 25 French Vanilla (substitution 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder of choice)
- 1 – 2 packets stevia sweetener, optional (Truvia)
- Ice as needed
- Dash of ground cinnamon
Pour ½ cup boiling water over tea bags, let seep for at least 5 minutes. Drop in an ice cube to cool tea down a bit. In the pitcher of a blender, add tea, almond milk, applesauce, protein powder, stevia (if more sweetness desired) and ice. Blend until smooth. Split among two glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Nutritional Information (approx): calories 171, fat 1.5g, total carbs 16g, protein 14g