Having a nighttime snack before bed is almost a ritual for most people. After a long day at work, you feel that it is well deserved. Also, you do not want to wake up later in the night hungry and probably lose your sleep over it.
However, you may also wonder whether eating that bowl of cereal before bed is good for you. This is a good question because what you eat at night affects your sleep directly as well as your overall health in the long run. Read on to find out whether eating cereal at night is good for you or not.
Answer: Yes, It’s Okay To Eat Cereal In The Evening!
Yes, if you do it right. Eating a bowl of cereal before bed can actually be good for you. It helps you feel fuller and keeps you from waking up hungry in the night. Besides, it can work to regulate your mood and help you sleep better. This is because whole-grain cereal and milk can help with the absorption of the protein tryptophan, which regulates your mood and sleep cycles.
However, you need to watch what type of cereal you eat at night. Most cereals are high in sugar and tend to spike your blood sugar levels which is very bad for sleep and overall health. Eat cereal made of whole grain, free of sugar and additives, and mixed with some milk or water.
Eating healthy cereal at night can also help you to lose weight. This is because unprocessed cereal is low in calories. By substituting dessert for a small bowl of cereal, you will be consuming fewer calories which can help you lose weight over time.
You can even skip supper entirely and instead eat a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk and some fruit. This will keep you feeling full, but the total calorie intake is lower which will help with weight loss in the long run.
Why Do I Crave Cereal At Night?
If you are craving cereal at night, or other high carb / high sugar snacks, there are usually reasons leading directly to it. Understanding why you have that craving is key because then it becomes easier to make healthy choices that will satisfy your needs without compromising on health or quality of life.
The two most common causes of such cravings are stress and hormonal changes. If you lead a stressful lifestyle, this could be the reason why you constantly crave high carb foods like cereal. This is because such foods stimulate the production of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone that helps you feel more relaxed and less anxious, and probably helps you sleep better.
This is why eating a piece of cake or a bowl of cereal when you’re feeling stressed feels great, almost therapeutic. The downside of such foods is that they also cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which in turn stimulates the production of insulin to deal with it. In a few hours, the increased insulin makes you feel hungry again, which develops into a vicious cycle that is very bad for your weight.
What Is The Best Cereal To Eat At Night?
Now that we know that eating cereal at night does not have to be bad for you, we can explore what type of cereal is good for a bedtime snack. Sugar is what causes the cravings, raising your blood sugar levels then leaving you hungry and depressed when it plummets a few hours later. The solution is to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
According to Healthline, the cereal you eat at night will need to free of added sugar, and made of whole grain. For example, a dish of hot whole-grain oatmeal topped with milk works great. It is low in sugar, high in fiber and protein in the milk stabilizes your blood sugar levels for much longer, so that you do not feel hungry for the rest of the night.
You can read through the label of the cereal box to make sure that what you’re having is good for you. The first ingredient should be whole grains. It could be oat, barley, wheat or even rice. You can also look for the GI levels – GI is short for glycemic index and is an indicator of how quickly the food will raise your blood sugar levels. It is used mostly by diabetics, and the lower the GI the better. A GI count of 55 or lower is good for you.
Alternatively, you can make whole-grain cereal yourself by preparing whole grains like rice, oats or barley in advance and freezing them. When you need them, just add some hot milk and a teaspoonful of sugar (has 27 calories only). That way, you know exactly what you’re eating.
Does Eating Cereal Before Bed Help You Lose Weight?
Eating at night is not bad, and there is no scientific evidence for or against the arguments. What you choose to eat is what matters. If you find that you make a lot of bad choices in those nighttime snacks and it’s starting to show on your waistline, then eating healthy cereal will help you lose the extra pounds.
Once again, the key is in the calorie count. You want something that will satisfy you, maintain your blood sugar levels at an optimum but keep the overall calorie count at a minimum. Ditch the cakes, sugar, and processed foods and instead take a bowl of whole-grain cereal. A ¾ cup of that with some milk will typically contain 175 calories, and even if you added a single teaspoon of sugar will not hurt you.
This will keep you from moving to other unhealthy options that lead to weight gain. If you maintain this over time, you will see reap the results. Your blood sugar levels will be more stable, leading to fewer cravings. You will also sleep better and deal better with stress, and the combination of this will help you lose the extra pounds.
It is okay to eat a snack before bedtime, but what you decide to have is what matters. A bowl of healthy whole-grain cereal has a whole range of benefits, chief among them being maintaining your blood sugar levels and preventing cravings. This, in turn, helps you sleep better and is good for your weight.
As a hardworking woman, it is okay to pamper yourself sometimes. Life can be stressful, and it can be tempting to turn to those things that help us feel good. However, it is important to remain on top of things and make healthy food choices.