When attempting to lose weight, dieters will not only need to construct a diet plan they’ll also need to think about each and every meal or snack, especially if they are trying to stick to a specific calorie intake. I have found some people struggle when it comes to selecting a good choice for the last meal of the day.
Some of the ideas you may hear are:
- don’t eat after 8pm
- don’t eat certain food items before bed
- the last meal should contain specific nutrients or a specific combination of the macro-nutrients
Listening to all the many “rules” about what we should or shouldn’t eat can be very confusing for anyone trying to lose weight.
The last meal can be important to get it right in order to lose fat stores. The correct choice is important because before sleep the body’s metabolism slows down and we burn fewer calories. The body is also at a point where many nutrient-storing enzymes are active, this means that food high in fats, or even essential oils can cause them to be stored in fat cells. Even a meal composed mostly of carbs with little or no fat can cause some of the sugar to be converted to fat for storage. Another problem is if the meal has a high G.I. (glycemic index) it releases insulin and causes the cells to take up any fat present in the meal.
The last meal may change from day to day depending on what you’ve done or even what you’ve eaten during the day. What could be considered a “bad” choice may be “ok” one day if there is a change in the nutritional status of the body. Here we will provide some guidelines as to what would make a suitable last meal that helps limit any fat storage.
Some guidelines as to what the last meal should be made up of:
- Natural, wholesome foods
- Low Glycemic index food
- Low in fat
- Low in calories
- High quality protein, up to 35 grams
- Low in sodium
- High in nutrients
If you’ve been working out intensely during the day, then you may be able to get away with a snack higher in calories. If you’ve not eaten much during the day then maybe try eating more of a high quality protein meal to help replenish any muscle protein.
In any case, I believe the last meal should still contain low G.I. foods or maybe even contain no carbs.
Some sample meals and snacks I may include as my last meal:<
- Fruit such as pear, plum, apple or prunes
- Low-fat yoghurt with cherries
- Tuna salad
- All-Bran or Muesli with skimmed milk
- Fettuccine (pasta) with tuna -not alfredo pasta!
- Lean chicken breast (small portion) with sweet potato
- Fresh fish with broccoli, cabbage and green peas
To help keep calories low try to only have small portions. In the example of a meal lean chicken with sweet potato try cooking then simply split the quantity into two or three meals and snacks. This way you can eat little and often but still have a low calorie, low fat, and low G.I. meal.
The listed foods above may not be the best for everyone, it may be best to think about your personal food preferences. Remember to omit foods which you may cause an allergic reaction!