To be honest, I don’t really get that hungry after dinner anymore. I don’t get cravings as I always make sure I am eating enough throughout the day and that I am eating a well-balanced diet.
Sometimes I may eat some Greek yoghurt with berries or some almonds or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter.
Every now and then I will also have some dark chocolate and I do that guilt-free! The way that I eat these days is very different in that I never deprive myself of anything or take out any food groups. Back in my competing days this wasn’t the case and I always craved things and had no self-control when it came to eating a treat meal. I like to eat well 80 per cent of the time and the other 20 per cent of the time I eat what I like, I still like to eat as healthily as possible though, as my body and energy levels just feel so much better for it!
Generally I don’t snack late at night because I eat enough during the day. I used to suffer from waking up hungry during the night, but I quickly worked out that if I eat enough during the day I am fine. I also realised that this was simply a learned behaviour rather than a need and the last thing you want to do is train your body to expect a meal at that time of night.
I make sure I follow my 7 Rules for Success which includes protein at every meal, lots of leafy green veggies and HEAPS of water. If you are legitimately hungry at night, have a glass of water first and reassess. If you need food, then a protein shake is always a good option.
If I feel like something sweet, I will make an almond meal pancake (one yolk and three egg whites, 30g almond meal, stevia, cinnamon and vanilla to taste).
If I want chocolate, I will have two to three squares of 90 per cent dark chocolate. If I have been training at night or in the afternoon, I will have some rice cakes or a piece of fruit.
I’m not as anal as I used to be, before I would ignore the signs of hunger and just go to bed only to have an awful night sleep. These days I listen to my body and allow myself something small and satisfying. I’m not scared to consume carbohydrates at night anymore either! If it’s great, clean food then it’s not going to store as fat, it actually helps you have a better night sleep, allowing you to get the recovery you need for a brilliant workout the next day.
I have a couple of late night snacks that get me through comp prep. Depending on my mood, it could be Greek yoghurt mixed with cookies and cream protein powder – pop it in the freezer for about half an hour and you’ve got yourself a frozen yoghurt. You can even get a little inventive and mix through some berries and chia seeds.
I also like to mix an egg white and a dash of almond milk with some protein powder and then cook it up as a pancake and melt a square of 85 per cent dark chocolate as a topping. Both these options are totally guilt-free, easy to include in your meal plan if you’re competing and super tasty. Even though they are late night snacks, I always make sure I wait a minimum of an hour and a half before going to bed afterwards.
I have a simple rule for maintaining my ideal weight – never go too long without eating. This keeps my blood-sugar levels steady so I always enjoy good fats and protein at every meal. Before bed I always have my beloved natural, organic protein shake with a raw organic egg yolk and sometimes a spoonful of goat yoghurt too – then I sleep like a baby!
I believe in optimal nutrition and going to bed on amino acids (protein), good fats (from the egg yolk) and a million or so good bacteria (from the goat yoghurt) provides my body the repair and renewal it needs while I’m at rest. I really like the taste too, which is a bonus!
When we sleep our body naturally releases HGH (human growth hormone) which is our ‘youth hormone’ and the amino acids in the protein shake and egg yolk encourage boosting this hormone even further. On the other hand, too many carbs promote high insulin levels which inhibit HGH production. As sleep and protein promote HGH, I make good use of them. Plus, the protein and fats ensure I sleep well while feeling satiated through the night.
I am a big fan of coconut oil! Sometimes I’ll just have a teaspoon of coconut oil dipped in stevia powder to satisfy any cravings. I also enjoy having sweet potato and grass-fed butter before bed as the carbs induce sleep. Carbs are associated with a release of the neurotransmitter serotonin and serotonin is linked to the onset of sleep. Another option is organic dark chocolate – just 30g does the trick.