Reader’s Request: Breakfast Before Bed

Hey everyone! How’s your day been?? Mine has been bueno.. I’m starting to get excited/nervous to see a certain someone 😉

When I asked for some reader’s request ideas, the inbox was flooded with wonderful suggestions (thank you!). I couldn’t believe how many of you had questions about fitness fueling and how/why I’ve been eating breakfast before bed lately. So that’s the theme for today’s reader’s request post 😀

fork1  (Source)

I’m going to go ahead and contradict a very popular myth by saying

A snack before bed is a GOOD idea.


(Yes, my husband is a seksi man. And Viesa has a crush on him)

That is, *most of us* need to eat a little sumthin’ sumthin’ before bed. If your lifestyle is pretty sedentary, by working a desk job and don’t exercise at all, the extra snack is just extra calories which won’t be converted and burned as energy  —— > weight gain.

If you’re active, especially if you lift weights, a little healthy snack before bed (including protein) is a good idea 🙂

Here are the reasons why:

– If you lift weights, chances are that you have more lean muscle. Lean muscle burns more calories at rest, even when you’re sleeping

– While we sleep at night, our metabolism is still cranking away, even though the only active thing we may be doing is sawing logs 😉 As we sleep, our body continues to burn carbs, fat and protein, in that order

– Burning carbs is great, burning fat is fantastic, but if we have no stored protein (from food) our body will go after precious lean muscle, which keeps us “toned” and healthy, as excess body fat can lead to a bunch of health problemos

– Having a snack with protein can help to keep our body from burning muscle during the night

– A snack before bed is also a great choice if you have early AM workout seshes and can’t digest an AM breakfast before working out

– If you don’t have a snack at night before bed, and workout in the morning on an empty stomach, chances are that your workout will be burning muscle instead of fat and carbs

If you can stand to eat breakfast before you work out in the morning (or if you work out later in the afternoon), just have a small protein-rich snack at night and your regular breakfast in the morning. A great example for this would be a piece of cheese, a small protein smoothie or a couple of egg whites.


If you don’t have time or can’t digest a full breakfast before you work out in the morning, have a regular breakfast (mostly carbs, with protein and healthy fat) before you go to sleep. Examples: oats + protein powder + nut butter, nut butter + banana + whole grain bread or bagel, protein smoothie with fruit, cereal + flax + protein powder, omelet + salad, energy bar with protein, etc.


If your AM workout consists of weight training, have a protein-rich snack within 30-60 minutes after your workout to help your muscles re-build and recover.



If you’re doing some crazy AM cardio (no weights or strength training), carbs + electrolytes are the focus (and of course you want a little protein and healthy fat, too)

coco water  (or fruit/juice)


oats  (oats/cereal/bagel/bread)

*Note: As always, check with a doc before making any lifestyle/fitness/eating changes.

Before I started doing Insanity, I could do an AM half-breakfast. I’d have a smaller breakfast of oats, millet with something on it or a bar, and then do my workout and have the rest of my breakfast (usually a smoothie for protein) afterwards. Our AM workouts used to be mostly weights (not so much cardio since I teach at night, or would run/yoga), so there wasn’t any hardcore cardio or jumping around in the morning. Insanity is a LOT of jumping and serious cardio, which is why I couldn’t stomach breakfast before our workouts anymore. Having breakfast before bed and a smoothie after Insanity has been *working out* really well 😀

Have you tried the breakfast/snack before bed thang? Think you’ll give it a whirl?

What are your favorite pre-workout and post-workout feasts?

I’m off to get ready to see the pilot.. I’m nervous 🙂 Be back in the morning with some awesome photos.



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  1. Heather (Heather's Dish) on May 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    i’ve never eaten right before bed on purpose…it’s usually because it’s been a long day and i just ended up doing it 🙂 pre-workout is usually some nuts and dried fruit, and post-workout is something like a hummus wrap. YUM!

  2. MakinItAllAboutMe McGee on May 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    LOVE all of your advice as usual.
    and totally agree.
    I have a weird schedule (I am early to bed. way. like ben franklin :))but have a snack before bed ALWAYS (typically a protein shake just because I adore my protein shake. I make it and freeze it and eat like ice cream with a spoon. #nerdalert).
    I get up early (4) and work for an hour then do thirty min of cardio on an empty stomach mainly because Im in a hurry.
    After that I eateateat.

    I can do the cardio that way but could never lift without eating a regular breakfast first.
    Even a shake wouldnt hold me long enough.


    I thought so 🙂


  3. Ellen on May 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Ohh great idea! I have never had breakfast before bed. (Unless eating breakfast for dinner counts!) I usually just have a handful of cereal before I workout in the am and then have my real breakfast after. Apparently I’m not fueling ENOUGH! Thanks for the info 🙂

  4. Allison @ Food For Healing on May 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    i’ve always gotta have a little somethin’ somethin’ before bed; usually yogurt or cereal. My boyfriend HAS to eat before bed, he can’t sleep if he is hungry at all, its kind of crazy but you gotta do what you gotta do! And it definitely isn’t making him fat, he’s been losing weight

  5. Jenny on May 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I definetly utilize these tips, because I always exercise in the am!

    Ps- yay for the pilot!

  6. Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle on May 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    All really good points- always keeping us on our toes! I can’t fall asleep if I’m hungry (though there was a point in life where I did this way too much) so I usually had something not too long before bed. I just shifted my running to the AM and get up SOooo early to eat so I should try something more substantial at night. On long run days I get up at 4 AM, eat, and go back to sleep for an hour or two!

  7. on May 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    i think i might like to try that. im worried my body will be like WHAT IS GOING ON! but it might be a neat little experiment. thanks!

  8. allison @ livingoneday on May 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    thanks!! this was helpful! when i used to go to field hockey camp, the thought of food in the morning was nauseating! but i couldnt very well work out on an empty stomach. i’m not a very early eater anyways, so this was difficult. have fun seeing the pilottttt!!!!! we’re all so excited for ya!

  9. Cat on May 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    What’s the timing of all this? Like when do you have dinner? I think eat fairly late typically, so I wouldn’t even be hungry before I go to bed. I also don’t have probs with digesting snacks before working out, so I think I will stick to that, but I’m definitely intrigued by the idea.

  10. Gracie @ Girl Meets Health on May 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve always had some sort of snack before bed, and because breakfast foods are my favorite, it’s typically of that sort! i.e. a bowl of cereal, greek yogurt with cocoa powder (aka “chocolate mousse”) or a peanut-butter-filled wrap (which…I’m eating as we speak :D)

  11. Madison on May 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I am a big fan of eating the night before my long runs instead of a meal the morning of my runs. I normally cannot stand to run with food in my stomach so eating the night before has worked nicely for me.

  12. Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) on May 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Love all your advice! I don’t normally workout until 9:45 or later (gotta take the kiddos to school first) so I eat a normal breakfast around 8:00 and that works for me. I usually eat dinner a little early like 5:30 or 6 so sometimes by 8PM, I need a little snack. Other than that, I don’t normally eat before bed.

  13. Nicole @ Making Good Choices on May 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    I haven’t tried breakfast before bed, I’ve never even thought to do it at all honestly. If I am doing a cardio early AM workout session I’ll usually have a tiny piece of a homemade granola bar or larabar before just to put something in my stomach. I’m so excited/nervous for you to see the Pilot! yay!

  14. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman on May 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    This was really interesting. I eat so late (boo 11-hour workdays) that I think a snack before bed would really be an extension of my dinner. But good to know for weekends!

  15. Danielle (Coffee Run) on May 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I always eat something after dinner/before bed 😀 For me, I just get hungry! But also if I have a longer run planned the next day, I like to keep my glycogen stores full 😀

  16. lindsay on May 6, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I love having my bed time snack….protein shake, banana soft serve, or protein ice cream are my favs!
    Glad the pilot is coming home, enjoy!! My hubs just got back from a 2 week race/training camps. I get him for 3 weeks until he’s off again.

    Great post, love the information. THANKS!

  17. Sassy Molassy on May 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Gina, this is such an interesting concept. I might have to try it since I’m often huuuungry in the am when I first wake up. What about the information out there that says you won’t sleep well if your body is trying to process food you’ve just eaten? Perhaps that is more focused on people eating big meals right before bed rather than a small snack.

  18. Erica on May 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Great post girl! Couldn’t agree more. I fuel up a bit extra, especially when I’m teaching or working out first thing in the morning (I can’t really snack much before workouts…makes my tummy ill). AH! So awesome that the pilot is coming home 🙂

  19. Lauren on May 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I eat a something before bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I run first thing in the morning and I can’t eat before hand, so for all the reasons you said, I eat before bed. Usually, cereal, fruit, yogurt…but I do always try to to make it just a tad dessert-like. For example, I add a spoon of Coconut Milk Ice Creme to Cereal or chocolate chips. 🙂 Makes it feel like dessert! 😉

  20. Jessica @ The Process of Healing on May 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    If I don’t have a small snack before bed, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night STARVING!

  21. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter on May 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I’m a big cereal before bed, or carrots with hummus before bed. If I don’t eat a super-late dinner, I always wake up absolutely STARVING and I get really nauseous. I’m glad to see that this habit is okayed and encouraged by you. I have been wondering if I should feel guilty about my late-night snacking.

  22. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on May 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I always tend to eat something before bed! I do work out in the morn and usually have a lil bite of a banana or bar, just because I can’t lift on an empty stomach.

  23. PhillyGirlRuns on May 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I almost always have half a Clif Builder’s bar about an hour or 45 min before bed — not because I work out in the AM (I’m way more of an after-work person), but because it’s “dessert.” I do find that my stomach is GROWLIN’ almost every day when I’m getting ready, since I don’t eat breakfast until I get to work.

    PS — love the Herdez salsa on those eggs 🙂 I bought a jar a while back after recognizing it at Target randomly from your blog, and — oh MAN is that stuff good. I get about 2.5 “servings” from each jar. I could pretty much drink that stuff 🙂

  24. Robyn on May 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    When I run in the morning I eat breakfast the night before. I usually eat cereal or oatmeal with milk (and maybe a little peanut butter and then after my run I eat a banana. Otherwise I eat a banana before I run and then eat the rest of my breakfast after. If I eat a full breakfast before I run I feel heavy and I can’t run for as long. Thank you for sharing this! I needed confirmation that this is OKAY to do! 🙂

  25. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on May 6, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Yep, I’m definitely a breakfast-before-bed girl. I’ve found it takes a little practice though because having too much breakfast before bed can be just as bad as breakfast just before an early workout! I typically do cardio and weights in my early AM workouts, so my before-bed snacks usually consist of something like a protein smoothie, cereal, yogurt, or fruit (or some combination of those!) I find if I don’t eat before bed, I’ll actually wake up in the night feeling hungry. Thanks for this awesome post! 🙂

  26. Katherine on May 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    It’s so true that everything is different for everyone. I don’t like to eat before bed (I have dinner WAY early like 5:00 and then I’m done for the day) but like to eat when I wake up before doing anything else. Some people like waking up early and working out before eating. some people have type o blood and some people have type AB. It’s all about what your thing is

  27. Katheryn on May 6, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I wake up each morning at 5am to exercise, and I cannot work out with food in my tummy that early. Makes me feel yucky. So I have a snack almost every night before bed. I’ve been doing this for 5 years and it works great for me.

  28. Amanda (modernation) on May 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I have been reading a lot about drinking a glass of milk before bed. Maybe I will give that a shot.

  29. Jaclyn on May 7, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I love this!! Just had my pre bfast, late-night snack lol! It’s such a mis conception about eating before bed… I’ve always found a lil sumpin sumpin helps me to sleep better! Without a growling stomach!

    Have fun seeing the pilot tonight! Sexy time!! 😉

  30. Kim@ Eat and Be on May 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

    I always have to have a snack before bed. I don’t know if it is psychological or what, but I like to have something like cereal, oatmeal or toast w/ AB about 1.5 hours before bed. They help me sleep! I used to eat way too much before bed, but now that I have cut down I feel great.
    I tend to workout first thing in the morning (cardio), so this works out great for me.
    Have fun seeing your hubby. I know how you can feel “nervous” after not seeing your significant other for a while, it’s like butterflies all over again!

  31. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on May 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I usually eat a small snack before i go to bed, but it is not in the intent that I will need the fuel in the morning! Makes perfect sense, I really should try b-fast in the evening before my a.m. runs!!
    Thanks for this, very informative.


  32. Jamie in Arkansas on May 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal every night before bed because I had convinced myself it helped me sleep.
    But since I started following Jillian’s plan, I cut out my snack after dinner and have lost over 10 pounds! Just from cutting out that one snack!! So even though I used to swear by it, I’ve cut it out. I now have 1/2 of an Ezekiel muffin w/ a tsp of almond butter before my 4am run and the other 1/2 when I get done. So far that’s working good for my fuel. I love your blog and really appreciate the time and effort you put in to sharing all your insights with us!!

  33. Paige (Running Around Normal) on May 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I always have a night time snack when I’m going to be working out first thing th next morning (which is pretty much always.) I’ve never really considered it breakfast before bed, though, because I usually have breakfast directly after showering after my workout.
    It works like a charm for me!

  34. Erin on May 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    That’s such a cute picture! Your dog looks like a fox in it 🙂

  35. Necia on May 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thank You! I have never written a complete stranger an email asking for advice, and then been answered that same day! Thank You so much, you have given me soooooooooooooooooo much clarity on the necessary fueling for my workouts. Thankfully, I just have very little manipulation to do, as I eat many of your examples already. I’ll just move them around to different time slots based on my activity.

    BTW, Im looooooooooooooooooooooving your blog!

  36. Rachel on May 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Ok I do have one question. I workout either after work or if I need some down time I’ll workout after dinner. I can workout with a full meal still digesting in the tummy.So how should I be eatting in both senrios? Thanks so much!

  37. Stephanie on May 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks for the insight!! I never know what to eat or when to eat when I exercise. This will definitely help me out!! =)

  38. Lisa (I'm an Okie) on May 8, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I am a BIG believer in a snack before bed. I hate going to bed with a rumbling tummy and I just can’t fall asleep if I dont have a little something in my tummy! The myth that eating at night will make you gain weight is NOT true..its sad so many people believe that. The only thing thats gonna make you gain weight is eating too much overall, regardless of time.

  39. Leanne @ Radiant Balanced & Fit on September 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hi! I was wondering what you would recommend for the day/night before a 10km race and the morning of a 10km race.

    I’ve read a lot about the importance of nutrition before a race, but haven’t been able to get specifics!

    This is my first 10km and I want to set myself up for success!

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      day/night before: whatever you want! don’t have anything too heavy, greasy or unusual
      for morning of, i love toast with nut butter and half a banana. experiment beforehand though- you never want to do anything new on race day

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