Reader’s Request: Carbs and Eating Before Bed

Hi guys! Hope your day is going well <3

I get a lot of the following types of questions on my Formspring page:

Is it really that terrible to eat before bed? Are there certain things you can eat without consequences? 🙂 Like…fruit etc.
are white potatoes also the bad kind of white carbs?

And just saw this one in the comments section:

Hi Gina

Thanks for the chia pudding yesterday!

Just curious, do you not have grains with your dinner in the evening for a specific reason? I noticed you usually don’t have brown rice, even at your habachi restaurant, but I thought brown rice was a healthy choice. Is it because you often have oats during the day and try to limit your carb intake? Thanks for answering

So I figured it was time for a reader’s request post about carbs and eating before bed.

Dark Bread Riser  (source)

I love carbs. I love to eat in general, but nothing is more satisfying to me than some kind of starchy, carb-y goodness.

Carbs are our bodies’ primary fuel source and we need them to be active, nourished and thriving.

There is NO such thing as “good carbs” and “bad carbs”. I despise that negative connotation with food and the “forbidden” attitudes that go along with certain types of food. You really can eat whatever you want. The only thing is that it’s a great idea to get a balance of all of the food groups and as long as you’re not stuffing your face with the bread basket and depriving your body of veggies at every meal, you’re doing ok 🙂

So while there are no “good carbs” and “bad carbs”, some types of starchy foods are nutritionally superior to others, which are the ones I try to aim for as fuel:

-100% whole wheat bread/pita/pasta (Hodgson’s Mill and Ezekiel products are great)
    -sweet potatoes and other starchy veggies like peas, corn, squash
    -whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, wheat berries, oats
    – beans and legumes
    -fruit (raw, canned in its own juice, dried with NO added sugar)
    -all veggies (avoiding white potatoes, as I prefer sweet potatoes instead)

Those are my “most of the time” carbs, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy some of the un-healthier (but delicious!) stuff every so often (hello, Girl Scout cookies).


The samoas are in the freezer until Lent is over 😉

As far as eating before bed and carbs at night, here’s how I usually roll:

-I prefer to have less starch at night, as there’s really no reason to have a lot of carb fuel for a giant snooze fest 🙂 Going to bed with a belly full of food (any type of food) is uncomfortable for me, and I like to be ready for breakfast in the morning instead of stuffed from the night before (I LOVE breakfast!). We usually have dinner around 6 or 7, but some nights are much later, so I’ll have a snack before I teach and “real dinner” when I get home.

-If I know I’m going to have a starchy meal at night, (like the sweet potato chili and cornbread we had the other evening), I’ll have less starches for lunch (like a giant salad beast with goat cheese and veggies), as I try to get a balance of everything

-If I get snacky at night, I’ll have something light (like fruit, popcorn, veggies and hummus, or half a bar) so that I don’t go to bed with a growling tummy

That is how it *usually* goes down over here, but there are always exceptions. Sometimes I want starches with all of my meals, sometimes I don’t want as many, sometimes I want chocolate before bed (and eat it). My body does a great job of telling me what it wants, and I listen 😀 The point is to honor your body and fuel it the way you see *fit*.

*Just because a silly blogger does something a certain way does NOT mean that you need to follow suit- roll how you want to roll, and fuel your body with an abundance of deliciousness 😀

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again:

EAT. Eat often. Eat until you’re perfectly content and eat well.

To echo my friend Gena’s eloquent post, I love to eat. And… I have a deep unending love for carbs 😀

So tell me friends, what is your all-time favorite meal???

I think we all know what mine is 🙂



I’m off to work! See ya this afternoon 😀



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  1. Hanna on February 25, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    ok, i just posted this but i think the webpage dropped before it went through, but forgive me if i am posting twice.

    i am just curious…are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing!? there is so much talk about the health benefits of sweet potatoes, can you get the same thing from a yam? (please someone say yes, because i am obsessed with yams!)

    gosh i would LOVE to try some raw cheesecake!! lets hear a review soon!

  2. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on February 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    This is incredibly insightful, thanks for a great post!

    My favourite meal? That is a hard one. Indian is in my top five, as well, but I truly enjoy a good falafel pita (the ONLY fried food I eat!), and breakfast- especially Eggs Benedict or a veggie-filled omelette, are my favourite meals =D


  3. Hannah on February 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I just made you avocado chocolate pudding featured on OSG—-OMG!! So delicious and I didn’t even taste the avocado!!

  4. Diana on February 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Great post Gina. I completely agree – it IS all about what makes you feel good and finding a balance of foods that works for you. There is an endless amount of information out there suggesting the “right” kinds of foods to eat. For instance, I’d love to eat raw veggies all the time but they happen to make me feel bloated if I eat too much. A year ago when I went gluten-free I had friends and family nagging at me to eat gluten, but I stuck with it because I felt great sans-gluten. I think the best point you made in this post is to stay true to what works for you and your body!

  5. Theorist on February 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Indian food. Southern, northern…LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  6. Abbey on February 26, 2010 at 2:54 am

    loved this post! i think “eating before bed” is a concern for a lot of girls, and I’m with you…i feel uncomfortable going to bed on a full stomach…i try not to eat at like 2-3 hours before bed so i can wake up ravenously hungry for breakfast XD

  7. Romy on February 26, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Hi Gina, thank you for this post. Very interesting. I usually eat too much at night and then I’m angry at myself because I did not sleep good 🙁 Due to the fact that hubby and I eat around 8 o’clock, I’m starving until then. I guess I have to try to eat something small around 5 or 6. Perhaps I then eat (and cook) less later on. I give it a try 🙂 Thank you for sharing this amazing blog with us 😀

  8. Jenny @ nutmegger on February 26, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Thanks so much for this post! Eating post 8pm is something that I continually struggle with just based on all of these workout instructors and nutritionists who say you burn more during the day (yada yada) But sometimes I dont get home from work until 830 or so and its either “To Eat, or not to Eat”, which is clearly a bad decision. Thanks for your two cents 🙂

  9. Lindsey on February 26, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I always eat before bed, in fact I have carbs. Usually a little bowl of cereal because I find it helps me sleep better. I love your quote “EAT. Eat often. Eat until you’re perfectly content and eat well.” If I am hungry after 8, and I most usually am, I don’t tell my stomach to stop grumbling because of what the hands on the clock say! As always, you have such great advice!

  10. Emily N on February 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

    My absolute favorite meal is palak paneer with tandori garlic naan. I like to end the meal with honey-sweetened chai tea.

  11. Queen of Fitness on February 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

    my favorite meal…would have to be the meal i had at gobo on the upper east side in NYC last memorial day. homemade veggie patty with yam fries, homemade ketchup, and organice white bean soup with root vegetables and pumpkin. i almost lost my mind it was so good!!! the best meal i have EVER had at a restaurant and everything was perfection on a plate. we even had homemade bread as an appetizer. i watch my bread intake but this was good healthy, dense, fiber filled bread. gina, if you have never been to gobo you have to go-go!!
    other than that, i love PB. …umm yeah, actually that is an understatement. i am freakishly OBSESSED with pb. most days i eat it straight from the jar. i eat the natural or organice kind too. lately i’ve been munching on barney butter-AB. i keep trying to cut the PB out but it brings me so much joy. i love it in oatmeal, smoothies, on toast, on bananas…on a spoon.

  12. June on February 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    that has been my motto the past few months too! why do i need food at night to sleep??? thats just silly! my workouts are after work, so i get the fuel i need during the day!!!

  13. Angie (Losing It and Loving It) on February 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Amazing post, Gina! I learned so much (as usual) and still have a long way to go when it comes to getting the right balance of healthy foods in me.

  14. All Women Stalker on February 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I agree. I need to limit my carb intake before bed though, cause that’s when I usually get these cravings. I’m opting for healthier options instead.

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