MythBusters! Are Calories Eaten at Night More Fattening?

One of the common questions dietitians get is, “When is the best time to eat?” Often followed by, “What are some healthy nighttime snacks?” A few years ago Sargent Choice Nutrition Center alum Elizabeth Jarrard, now a registered dietitian, answered these questions in a great blog post. Reading through it, I felt it had to be reposted for anyone who might have missed it. Enjoy!

By Elizabeth Jarrard, RD

Truth or Myth: “Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten early in the day.”


Like Dr. John Foreyt at Baylor College of Medicine said;

“Calories are calories are calories, and it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters are the total calories you take in.”

Just make sure you reach for the right thing when you give a nighttime craving! We like the rule of 3s for a satisfying snack! Step 1: Pick a whole grain for energy you need right now. Step 2: Pick a non-starchy vegetable or fruit for filling power. Step 3: Chose a lean protein to make it last.

Sargent Choice Approved Snacks:

Hummus? 100% Whole Wheat Wheat Thins or Triscuits with celery and hummus

Chips n Dip! Whole corn tortilla chips, baby carrots and salsa for a mini Mexican fiesta!

A little 2nd grade throwback! Ants on a log: Celery, peanut butter and raisins.2213238551_6b3c9f880aimage source

Cereal’s good at any time: Sargent Choice granola, Cheerios, Wheaties, Shredded Wheat or Life with berries in 1% or skim milk. If you’re bored with milk swap it with non-fat Greek yogurt to give it a protein boost!

Make me a sandwich! 100% whole grain breads with lettuce, tomato, with sliced turkey breast or other lean deli meat.  Also try it with a tortilla or whole wheat pita!

Just pretend you’re at the movies: Pair Popcorn with an apple, or pear, and nuts. Our Intern Brianna Wilson made this Trail Mix Popcorn which is a big hit!

Trail Mix Popcorn Makes 4 Servings                                                 image source: FamilyFriendsandFood 3012008836_fba56831ce


12 c. popcorn, air popped
½ c. raisins
½ c. dried cranberries
½ c. walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Smart Balance, melted
1 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Combine popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit in a large bowl.  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn mixture and toss to coat.  Spread popcorn mixture onto baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Enjoy!

We’re here to squash those night-time munchies because no on likes to go to bed hungry!!

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Do you get crave a bedtime snack?


Ayfiel posted on January 31, 2012 at 1:22 am

Very nice Post about Popcorn recipe. Could we subtitute sugar with the honey? I think this will make the popcorn more healthy and delicious. Thanks alot
Honey Joys

Ayfiel posted on January 31, 2012 at 1:25 am

Very nice Post about popcorn. Could we subtitute sugar with the honey? I think this will make more healthy and delicious popcorn. Thanks
Honey Joys

ricki@ yeast free diet posted on June 23, 2013 at 3:43 am

Just to avoid the worst, it’s better to have no foods or snacks at night, except we didn’t eat anything for a day 🙂
Sleep is the best way for me to avoid having snacks at night…

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One Trackback

By How to Eat Cheap on Comm Ave | on December 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

[…] you a care package, ask them to include some snacks you can keep in your room, like Sargent Choice Trail Mix Popcorn. If your parents come into town, you could even ask them to take you grocery […]

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