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Why is a high-quality protein meal recommended in the evening?

BY Nives Orešnik @nivesoresnik / 11.Jun.2019 / Recipes

The most common mistake we can make is missing a meal during the day, or because of our fast-paced lifestyles forgetting to eat. Then, when everything calms down in the evening, we overeat, usually a meal with a bunch of sugars and other carbohydrates. We strongly advise against sugary, processed food at night and rather recommend small meals that are light and protein-rich.

Protein and regeneration 

As we sleep, our bodies regenerate themselves. Active individuals need a sufficient amount of sleep to maintain muscle mass and reduce muscle fatigue. Our immune systems also strengthen at night, injuries heal, we recover from illness more quickly, growth hormones flow to repair cells, and we also more easily process waste, destroy free radicals, and regenerate tissue and organs.

The body needs protein to rebuild muscles and cells. All the essential amino acids are also necessary, so getting enough protein during the day is an absolute must. If you have a vegetarian or vegan diet, you still need to make sure your body gets enough protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. In this case a little more time and effort is necessary to get the right information and plan meals appropriately.

How does nutrition affect sleep and the regenerative process?

The latest research shows that sleeping disorders can be caused among other things by foods laced with pesticides, heavy metals, dehydration, ingesting heavy meals that prevent the body from regenerating before bed, and elevated metabolic processes that require a lot of energy (processed food, sugars, etc.). 

Eating heavy meals disturbs our sleep, and processed food with carbohydrates and sugars interrupts the regeneration process (the body focuses on achieving homeostasis when there is too much sugar in the bloodstream instead of on regeneration. Swings in blood sugar levels should be avoided in general, but this is even more important when your body needs to rest.), so we recommend eating foods rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. From the perspective of digestion the best thing is a liquid meal or a hot meal, as neither sticks around in the stomach but are both digested quickly. 

It’s also recommended that your last meal never be later than an hour before sleep. It’s hard to say an exact time, as everybody’s lifestyle is different, but definitely not right before bed.

What then should you eat in the evening?

For the best sleep and regeneration, it’s best if your last meal of the day is protein-rich and easily digestible. Liquid meals and warm ones work great for this purpose. 

A dinner idea for you: 

1. Protein smoothie

Directions: 1 banana, 2 dl plant-based milk (coconut, rice, almond, etc.), 30 g coconut-flavored protein, tablespoon of oats, spoonful of pure cocoa, water as needed.

2. Protein porridge

Directions: Cook 4 tablespoons of ground oatmeal in plant milk, add 30 g of vanilla protein and a handful of blueberries. Mix well.

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