Your muscle building efforts shouldn’t end with dinner.
If more mass is your goal and you find it harder and harder to pack it on, you may need to extend your healthy eating habits closer to bedtime.
Afraid of gaining fat? Well, if you’re stalling and plateauing with getting bigger and stronger, you shouldn’t shun nighttime feeding. As long as you keep things clean by ingesting mainly protein and healthy fat, you will give your body something to use to build muscle while you sleep.
These aren’t calorically-dense meals, mind you. They are small protein-rich snacks that are just enough to satisfy your needs and ward off catabolism (muscle breakdown). Best of all, they are simple, quick and easy!
1. Cottage Cheese and Almonds
Cottage cheese has been relegated down the protein list lately, largely due to the popularity of Greek yogurt, but it’s still one of the most effective and convenient sources of protein around.
Packed with both whey and casein forms of the muscle-building macronutrient, cottage cheese should be on the grocery list of anyone who craves variety in protein.
Almonds will not only provide you with all-important healthy fats, but they will also provide satiety and help slow the digestion of protein so you will create a trickle-like effect of amino acids. This will help as you sleep since your food intake halts and you are only left with the remaining food from your last meal.
Macros for 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese and 1 ounce of almonds:
- Calories: 327
- Protein: 34g
- Carbs: 11g
- Fat: 16g
2. Casein and Flax
If supplements are an option for you, then give casein a try. Casein protein powder provides a slow digesting form of protein so you will get a slow release of amino acids to last you through the night. This is evident when you mix the powder in water as it requires thorough mixing/blending to completely dissolve.
Flaxseed oil is another healthy fat, again, used for satiety and further slowing the digestion of protein powder. It also has some pretty impressive health benefits such as decreasing inflammation (for example, it can be used to help with rheumatoid arthritis) and lowering cholesterol. Simply add flaxseed oil to your casein protein shake.
Macros for 1 scoop (28 grams) of casein protein powder and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil:
- Calories: 221
- Protein: 20g
- Carbs: 3g
- Fat: 2g
3. Greek Chia Yogurt
You have to be living under a rock to miss hearing about the benefits of Greek yogurt. Loaded with live and active cultures to help with motility and digestion, the Greek variety boasts a significantly higher protein count than normal yogurt. This makes it a perfect muscle-building food without the unwanted calories.
Chia seeds have recently arrived in the health circle as a super food. Chock-full of benefits such as high in fiber, loaded with anti-oxidants, high in quality protein, and high in omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are small but pack a huge punch. Simply add the chia seeds to your yogurt.
Macros for 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds:
- Calories: 180
- Protein: 23g
- Carbs: 14g
- Fat: 3g
4. Deviled Avocado Eggs
The egg is the quintessential protein source. Touted by many as the benchmark for protein, eggs are highly versatile and extremely convenient. Although there are many ways to prep eggs, hardboiling is a great portable option.
And yes, the yolk is considered safe and also helps regulate hormone levels and provide you with some essential fats.
Avocado is yet another power food mostly providing you with healthy fat. Versatile? Yes. Tasty? Oh yeah! Adding it to the yolk of an egg and seasoning to taste (such as relish, salt, etc.), avocado adds much better nutrition than the average deviled egg concoction.
Macros for 2 whole eggs and 2 ounces of avocado:
- Calories: 244
- Protein: 14g
- Carbs: 6g
- Fat: 18g
5. Whey Protein and Peanut Butter
Relatively cheap, convenient, available in many flavors, and easily digested, whey protein is a staple in many (if not most) gym-goers’ supplement regimens. Whey contains a superior amount of essential amino acids along with an ample supply of the coveted branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Adding it to your menu is a no-brainer.
Natural peanut butter, or other healthy varieties such as almond, is a tasty way to get your healthy fats and have a little treat along the way. Adding natural peanut butter to anything somehow makes it taste better, but watch the calorie count, as it’s easy to go overboard. Add some to whey protein powder to make a pudding-like treat. Add a little water as needed.
Macros for 1 scoop (28 grams) of whey protein powder and 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter:
- Calories: 288
- Protein: 28g
- Carbs: 12g
- Fat: 16g
Sir best bulk-up program please
Brad. Thanks for this information.
Wondering if you or any of your readers have ever experienced difficulty sleeping at night as a result of extra protein near bed time. I've occasionally had a protein shake/pudding after dinner to satisfy my need for chocolate. I tend to sleep poorly, dream a ton, and wake unrested. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
I am doing the avocado-egg combination at least thee times a week.
But I mix (3-5) eggs with some soy sauce (low salt) and if available a little fashion, fry it in a little coconut oil, slice one avocado and enjoy it slowly.
This always gets me satisfied after lifting weights (+ a 30-40g whey shake) and sometimes I eat it a few minutes before I go to bed.
Never had problems sleeping also wenn having fish instead of eggs.
Cottage cheese + some seeds (hemp, line, pumpkin or others) also works well with no sleeping problems.
So I don't think lots of Protein for dinner should be a problem....
I noticed that it get get tough eating lots of protein and not drinking enough water along with it. So you could give it a try if you are not drinking " a lot" yet :-)
It may be sugar or chocolate that disrupts your sleep, not the protein.
Love this article. I was just thinking with my wife last night about healthy snacks before bed time....
Typo in #2. One Tbsp. of Flax Oil yields roughly 14g of fat, not 2g.
Can i use animal stack and ainmal m-stack both together
Would the same apply for someone who is type 2 diabetic and below the age of 40
Unfortunately I can't say for sure as that is a question you should bring up with a medical professional who specializes in diabetes.
Most of these these suggestions are low in carbohydrates, however, whey protein can be insulinogenic so you should be sure to monitor blood sugar to ensure there isn't a subsequent issue after ingesting the meal.
I'll combo up the casein and chia seeds since I already have those.
Chia seeds add a little crunch to anything...
I take Casein and Almond Butter with ZMA's pretty much every night. Sometimes I'll add a banana if I need to sleep and not wake up starving.
Good one! Thanks for posting!
What do you eat before bed for muscle gains?
Sir i am going gym 2 month. But no result my stomach fat. I do muscle building excise. Sir can i do treadmill and cycling daily in my muscle building schedule. plz sir help i am very sad
Hello. Just make sure you are doing an effective resistance training program combined with cardio and a sound, balanced diet. The fat will drop off gradually.
I have half a cup of oatmeal and mix in 1.5 scoops of Dymatize casein protein
Thanks for sharing!
Brad, first off I want to thank you for EVERY article you've wrote. Jan 2nd I was 6'1" and 270lbs. I'm still 6'1", but 215lbs now. You've helped me in so many ways. From workouts to food choices to motivation. Thank you! Okay, before bed I'm a fan of non-fat cottage cheese 1cup, and a serving of sugar free Metamucil or any fiber supplement. Mind you, I'm looking to cut calories any way I can. Endomorphic body=very easy gainer(of fat)
Hi Mike. Congratulations on your success and thank you so much for your kind words! Also, thanks for sharing your bedtime meal. Great job!