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10 Muscle-building Meals that You Can Eat Before Bed

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10 Muscle-building Meals that You Can Eat Before Bed

Table of Contents

Developing healthy eating habits near bedtime is crucial if you aim to gain muscle mass. When you get into a sound and deep sleep, your body produces testosterone and growth hormone.

These regenerative chemicals are necessary to prepare you for your next workout. You shouldn't be afraid of gaining fat if you are gulping on calories that are mainly proteins because proteins help you grow and build your body.

Proteins aren't high-calorie meals. The small, protein-rich snacks are enough to meet your daily needs and prevent muscle breakdown (catabolism). They are quick, easy, and simple!

For athletes, sleep is a powerful tool. It is a time for your mind and body to rest and allow you to recover and adapt. It plays a crucial part in athletic performance. It improves reaction times, decision making, coordination and promotes a lean physique. 

What you consume before going to sleep affects not only the quality of your sleep but also improves your body's ability to recover for future athletic performance. You will also be able to recover your body's ability to perform better in the future.

You might consider focusing on quality sleep instead of quantity if you struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours sleep each night. For athletes or any high-performance individuals, high levels of tryptophan in foods help calm their bodies and prepare for sleep. 

Tryptophan can be found in food high in protein. These include: 

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Fish
  • Peanuts and Peanut Butter 
  • Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds
  • Milk
  • Turkey
  • Tofu And Soy

These small, protein-rich snacks are enough to meet your daily needs and prevent muscle breakdown (catabolism). They are quick, easy, and simple to avail. 

Moreover, as stated above, HGH production is stimulated by bedtime snacks high in amino acids (protein-rich food) and choline, a neurotransmitter found in egg yolks.

The slow-digesting dairy protein casein has been proven to stimulate muscle growth and reduce muscle damage. Cow's milk and goat's milk contain casein protein. 

Moreover, antioxidants help the body get rid of harmful free radicals. These foods help athletes speed up their recovery. Some examples include:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pecans 
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Goji Berries
  • Raspberries

Muscle Building Meal Plan Before Going to Bed

Here is a list of combinations of food/snacks that you need to add to your meal plan a few hours before going to sleep if your goal is to bulk on body mass.

1. Cottage Cheese and Almonds

Cottage cheese is being pushed down the protein ladder lately due to Greek yogurt's popularity, but it is still the most convenient and best source of protein. Cottage cheese is packed with both casein and whey forms of the muscle-building macronutrient. It should be on everyone's shopping list if they are looking for variety in protein.

Almonds will provide you with all-important healthy fats and make you feel full. They also help reduce the digestion rate of protein that will produce a slow amino acid flow. It will also help you grow while you sleep, as your food intake has been stopped at your last meal. 

Macros for 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1-ounce almond are:

  • Calories: 327
  • Protein: 34g
  • Carbs: 11g
  • Fat: 16g

2. Casein and Flax

Casein is a good option if you are looking for supplements. Casein protein powder is slow-digesting, so you will get slow releases of amino acids that will last you the whole night. It is important to mix the powder with water thoroughly. 

Flaxseed oil, another healthy fat, is used to increase satiety and slow down protein digestion. Flaxseed oil has many health benefits, such as, lowering cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation. You can also add it to any casein protein shake.

Macros for 1 scoop (28g) of casein protein powder and a tablespoon flaxseed oil:

  • Calories: 221
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Fat: 2g

3. Greek Chia Yogurt

There is no way you won't have heard about Greek yogurt as a great option for protein. It is rich in active cultures that aid with digestion and motility. It is a high protein muscle-building source without any unwanted calories.

The health community has recently recognized chia seeds as a superfood. Chia seeds have many benefits, including high fiber, antioxidants, and quality protein with booming levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Simply tossing some chia seeds to your Greek yogurt will boost the benefits of both.  

Related Article: 11 Evidence-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil

1 tablespoon chia seeds and 1 cup Greek yogurt make macros equal to: 

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 23g
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fat: 3g

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4. Deviled Avocado Eggs

The egg is the most important and the best protein source. It can be used in many ways and are extremely versatile. There are many ways to prepare eggs, but hard-boiling can be done conveniently.

Along with the whites, yolks are safe. They regulate hormone levels and supply essential fats.

Avocado is another powerful food that provides you with healthy fats. They are also versatile and tasty! Add an egg yolk to your halved avocado and season it with salt, relish, or other flavorings. Avocado provides more nutrition than any deviled eggs.

Macros for 2 whole boiled eggs and 2 ounces of avocado:

  • Calories: 244
  • Protein: 14g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Fat: 18g

5. Whey Protein and Peanut Butter

Whey protein is inexpensive, convenient, easy-to-digest, and available in many flavors. Whey protein overflows with essential amino acids and contains plenty of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are highly sought-after. It is also simple and easy to add to your diet.

Natural peanut butter or other healthy options such as almond butter are delicious ways to get healthy fats while enjoying a treat. You can add natural peanut butter to any recipe to make it more delicious. But, it is easy to overeat calories. Add some whey protein powder and as little water as needed to make it pudding-like.

Related Articles: 5 Things You Should Keep in Mind When Taking Whey Protein

Macros for 1 scoop (28g) of whey protein and 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter are: 

  • Calories: 288
  • Protein: 28g
  • Carbs: 12g
  • Fat: 16g
Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein contains a number of essential amino acid building blocks that are used for new...

6. Nuts and Seeds

This late-night crunch is packed with important nutrients like omega 3s, protein, and antioxidants. High-sodium diets can lead to lower sleep quality. Unsalted nuts or seeds can replace these.

Pistachios have the highest level of melatonin among all nuts. Pistachios contain tryptophan which is an amino acid related to sleep quality. Tryptophan aids in sleep quality by helping to make serotonin. Sesame and pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, adding a crunchy texture to your yogurt. 

Walnuts and cashews are good options for a goodnight's sleep. High levels of magnesium and potassium are found in cashews, while walnuts can help make serotonin.

A handful of mixed nuts and, according to the USDA, ¼ cup of dry roasted sunflower seeds without salt contains:

  • Calories: 327
  • Protein: 10.8 g.
  • Fat: 30 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat.
  • Carbs: 6 g.

7. Grilled Fish

Fish is high in protein and also contains omega 3 fats. Many people suffer from Omega fats deficiency. Grilled fish is a good choice for such people and is beneficial over the long term. Take it one hour before going to bed, and you will be good to go.

3 oz. of boneless fish contains: 

  • Calories: 71
  • Protein: 15.1g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 0.78g

8. Chicken Breast with Salad

Chicken digests faster than cheese protein. However, when it is eaten with salad and butter dressing, it slows down the digestion process. It releases the desired amount of amino acids throughout the night, which can be helpful in muscle-building.

4 oz of grilled chicken breast contains: 

  • Calories: 128
  • Protein: 26g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 2.7g

9. Casein protein

Casein protein can be taken as a supplement. It is slow to digest and releases amino acids that last throughout the night. You can add it to a casein shake with peanut butter or almonds. The added nuts will provide essential facts as the shakes are very low in fat.

Per standard scoop (34 grams, or 1.2 ounces), casein protein contains: 

  • Calories:120
  • Protein:38g
  • Carbs:4g
  • Fat:1g

10. Flaxseed in Shake

Flaxseed is healthy and can help lower cholesterol and inflammation. You can add Flaxseed to a protein shake or mix it with yogurt. They are high-quality protein, keep you satiated at night, and are rich in omega 3s that improve your metabolic health

You can add them to your late hours' protein shakes to add some nutty flavor, enhance nutrients and gain muscles at the same time enjoying a sound sleep. 

One tablespoon (10g) of flax seeds contains the following macros:

  • Calories: 55
  • Protein: 1.9g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Fat: 4.3g

Conclusion

Sleep is an important phase of the muscle-building process, and when your goal is to improve your body mass, make sure that you get sound and satiated sleep for at least 6-8 hours. 

While asleep, our growth hormones help the body repair cells and recover from workout strain. Feeding your body with healthy protein snacks before going to bed helps enhance muscle growth.

Article Sources

  • "Antioxidants: In-Depth." NCCIH, https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth.  Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.
  • Haider, Saida, et al. "Effects of Walnuts (Juglans Regia) on Learning and Memory Functions." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands), vol. 66, no. 4, Nov. 2011, pp. 335–40. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-011-0260-2
  • Office of Dietary Supplements - Choline. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.
  • Van Cauter, Eve, et al. "Reciprocal Interactions between the GH Axis and Sleep." Growth Hormone & IGF Research: Official Journal of the Growth Hormone Research Society and the International IGF Research Society, vol. 14 Suppl A, June 2004, pp. S10-17. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ghir.2004.03.006
  • ---. "Reciprocal Interactions between the GH Axis and Sleep." Growth Hormone & IGF Research: Official Journal of the Growth Hormone Research Society and the International IGF Research Society, vol. 14 Suppl A, June 2004, pp. S10-17. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ghir.2004.03.006
  • Vitalini, Sara, et al. "LC-MS/MS-Based Profiling of Tryptophan-Related Metabolites in Healthy Plant Foods." Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 25, no. 2, Jan. 2020, p. E311. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25020311.
  • Wilborn, Colin D., et al. "The Effects of Pre- and Post-Exercise Whey vs. Casein Protein Consumption on Body Composition and Performance Measures in Collegiate Female Athletes." Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, vol. 12, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp. 74–79. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761774/.
  • Zivkovic, Angela M., et al. "Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Aid in the Modulation of Inflammation and Metabolic Health." California Agriculture, vol. 65, no. 3, 2011, pp. 106–11. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v065n03p106.

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