It’s safe to say that as a result of the keto era, the beloved carbohydrate has copped a fair whack. Even if people don’t want to cut carbs altogether, I am often asked if eating your carbs at dinner time will lead to weight gain. In short, no. Eating carbs at dinner won’t make you gain weight, however this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat all of your carbs at dinner time.
Veggies and complex carbohydrates (think wholegrains, legumes and/or starchy veg) should be part of every meal. Veggies should make up at least half of your plate and remember, they are considered a carbohydrate! I always say to just eat real food and this certainly rings true when it comes to carbs. Processed carbs, like ones you’ll find in white bread, sugary treats and pastries, soft drinks and biscuits are the ones you want to be avoiding. Not all carbs are equal and this is another example of why I don’t demonize any food groups in my 28 program. You just need to eat the right ones.
I love complex carbs. Complex carbs are excellent sources of fibre, which plays a role in gut health and in turn assist with regulating your weight. Oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa, pumpkin and bananas are some of my favourite complex carbs. They give me slow release energy to help me juggle that dad/work/training life.
A lot of people think that this means they can’t eat some of the foods they love. Don’t worry, you can still get your bread and pasta fix. I recommend trying the less processed version (wholemeal pasta, brown rice and sourdough bread are my favourites) and I always pair them with good quality protein, plenty of veg and a serve of healthy fats. An example of this would be a steak, some baked sweet potato and a big pile of leafy, green vegetables.
As for how many carbs to eat at night, this depends on what time of the day you do your workout. If you train in the afternoon/night then you can get away with eating a meal heavier in carbs, but you still shouldn’t be consuming your days’ worth of carbs in this one window.
My recommendation? Eat complex carbs in moderation, at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, to give your body adequate time to digest them before you hit the hay. Carbs actually provide us with tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to regulate our sleep. Low-carb not no-carb is the way to go.