A few years ago, I worked on a project for a NASA contractor in which we monitored what employees consumed during the day. We divided the food intake into meals and snacks. The results indicated that they did fairly well during the day consuming approximately 2000 kcal/day (females) and 3000 kcal/day (males).

The problem was what they ate at night watching TV.

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For example, they might have a big bowl of Blue Bell on Monday, chips and soft drink on Tuesday, microwave pizza on Wednesday, nachos and beer on Thursday, wings and beer on Friday, cheesecake on Saturday…and repent on Sunday. The snacks were not extremely large, 500-700 calories for women and 700-1000 calories for men. The problem was that the calories added up to an extra 3000+ for women and 4000+ for males per week.

The data indicated that the typical employee consumed 7 days’ worth of food (calories) during the week and an extra 1.5 days’ worth of food (calories) over the weekend. They consumed 8.5 days’ worth of food (calories) every 7 days. Not surprising, they gained between one-half and one pound per week, or 2-4 pounds per month.

The problem is not that they had evening snacks, but the number of calories in the snacks. Remember our keys: variety, balance and moderation in all meals and snacks. There are a number of available healthy, lower density snacks: fresh fruit, string cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, baby carrots, pistachios, etc. Avoid lower-density foods that have a lot of calories and a few nutrients, chips, ice cream, cookies, donuts, etc.)

It’s OK to have an evening snack, but look for those that have a lot of nutrients for a few calories. 

Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E

Strength and Conditioning Consultant, Professional Baseball

Gene Coleman is an AdvoCare Sports Advisory Council Member and is compensated for his role. For educational use only. Check with your healthcare provider before changing your diet.