Post Performance Eating

August 18, 2010

The question of what is best to eat post-performance, or late at night in general, has been popping up a lot lately in my conversations. Most of us know that eating late, heavy meals don’t always agree with our bodies – but it’s also not always realistic to think that we are going to be able to stop eating by 7p as “traditional” nutrition advice would indicate.

First it’s important to know that the basic principle here is trying not to eat 3 hours before bedtime, so the 7p cut off is assuming a bed time of about 10p. While that may be possible some of the time, it’s not realistic most of the time for those of us in the performing arts.

However, keep in mind that the reason for the 3 hour cut off is that our digestive system slows down in the evening. Going to bed too soon after eating may cause your food to be improperly digested. This can lead to gas and stomach cramps. Most people who complain about bloating never realize that it is often due to the gas and food particles left over from improper digestion.

Eating late at night also forces your body to use its energy on digestion. One of the primary functions of sleep is to help you recuperate from the day. You want your body to be as relaxed as possible so you can wake up energized. Heavy meals late at night may lead to having trouble falling or staying asleep, as your body is still hard at work.

As tempting as it is, I highly recommend avoiding the traps of the late night bar foods or even a heavy restaurant meal. If the post-show social scene is not something you are prepared to skip (I don’t blame you!), try packing some healthy snacks to eat before you go. You can also stop to pick something up on the way, or peruse the menu for healthier and lighter options. No matter what…stick to whole, unprocessed foods late at night if you are not able to avoiding eating all together.

Here are some suggestions to help replenish nutrients, curb your hunger, and take it easy on your digestive system after a show or anytime you need a late night boost:

• 100% Fruit Smoothie
• Fresh Vegetable Juice or Green Smoothie
• Yogurt
• Avocados
• Whole Grain Toast
• Bananas
• Cut up veggies with hummus
• Small handful of nuts and seeds or trail mix with dried fruits (you can also try Larabars which is like trail mix in a bar, with only very basic ingredients!)


One Response to “Post Performance Eating”

  1. jillianmckee Says:


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?


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