There are many healthy and unhealthy foods to choose from at night. Find out what the benefits are of eating oatmeal around this time.
Before going into the details, keep in mind that these benefits of oatmeal at night apply the most compared to choosing unhealthier foods like for example pizza.
Additionally, even if it is a relatively healthy dish like oatmeal, it is generally not recommended to eat too close to bedtime since it can mess with sleep quality and duration (although there are of course exceptions).
This could reverse the upsides you get from eating oatmeal at night.
Unless you are in an exceptional situation, for example having trouble consuming enough nutrients otherwise, you want to stop eating about 4 to 2 hours before bedtime.
The closer you eat oatmeal to bedtime, the more you want to limit your portions and the more you want to choose light additional ingredients.
1. Helps you feel fuller
If you are familiar with nutrient contents, something that likely catches your attention is that oatmeal is high in fiber. More specifically, raw oats contain around 10.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams (1).
This amount will be less in 100 grams of oatmeal due to the other ingredients but even then, the fiber contents will be enough to be considered a benefit.
One of the most popular benefits of fiber is that it helps you feel fuller. This is one of the reasons why oatmeal can be good for weight loss.
Additionally, fiber can help reduce the blood sugar spike from foods eaten in combination with it and seems to offer other health benefits for many people (2).
So eating oatmeal at night tends to help you feel fuller than the same amount of food in chips or pizza. This can help you stay healthier and help you avoid eating unhealthy foods.
2. You may like the taste
The next benefit of eating oatmeal at night is relatively simple. You may like the taste of oatmeal and the ingredients it combines well with.
Other foods may be slightly better in terms of nutrients but you could enjoy oatmeal a lot more.
Liking your food habits is not something nice to have. It also helps you stay more consistent with your diet plan and helps you avoid going off the trails.
In turn, this leads to a variety of other positive effects (if you have the right diet plan).
3. Good for busy evenings
Most people have these evenings when there are so many things to do and so little time to prepare dinner.
Additionally, after a day at work or a day full of other responsibilities, you may not have the energy to cook a five-course dinner.
This next benefit also applies to busy mornings but one of the benefits of eating oatmeal at night is that preparing the dish is generally easy and fast. Especially with certain types of oatmeal and certain ingredients.
Rolled, steel cut, quick, and instant oats tend to require the least amount of preparation. Keep in mind that quick and instant oats also tend to contain less fiber and fewer nutrients.
You may need to soak or cook whole oats to make them tasty enough to eat.
Besides your choice of oats, your choice of ingredients influences how easy and fast it is to prepare the oatmeal. Things like frozen berries or nuts tend to be very easy and fast.
You could also consider cutting up some fruit or vegetables but these do require some extra time and effort.
4. Could help you sleep better
Having quality sleep and sleeping the right amounts are important for basically any positive health goal. However, even though many people are aware of this, putting it into practice can feel challenging.
Eating oatmeal at night, but not too close to bedtime, could actually improve your sleep quality and duration.
One publication from 2020 reviewed a variety of studies related to diet and sleep.
While more research is always welcome in complicated processes like sleep and nutrition, the review puts a few theories forward that indicate oatmeal could be a good food choice (3).
First of all, they mention it looks like foods high in tryptophan, a type of amino acid found in many foods, seem to influence sleep in a positive way.
Additionally, there are studies that indicate have low levels of tryptophan could make sleep outcomes worse.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that eating too close to bedtime can reduce sleep quality and duration.
If you want to eat oatmeal at night you generally want to keep it for 4 to 2 hours before bedtime unless you are in an exceptional situation.
5. Helps you hit your protein goals
While there is not yet a consensus about what amounts are optimal for what goals, it is clear that protein is an essential nutrient for humans and many other animals.
Your muscles and more specifically your cells are made of protein.
To create new cells and repair old ones your body needs proteins. Your body can create some amino acids, the building blocks of protein, but at least some of them need to come from food.
One of the benefits of oatmeal is that they are a good source of protein compared to other plant-based sources. 100 grams of raw oats contain around 16.9 grams of protein (1).
Eating oatmeal at night could be the perfect way to hit your protein goals for the day. In turn, this can benefit your health, make you feel fuller, and help with things like building muscle.
Something to note is that if you really struggle with eating enough protein, you could consider cheese, animal meats, and fish. These typically contain more protein per 100 grams than oatmeal.
There are many superfoods with nice amounts of nutrients on paper but actually buying them can be pricey. These could still be worth the investment but there are also healthy foods that don’t cost as much.
Another simple benefit of oatmeal is that it is relatively budget-friendly. Especially if you consider the amounts of nutrients you get.
7. Extra micronutrients
Many people underestimate how many micronutrients and in what amounts natural foods like oatmeal contain.
Micronutrients are basically nutrients that are smaller than the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food. These include vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients like polyphenols.
One of the nice things about oatmeal is that it contains good amounts of a variety of micronutrients. More specifically, 100 grams of raw oats contains some of the following vitamins and minerals (2):
- Manganese: 246% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Phosphorus: 52%
- Thiamin: 51%
- Magnesium: 44%
- Copper: 31%
- Iron: 26%
- Zinc: 26%
Again, the amounts of micronutrients in oatmeal vary due to the other ingredients.
That aside, while it is also possible to overdo it with the nutrients above, consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for a variety of health goals including muscle growth.
Many people could use more vitamins, minerals, and other smaller nutrients which can make the amounts in oatmeal a beneficial addition to the (lack of?) nutrients you eat at night.
Since individuals vary in things like genes and habits, the general daily recommendations of vitamins and minerals are inevitably not perfect.
However, you can still use these recommendations to set goals for yourself and estimate how much oatmeal you should eat at night.