The Peril of Midnight Blogging

To non bloggers, this is a glimpse into a blogger’s work day. To other bloggers, this is actually a cry for help.

Now that I’m a full time stay at home dad, it’s quite difficult to get anything, especially writing, done. As parents everywhere know, kids don’t like it when you don’t pay attention to them. Baby RB40 will let me respond to emails, catch up on other blogs, reply to comments, and do a few administrative tasks for about 30 minutes. We do this by splitting the laptop screen. He watches the Muppets sing while I work on the other half of the screen. This is not ideal because he is always crowding me by hanging onto my arms and climbing on the coffee table, but it’s the only way I can work at all when he’s awake.

I get the bulk of my blogging done when he’s in bed. I talked to other parent bloggers and most of them get things done very early in the morning or late at night. I envy those bloggers who can function on 5 hours of sleep. I need at least 7 hours of sleep or else I’d turn into a zombie. This mean I go to bed between midnight or 1am and get up at 6:30am. I also get about an hour nap in the afternoon to make it 7 hours.

The Peril of Midnight Blogging

Yes, it’s the attack of the midnight munchies. We usually have dinner around 6pm and if I stay up until midnight, that dinner would be long gone. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had ramen noodles, hot dog, breakfast burrito, pita chips and hummus, and other junk food. At least I made my own midnight snack and didn’t go out to a fast food restaurant, like the one that advertises “the fourthmeal.” Obviously this is not a healthy proposition and I need to find other healthy alternatives.

midnight snack breakfast burrito
A midnight taco with an egg, Chorizo, Cotija cheese, and Siracha hot sauce. It was darn good too.

Midnight bloggers, I need your help

I can’t be alone in this dilemma. I assume most bloggers work late at night too. How do you deal with your midnight craving? I also have another requirement. I have high triglycerides and should avoid as much carbohydrates as possible. Those ramen noodles are probably the last thing I should snack on.

Here is what I came up with so far

  • Bananas. This one should be easy because we almost always have some bananas on hand for baby RB40.
  • Other fruits such as apples
  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Mrs. RB40 suggested celery sticks and peanut butter, but I don’t like celery sticks. Peanut butter probably isn’t the best midnight snack either because it’s pretty high in saturated fat.

Readers’ suggestions (Thank you!)

  • Natural popcorn no butter
  • Drink more water
  • Nuts
  • Healthy cereal and milk
  • Beef jerky
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Greek Yogurt with fruit topping
  • Crunchy vegetables like celery and cucumbers
  • Sugar free Jello
  • Shake with frozen berries, protein powder, and yogurt
  • Wake up at 5am and go to bed at 9:30pm
  • Trail mix
  • Banana chips and other freeze dried fruit from Trader Joe’s
  • Edamame
It’s a bit sad really. When you get older, you have to really watch what you eat. In my 20s, I could have a burger & fries, or a slice of pepperoni pizza after a night out and feel just fine. Now, I don’t think I can sleep if I have a burger at midnight.

It doesn’t help when Mrs. RB40 comes into the kitchen and snacks as I’m typing this. She’s having some baguette and spinach hummus. Anyway, I would love some suggestions on healthy midnight snacks. What do you do when you have the midnight munchies?

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76 thoughts on “The Peril of Midnight Blogging”

  1. I think midnight blogging is a problem for readers as it is for publishers like myself. Due to my regular work during the day time, I always find my self researching and writing posts for my blog late in the nights. Hopefull I can work full time on my blog soon so I can avoid late nights. But till that happens, there does not seem to be much choice.

  2. I have the same problems as you, down to the toddlers trying to wiggle around in my lap while I check email. I also have to make sure they don’t press enter when I’m hovering over an ad. LOL

    Something I’m trying that has seemed to work so far – I started my meals later in the day. Instead of having breakfast at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, and dinner at 6, I drink some coffee first thing, then eat lunch around 10/11, lunch around 3, and dinner around 9. Then I’m not hungry at midnight. The only problem with this is the days when my kids wake me up really early. Then, there’s no way I’m waiting 4 or 5 hours to eat breakfast!

    Other than that, I’ll second the popcorn suggestion. Really filling, helps you get in some fiber for the day, and won’t blow your diet.

  3. Decaf Earl Grey with some heavy cream. The fat in the cream trips the satiety switch, or at least it does for me. Mostly, though, I’m not up very late. Tucked in by 11, up by 4:30 or 5:00.

  4. Right there with you! I can eat solid all day long – low carbs, salads, protein shakes, etc; but when 10 pm rolls around the cravings come out in full force. I hate it!

    Here’s what I try:

    Eggs and Turkey bacon (or Turkey Sausage) (takes longer to prepare but it often hits the spot).
    Yogurt: huge fan of peach right now. 🙂
    Cheerios and Milk. Kashi makes a good cereal too high in fiber.
    Fiber One Chocolate Chip Bar.
    Almonds plain but I also buy dark chocolate covered almonds, too. I mix them together in a container and eat 2 chocolate almond for every 4-5 regular ones. Helps satisfy my sweet too with splurging too bad.
    Glass of water. If I can make myself down some water, that will sometimes help with the cravings….for a bit.
    Cottage cheese with some pineapple.

    I think the key is variety so you don’t get bored. I would also research some Paleo snacks. That seems to be the craze lately so I’m sure there are some good suggestions out there.

    • Egg and turkey bacon sounds great for a midnight snack. 🙂
      Great suggestions here, thanks. I like almonds too, but it’s so easy to eat a huge amount.

  5. Just put my kids to sleep, and I’m visiting my favorite blogs as I do some work… so I know how you feel! I try to avoid the late-night munchies as much as possible (my stomach will make me pay for it the next day if I don’t), but when I can’t, I have one old stand-by from my college days: honey nut Cheerios. A half-cup (eaten a few at a time, not by the handful) satisfies my urge to munch, plus they’re pretty heart healthy while still being sweet!

    • We have regular cheerios and I’ll try that next time.
      Staying up late is ok except for the midnight snacking thing. 🙂

  6. Calories in should be equal to or less than calories out depending if you’re maintaining weight or trying to lose. Excess calories are converted to triglycerides and stored in fat cells regardless if it’s carbs, protein, fat, and especially alcohol. If you’re worried about your triglycerides, “carbs” needs to be better defined– I would emphasize reducing the amount of simple/refined sugars consumed and shoot for whole grains paired with a lean protein source. The Cleveland Clinic is a good resource I direct patients to:
    Feel free to email me if you have any questions, I’d love to help since I do this for a living!

    • Thanks for the offer. I’ll have to email you for more tips.
      My weight is pretty stable, but my triglyceride is high.
      I don’t eat much sugary snacks, but I used to eat a lot of bread and rice. We cut a lot of that out and I’m doing better with a bit of help from a pill…

  7. I’m very spoiled because we don’t have kids yet. Thus, we’re not fighting to have blocks of focused time without adolescents, which is apparently a losing battle. Other things seem to sap up my time, but it is still typically under our control.

  8. Very creative solution with the split screen Joe! Like you, I am a sleep addict. Seven is also my minimum. It is articles like this that remind me I as simply not ready to have children yet. I am far too selfish and treasure my free time far too much to be able to give so freely and sacrifice so much for someone else. All you parent/bloggers out there are truly an inspiration! I honestly believe that you don’t truly know how much you are capable of until you have to care for an infant.

    • Kids are great. They are a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
      Baby RB40 is pretty good most of the time so it’s not that difficult to deal with him. 🙂
      Hopefully you’ll be ready someday.

  9. I like banana chips..baked kinds..not sure if they are bad? Trader joes have them..or u can just slice bananas and bake it in the oven…no seasonings needed.

  10. Those are some great snack ideas! I was thinking along the same lines – but particularly something you can snack on while you work! Things like grapes, strawberries, edamame etc can all be nibbled on while you’re working. I’d definitely stay away from the carbs… especially if you’re going to be heading to bed a short while after the snack. I agree that if you’re eating dinner at 6pm and staying up until after midnight… you definitely need a snack to tide you over until breakfast!

  11. RB40,
    Personally, I’d skip the water at night. Being a few months shy of 50, the last thing I need at that time of night is more fluid. You’ll understand later in years 🙂

    The Almonds or Carrots are a great idea. I used to be addicted to the chocolate doublestuffed Oreos, but that led to needing to buy larger pants. I’ve lost 10 lbs in the last 4 weeks by loosely following the Slow Carb Diet outlined in Tim Ferriss’ “4hour Body”. Check it out as he’s got some good info in there about the body chemistry of some foods.

    • I had some tea last night and could go to sleep until 4am. 🙁
      I’ll probably have a cup of water and not a jug. 😉
      We are going to the grocery store tomorrow and I’ll make sure to pick up a bag of baby carrots.

  12. Pingback: Weekly Favorites, Gratitude, and Giveaways #80 | Budgeting In the Fun Stuff
  13. Hubby eats healthy cereal (cheerios, honey bunch of oats, raisin bran, etc.) with milk while I have almonds and hot lemon water with honey. Good snackies for us.

    As for getting things done, Koya can play on her own for a while (20 mins or so) and leave me to work on computers. Of course she’d come over and sit in my lap sometimes but after sitting for 2 minutes with me not letting her touch anything, she’d climb down and go play with her toys again. If I read, then she’d let me read for a longer time (30 min+)! She can read on her own for 10 min.

    I agree with the blogger who mentioned about regular sleeping. I used to need 8 hours of sleep everyday but now after 1.5 years with baby Koya, my body can function with 6 hours and a power nap (30 min). Regular sleeping time really helps! Try it!

    • We only have cheerios in the cupboard right now. I’ll have to pick up some other options. I drank some tea last night and couldn’t go to bet until 4am. 🙁
      Wow, 20 minutes alone is great. Our baby can’t even spend a minutes by himself if I’m on the computer.
      I’m trying to get on a schedule. I’ll try to go to bed by 12:30am and get up around 6:30am. Then get a power nap with baby.

  14. I always have baby carrots on hand. In a situation like yours, I’d probably go with that or cucumber wedges. Sometimes I go with nuts. The other option are Special K snack crisps. They are pretty tasty.

  15. I am in the exact same boat (Hello over there!) and make up some popcorn most nights. For me, it’s not that I’m hungry, but just that I want to snack. Popcorn is great because it takes a really long time to eat for how few calories it offers. Of course, you could go about this wrong by making butter lovers popcorn or piling m&m’s on top, but if you stick to all-natural or at least low-fat, it’s a great blogging snack! Besides, you don’t want to eat buttery snacks while blogging anyway…unless you can type with one hand. Btw, I also fall into bad habits of eating chocolate chip cookies by the dozen, chocolate muffins, bars, wine, etc, so I’m telling you what I do on my “good” nights naturally! It’s a common struggle, I’m guessing.

    • I’ll pick up some natural popcorn this weekend.
      At least we don’t have much cookies and chocolate muffins lying around. 🙂

  16. I changed in my normal greasy and fattening evening options for my snacks for bananas, nectarines, canned mandarin oranges, fat free chocolate pudding, and small fruit smoothies. I am also trying to not eat anything after 9pm even though I stay up to 1-2am…it’s helped but sometimes I am just too hungry and grab another piece of fruit…

  17. I radically changed my schedule to get up at 5 a.m. and work until about 7:30 a.m. I hate getting up early, but it is easier to relax and play with the kids if I know I already got some work done. Then I work again when they are in bed, but I try to go to sleep by 9:30 p.m.

  18. 2 Presidents choice cookies dipped in a frozen glass full of Homo milk is my favorite midnight snack.

    When I feel guilty about that, I take frozen berries, some good tasting protein powder, yoghurt a “little” peanut butter + ice cream and make a smoothie. Then I vary the recipe to taste by changing the berry types or yoghurt etc. Ties you over, not too bad for you

    • I’ll update the main post with your suggestion. I don’t like shakes though. I had enough protein powder in my younger days. 🙂

  19. Try to keep a lot of healthy snacks around, and try to limit your buying of unhealthy snacks like chips. If you don’t have it in the house, then you can’t eat it!

  20. I can’t blog when my son is around, either I’m too distracted by what he’s doing and/or playing with him, or he’s hanging on me like a little monkey, climbing me as I type. I do most of my blogging late at night, and I get the munchies from time to time. I’ve learned to just drink a lot of water, and sometimes give in and have a small portioned snack, instead of a bigger one that I did want. It seems to work for me. 🙂

    • Mine is a crazy little monkey too. I usually drink water too. Maybe some kind of decaf tea might help to settle the stomach.

  21. Sugar free Jello. It’s almost like eating air, only 10 calories. It won’t be long until baby RB40 is in school and you won’t know what to do with the time, like me at this moment. It’s way too quiet in the house. I might have to turn on the muppets!

  22. I’m a bit extreme with most of what I do, so I try and keep celery and cucumbers (to eat as hand fruit) stocked in the house, as well as a few bags of spinach. When I want to eat “for no good reason” I grab any of that stuff and just munch away. With those 3 things I can eat until it’s coming out of my eyes and it’s not going to bust a button in my pants the next day.

    I find that for me it’s all about the crunch. So these 3 things (the stems on bagged spinach is pretty crunchy – I call it “spinach chips”) satisfy that craving. I sometimes put a little salt on cucumbers or spinach if I’m craving a salty snack or balsamic vinegar if I’m looking for something sweet. I also will grab a couple sugar free jello packs for something really sweet.

    • Those are pretty good suggestions. I’ll have to try them. I’m not sure if I can really stick with them though. I don’t like them all that much.

  23. I have to expand on Jason @WorkSaveLive’s suggestion: Besides the idea he mentions in his comment, he’s got lots of healthful and tasty recipes at his blog.

    For something quick & easy, I’d go for natural peanut better (ingredient list: Peanuts, and nothing else, i.e., not Skippy) on toasted flax bread with a half-glass of skim (or, even better, soy) milk, or Cheerios with berries for some flavor and sweetness. No sugar on top!

  24. I don’t have any kids either-but because one of my part time jobs requires me to be up till 1 AM I usually stay up that late most nights. Try pushing dinner back by an hour and a half. It does make a world of difference.

    I also enjoy greek yogurt with fruit topping-it takes awhile to get used to the taste but it’s got SO MUCH protein, which I’m sure as a man, you’ll enjoy 🙂

    • We used to eat later when we didn’t have a kid, but now we try to get dinner ready by 6:30pm at the latest. He usually gets hungry by 6pm. Greek yogurt with fruit is a good idea.

  25. No kids, but plenty of experience with midnight blogging and snacks. With how busy I am, I usually write my posts in a rush super late in the evening or super early in the morning. With snacks, try eating a healthy bowl of cereal. I prefer eating frosted flakes, but you could do better than me.

  26. I have a Southwest Quinoa salad on my blog that we often eat for snacks. We eat a lot of hummus as well as we’re testing out a new hummus dip tonight so I’ll let you know if that’s any good (hummus, feta, kalamata olives, red pepper, and cucumber).

    Thankfully for me I get up super early and try to get most of my blogging stuff knocked out then.

    • Mrs. RB40 hates Quinoa so we don’t have them on hand. I’ll pick some up and see if it will work.
      I think hummus is pretty healthy, right?

      • Hummus is basically just seasoned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and olive oil, some recipes call for tahini too but I personally leave it out. Lots of fiber and healthy oil. If you buy the beans in bulk and cook them yourself it can be a super cheap, easy, healthy snack. I don’t know how companies can sell a tiny little tub of what’s basically pureed beans for so much money, but once you make it yourself you’ll never go back, especially if you’re planning on early retirement.

        • The Mrs. tried making hummus a few times, but it never came out right. I’ll try it again myself. I’m a better cook anyway. 🙂

    • I already brush my teeth around 10pm. But that didn’t stop me from snacking. It’s too easy to brush my teeth again. 🙂
      I only snack 2-3 times/week, not every night.

  27. It’s kind of ridiculous how little I sleep, and I definitely feel your pain re: the late night snacks. I buy those pudding cups that are 4 for $1 (hey, frugal!), 100-calorie packs of dry roasted almonds, and cereal for the nights when I just really feel like I MUST eat. I really try to watch the snacking but it’s so hard not to eat something!

    • I like the almonds idea. The pudding cups probably aren’t going to be very good for me. It’s hard to resist the late night snack when you have the craving.

  28. There might be a a few other solutions if you think outside of the box a little.

    – a small video player you can set up on the floor or somewhere else that plays BRB40 friendly material, leaving your computer free.

    – having guest bloggers take one (or two) posts per week. Get Rish Slowly have a regular “meet a reader” kind of series, as does Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.

    – if you’re able to sleep on a regular pattern (i.e. to bed at the same hour, up at the same hour) just the constancy of the rhythm can decrease your sleep need. If young Mr. RB40 can be brought to take a nap at a certain time in the day, you can join him. If you do it at the same time every day, 20 minutes might be all you need. The key data point is that the regularity of your sleep schedule can reduce your body’s need for sleep.

    Back to the box:

    Have you considered a bowl of breakfast cereal, dry or with milk?
    Have you considered just milk? Milk is a food, not a beverage.
    Have you considered cheese, alone or with something else (doesn’t need to be bread)

    A snack that I found fills me up fast is dry-toast (the kind you buy in a bag or bake in the oven yourself) with cream cheese and salsa. It’s a variation of the pre-dinner snack that was popular a decade or so ago: the brick of cream cheese with salsa poured over it, which you chip away at with corn chips. My version is maybe a little healthier and more amenable to small portions.

    And finally, if you know you’re going to eat, have you thought about a rotation that includes things like salami, prosciutto, jerky, rice cakes, etc.?

    • Cereal is probably a good idea. We only have cheerio and that’s pretty healthy. I’ll try milk too.
      I’ll have to avoid the toast. It’s pure carb and won’t be good for my triglyceride level.
      Jerky is probably a good idea too.

  29. I had the same dilemma three years ago. My youngest was a toddler then and loves to watch Dora the Explorer, Barney, and Sesame Street on YouTube. She would sit on my lap while I work. It was difficult! When I had enough of her thing, I bought a second monitor and hooked it up on my computer. Good thing I was still using a desktop that time so I can plug in a second monitor. I work using the first monitor while she watches her stuff on the second monitor.

    • I was thinking about using my spare monitor for him, but then we would have a bunch of wires. I’ll try it and see if it will work. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • I don’t have any great suggestions for the munchies (I TRY to eat fresh or dried fruit or drink herbal tea, but starchy leftovers really entice me!), but I love that you both find a way to include your kids when you’re working as hard as that is. And I love the Muppets and think that they do a nice job of introducing music to the kids. My favorite is the Swedish Chef; check him out with the song “Hot Buttered Popcorn” from the 70’s:

  30. Pure Protein bars, the peanut butter with chocolate ones with a 16.9 oz bottle of water. It’s yummy and can be really filling if you actually drink the water with it.

    200 calories
    20 grams of protein
    2 grams of sugar
    16 grams of carbs

    Sorry you’re having such a hard time adjusting Joe, it will get easier as time goes by. 🙂

  31. Peanut butter or a handful of nuts is actually a pretty good midnight snack, especially if you’re exercising regularly. It helps to make you feel full, it stabilizes blood sugar and it’s full of protein. Almonds and macadamias are better than peanuts, but even peanuts are way better than ramen noodles for a late snack. When I was younger and had time to exercise more I used to eat 7 times a day, which included getting up in the middle of the night for a protein shake or some cottage cheese (another good nighttime alternative). Even with all that eating I was able to lose weight. Bottom line, avoid carbs at night and opt for protein.

    As for the time issue, I’m right there with you. One thing that has helped is synchronizing my daughters schedule to be more in line with mine. That means she goes to bed around midnight, same as me. It also means she doesn’t get up until 10am or so. This gives me 3 hours in the morning of quiet time to work. She also naps in the late afternoon, giving me another 2 hours (if I can resist the temptation to nap as well). As a bonus I can get work done at night while my wife has mommy time with her. It may not be ideal, and will certainly change when she is old enough for school, but it works well enough for now.

    • Are you exercising regularly? 🙂 It tough with a little kid.
      Baby RB40 saw me eating almonds and he tried to pry them out of my mouth. I had to give him a few cashew nuts instead.
      Wow, I don’t know about baby going to bed at midnight. We’ll see what we can do. Good suggestions!

  32. Very timely post. It’s after midnight and I’m Hungary. I usually eat a snack size popcorn because it is filling enough to get me through. However, sometimes I just want a burrito or burger!

    • Popcorn is a good suggestion. I’ll have to find some with no sugar & butter. I’ll have to see how much carb is in a packet though.


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