You might think that ditching the coffee in the late afternoon or evening might be enough to prevent you from getting too wired at night, but think again.
Sure, it’s smart to swap out coffee for other drinks that are not caffeinated as the day progresses, such as peppermint tea or water, but you can also feel the stimulating effects of caffeine by eating certain foods, too.
So, you have to be careful about what you’re putting on your plate for dinner and dessert, especially if you happen to have a lower personal tolerance to caffeine intake and find yourself more sensitive and alert. Here are a few surprisingly sneaky sources of caffeine to watch out for too close to bedtime.
Coffee Flavored Yogurt and Ice Cream
Yes, “coffee” might seem like a giveaway, but generally we don’t consider a flavoring to be the same as coffee—which is a mistake. It’s not easy to get the flavoring of coffee without the caffeine, unless a product specifically says it is decaffeinated or free of caffeine.
Most coffee flavored yogurts and ice creams, as well as any other types of sauces, snack foods or spreads, will actually contain a fair amount of caffeine that may keep you awake. Switch to plain or differently flavored yogurt for your afternoon slump snack, instead.
Chocolate (And Chocolate Milk!)
We talk about dark chocolate’s rich flavonoid content for heart health and antioxidants, as it’s a great option for a dessert or sweet snack to settle a craving.
However, if you are one to get more affected by caffeine, having that chocolate for dessert could actually stimulate you too much and make it hard to become drowsy. If you’re sensitive, switch to a different kind of dessert or go with white chocolate, which doesn’t have cocoa in it. If you’re working out late at night, don’t drink chocolate milk for recovery either—keep that for post-workout in the A.M. only.
Certain Cereals and Protein Bars
While protein bars are easy to eat anytime, anywhere, some do have caffeine based on the type of flavor it is. Be sure to check labels to guarantee you’re not eating caffeinated protein bars too close to bed—there are many other caffeine-free flavors and options to choose from. You can save the caffeinated picks for the morning.
The same goes for cereals and granolas, as some that have chocolate or coffee may have caffeine. For instance, Cocoa Puffs will have some trace of caffeine! Always check labels if you’re concerned.
Kombucha and Yerba Mate Tea
While you may think that kombucha and yerba mate, which is an herbal tea, are free of caffeine, they actually may have some caffeine content. And that means they’re no better than coffee, matcha or green tea, or black tea during those evening hours.
Check labels on kombucha to be sure, and know that yerba mate does actually contain caffeine. And one last tip? Decaffeinated coffee does actually have a tiny trace! So, if you’re really sensitive to caffeine, avoid it too.