In today’s fast-paced world, sticking to a regular meal routine can be a real struggle for working adults. The demands of our busy lives often make it difficult to even grab a quick lunch, let alone plan a well-timed dinner.

And to make matters worse, the daily battle with traffic and long commutes can stretch the workday, leaving us with precious little time to prepare and enjoy a healthy dinner.

As a result, many of us ends up eating well after 8pm, a far cry from the recommended 6pm dinner goal for good health.

But hey, life happens, and we get it. If you can’t swing that 6pm dinner, just keep an eye on what you’re eating, especially if you’re watching your waistline.

Why should you eat before 6pm?

Eating before the clock strikes 6pm or steering clear of late-night meals is a common piece of advice often linked to good health. Here’s why it’s a good idea:

  • Promotes a healthy sleep routine by aiding digestion and preventing discomfort.
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight by reducing late-night snacking
  • Allow the body to burn more calories before sleep.
  • Reduce the risk of heartburn and indigestion.

However, it’s important to note that the timing of your meals is just one piece of the puzzle. Your overall dietary choices and lifestyle matter a lot too.

9 foods to avoid after 6pm

Various types of cheese

For all cheese-lovers, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but having cheese post-6pm can actually burden your digestive system more than you might think.

This is because cheese is rich in saturated fats and may take up to five hours to digest, with no adequate time for digestion. It can lead to discomfort and indigestion, causing you to experience bloating, gas, and an upset stomach.

Plus, you’re probably passing gas a lot while you sleep. If you must indulge in cheese in the evening, opt for fresh, low-fat varieties like cottage cheese or ricotta.

Fatty meats

It’s common for many of us to indulge in steak, bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and ribs, basically fatty meats, for dinner.

However, while they’re all extremely delicious and juicy, these fatty meats can be tough to digest, leaving you feeling heavy and potentially causing sleep disturbances. What’s more is having such foods late at night can also be a potential reason for weight gain.

Instead, opt for lean meats like chicken or turkey, or include small portions of beans or eggs in your evening meal.


Chocolate contains stimulating compounds such as caffeine and theobromine, which have the potential to disrupt sleep and place extra stress on the liver, especially if it’s dark chocolate. Plus, we know what caffeine does, keeping us alert. Hence, why it’s best to avoid them at night.

Spicy foods

Well, we Malaysians do love our spicy food, but here’s the scoop; indulging in those fiery flavours for dinner can stir up indigestion and leave you tossing and turning at night.

Additionally, for those who have gastric, this may cause you to have acid reflux, which isn’t a pleasant feeling to experience at all!

Spicy foods like curries, chilies, and hot sauces, boast high levels of capsaicin, a chemical compound known to disrupt the body’s thermoregulation process, leading to an increase in body temperature.

Instead of loading up on pepper and chilli, consider adding a twist to your dishes with aromatic herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, and basil.

Cabbage and cruciferous vegetables

Though cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are low in calorie, and rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fibre, they’re actually hard to digest, taking their sweet time, up to 5 hours.

As a result, they can cause you to experience belly-bloating, leading to gas and indigestion. To avoid this, it’s best to savour these veggies earlier in the day.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, often take more time to digest, especially when they’re prepared with oil.

For a lighter meal, consider opting for white fish fillets, such as halibut, dory, sea bass, or even some frozen cod. They are not only healthier but also lower in fat compared to red meat fish.

Fried and greasy foods

Indulging in fried treats like chicken, french fries, and onion rings is undeniably tempting, but enjoying these delights at night can invite digestive discomfort, especially in the form of heartburn and acid reflux during dinner.

For a night of better sleep, digestion and to keep your weight in check, opt for kinder cooking techniques like baking or steaming.

Ice cream and candies

This sweet temptation is a calorie bomb. Unless you’re hitting the dance floor in the evening, those calories are unlikely to burn off.

Having too much sugar before bedtime can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels, making it harder to fall asleep and potentially causing nighttime awakenings.

Making this a regular habit may also negatively affect your health, such as contributing to obesity and the mother of all diseases, diabetes. So, if you have a craving for sweets, opt for sugar-free ice cream or, even better, enjoy fresh seasonal fruits.


While salads are frequently hailed as a healthy choice, they usually consist of various raw vegetables, which can be hard to digest in the evening when the digestive system tends to take its time. This can lead to these veggies fermenting in the stomach, resulting in bloating and sleep disruptions.

It’s better to savour your salads during lunchtime for a smoother evening ahead.

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