By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Families rushing from work and school to games and band concerts can find it hard to sit down for dinner. Sometimes that means eating dinner later at night.

But is it really unhealthy to eat after 7 p.m.?

“I would say it depends,” said registered dietitian Liz Vander Laan with Allina Health. “I don’t think 7 p.m. is hard-and-fast rule.”

She says when a person eats can depend on their schedule. For example, she sees patients who do shift work and return home late at night after only eating breakfast and lunch.

“The best thing to do is fuel your body when you need it,” Vander Laan said. “If you’re eating below your needs, I don’t think it’s a major issue to have.”

It can also depend on what a person ate earlier in the day.

“If you’ve already eaten enough for the day, then maybe you shouldn’t,” she said.

Finally, it really depends on what you eat. Skip the chocolate, cookies, ice cream and processed foods each night. They should be only on occasion. If you really have the munchies, Vander Laan says stick with whole foods, like fruit, yogurt, vegetables, meats or eggs.

“Trying to have whole foods is the key to being healthy, being satisfied and living longer,” she said.

Heather Brown