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Late-Night Snacking


 By | November 12, 2020 | 1 Comment
 Category: General Wellness Healthy Diet

A few years ago, I got into a bad habit of snacking after dinner until pretty much the time I climbed into bed. I would eat dinner at a normal hour (6:00 pm), but then, only a couple of hours later, I’d find myself poking around in the kitchen looking for something to eat. I’d typically end up consuming hundreds of extra calories even though I wasn’t really hungry. I knew I needed to get control of my nighttime snacking or my jeans would get too tight, so I started to implement some new eating habits to help me rein in my nighttime snacking. These things work for me, and I know I’m not alone with my struggles, so hopefully they’ll work for you too!

Eat a substantial and satisfying dinner

This is easily the most effective strategy for getting my evening snacking in control. What I put on my plate early in the night definitely determines whether I start snacking a couple of hours later. For years, I focused on eating low-calorie and low-fat foods, which, not surprisingly, never satisfied me, but, eventually I learned that a healthy mix of protein, fat, and carbs are key for controlling how much I eat in the evening after dinner. Now I make a real effort to include more protein in dinners. My favorites are chicken, fish, beef, eggs and nuts. Not surprisingly, I feel a lot more satisfied after meals and less tempted to raid my kitchen.

Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time

If I know I’ll feel tempted to snack late at night, I prepare for the munchies by stocking my kitchen with a bunch of healthy options, so I don’t go overboard in just one sitting. I find when I pair nutritious carbohydrates with a little bit of fat and protein into my snacks, it really satisfies me, so I don’t end up snacking the night away. My favorite post-dinner snacks are sliced banana with nut butter, baby carrots with guacamole, and fruit smoothie made with almond milk, protein powder, and frozen chopped kale and berries.

Sip a beverage slowly

Slowly sipping a low-calorie beverage often halts my nighttime snacking. Instead of snacking away, I pour myself a drink, sit down on the couch with it, and relax. I focus my attention on sipping slowly and take my time. By the time I finish, I usually don’t want to snack anymore. My favorite post-dinner beverages are a warm mug of vanilla rooibos tea or unsweetened coconut milk.

Brush (and floss) your teeth

If I have a case of the munchies in the evening after dinner, I brush my teeth, floss, and use mouthwash to curb my snacking. My whole oral hygiene routine usually takes me a little while to complete, so I often don’t snack again because I don’t want to dirty up my clean mouth (or repeat my routine again).

Go to bed

If I stay awake late into the night, I inevitably end up wanting to snack. I can’t mindlessly munch if I’m asleep, so instead of burning the midnight oil, I head to bed at a reasonable hour. I also notice that I’m hungrier when I’m tired, so getting more sleep is key to controlling my cravings.

Pick a “stop eating time”

To avoid consuming unnecessary calories at night, I pick a “stop eating” time about two or three hours before I go to bed. For example, if 7:00 pm is my “stop eating time,” and I’m a little hungry after dinner, I have a small snack, but I stop eating after that. Selecting a time in my mind mentally helps me prepare to stop snacking.

Find a distraction

A lot of the time, I find that I want to snack at night out of boredom, so to prevent this, I keep myself busy with activities that distract me from mindless eating, such as giving myself a manicure, cleaning the house, organizing a junk drawer, creating a board on Pinterest, calling my mom or sister, or reading in bed. When my mind is distracted by an activity, I don’t end up snacking.

 

 

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One thought on “Late-Night Snacking

Sheryl says:

Flossing my teeth always signals that eating time is officially OVER.

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