Sometimes, even when we're diligent about eating healthy, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly -- late-night snacking can creep in and become a habit that's hard to break.
It's like a routine (and really, it is a routine, that's the point!) that has you mindlessly walking to the kitchen at the same time every evening to grab something to snack on.
There are several reasons this habit has snuck its way into your life, but let's talk about some ways we can change this habit once and for all.
Build variety into your meals
Believe it or not, the variety has a lot to do with why you're snacking. Eating different foods from breakfast, lunch, and dinner that speak to your hunger will make it less likely for you to overeat after hours. Eat a variety of balanced meals, and you'll find you'll be distancing yourself from those late-night cravings.
Have more fiber and protein
Fiber is a critical nutrient that can keep you feeling good and satisfied for so much longer. Beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are excellent fiber sources. For women, you should aim to eat 25 grams of fiber per day. Protein can also serve to keep you feeling full, with the bonus of making you feel full more quickly.
Sleep well every night
Work on getting to bed at a decent hour every night. If you burn the midnight oil, you can cause an imbalance in your metabolism and set off those hunger hormones. This will cause you to feel hungry when your body is really just tired. One key signal is the desire to keep on snacking even after you've eaten a balanced meal for dinner. Try turning in for the night instead.
Don't eat and watch TV
When we're engrossed in a TV show or movie, it's too easy to keep shoveling food by the forkful, spoonful, or fistful into our mouths. You won't notice when you're truly satisfied. If you want a snack, it helps to portion it out, so you don't have an endless popcorn bag you've zoned out while eating.
Choose nutritious snacks instead
Sometimes though, you really ARE hungry. It could be that a busy day has thrown you off, and you didn't eat enough. But the only way to know for sure is to ask yourself if you're tired, bored, sad, or even just thirsty. Start with a glass of water. If you still feel hungry after drinking that, then you might be right. In this case, cut some veggies and spoon some hummus onto a plate to have a healthy snack.
Even if you do snack late at night with healthy options, you'll feel a lot better.
Would you love to learn even more manageable ways to accomplish your health goals and feel healthy and energized?
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Health and happiness,
Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC
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