5 Ways to Take Control of Late-Night Snacking
Do you find yourself staring at the fridge or pantry at night, fighting the urge to grab that bag of chips? Late night snacking is a common barrier when it comes to meeting health and wellness goals. Use these 5 tips to take control of your late-night snacking and make it work for you!
- Make sure you are getting enough calories during the day
One of the most common reasons why people are hungry for that midnight snack is because they didn’t get enough calories during the day. It is so important to understand how many calories you need per day, because those calories are what keep your heart beating and your blood flowing, and your temperature regulated. They also give you the energy you need to play with your kids, walk your dog, and get your exercise in. So, if it is the end of the day and you haven’t gotten enough, your body will definitely let you know! Reach out to one of our registered dietitians or health educators if you have questions about how many calories you need to nourish your body!
- Drink Water
This one is so important, not just at night, but throughout the whole day! If you are dehydrated, it is harder for your internal organs to do their job. Without enough fluid, the liver has a hard time releasing glycogen (aka stored energy), and when the body can’t access its energy stores it will trigger cravings to let you know that it needs energy! A helpful tool when you have a craving is to drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes to see if the urge goes away.
- Make Healthy Swaps
If you know that you are getting enough calories in and you are also staying hydrated it may just come down to the fact that you have created a habit of having something at night. Instead of trying to stop snacking all together, try to replace the snacks you are having with a healthier alternative. This is a great time to incorporate some probiotic rich foods for the added digestive benefit like a glass of kombucha or kefir, or a serving of sauerkraut. It is good to avoid having anything too high in calories before bed, so try to stick to foods under 200 calories. Cherries may be a good choice, as they also contain a little melatonin. A banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter may also be a good option.
- Practice Mindfulness
It is good to practice mindful eating at every meal, but it can be especially helpful for nighttime snacking. Try to minimize distractions while eating. Sit down at the table and really take the time to enjoy your snack. It is a lot easier to blow through a whole bag of pretzels when you are having them while watching tv or playing a game. Notice how your food looks and smells, pay attention to the way the texture and flavor feel in your mouth. This will make your food more enjoyable and you will likely be satisfied with a smaller amount.
- Don’t Feel Guilty About the Occasional Indulgence
One of the most important parts of living a healthy lifestyle is finding a balance. This means allowing those occasional indulgences. This can be helpful for many reasons. One being that it can help enhance our relationship with food if we take away the idea of “bad” foods or foods that are off limits. Sure, having cookies every night is not the healthiest habit, but having 1-2 cookies every now and then is perfectly healthy! One cookie will not make you gain weight, just like one salad will not make you lose weight.