10 ways to deal with nighttime snacking:
Written by Rev Nutritionist Rebecca Desousa
REMOVE TEMPTATION: out of sight out of mind. You are less likely to not eat something if it unavailable to you. If you don’t have ice cream in the house it is less likely you will go out and get ice cream. If you have a healthy relationship with food keeping a healthy distance from your trigger snacks can beat unhealthy overeating nighttime snacking.
EAT A BALANCED DINNER: Eating more of a balance in nutrition and eating meals with the adequate amounts of macros throughout the day helps manage the nighttime munchies. A balanced meal leaves you more satisfied and less likely to be physically hungry and have cravings to snack more.
PORTIONS: If you are going to snack be mindful of how much you need to satisfy your craving and how much you can fit into your daily allowance for the day. Moderation is key. Plate a snack instead of eating out of a box or bag or grab a pre-portioned snack. Be mindful and enjoy your snack instead of mindlessly eating it.
ADOPT A NEW HABIT: You may not find yourself tempted with food throughout the day because you are busy, but once nighttime comes around and you are able to unwind it is harder to resist the urge to eat. Try to adopt a new habit to do at night read a book, plan your day for tomorrow, go for a walk, take a bath, watch a new tv series, write in a journal, color, call a read, etc.
CREATE A SNACK ALTERNATIVE: If you are craving sweets, find some alternatives. For instance you want chocolate make a chocolate protein shake or protein pudding or protein pancakes, sugar free jello with some whipped cream, or have cottage cheese with fruit, Greek yogurt w/ Splenda and fruit.You will find the high protein combination will help you feel full. If it is salt you crave, have something like string cheese, lightly salted rice cake, egg whites, jerky, air popped popcorn, etc.
BUILD SNACKS INTO YOUR DAY: If you know you always want a snack after dinner put a snack in and work your day around that snack so you can look forward to it!
HAVE DESSERT: If you tell yourself you cannot have something, and you swear off sweets or chips, that itself can make the cravings intensify. We always want what we "can't" have. Satisfy the craving by either fitting it into your day or making a macro-friendly version or make sure you have it at your next cheat meal/relaxed meal.
STAY HYDARTED: Drink plenty of water and drinks like hot tea, coffee and sparkling water can help with cravings.
STAY MINTY FRESH: Brush your teeth and kick back some mouthwash after your meal. Sometimes we simply want to continue eating a highly palatable food, and if we still have that flavor in our mouths, it can make us want more. Sugar free gum and mints are good to have on hand as well.
GO TO SLEEP: I am not saying go to bed hungry, but getting a good night’s sleep helps your mental stamina to eat healthy and balanced. When you are cranky and tired, you tend to want to snack more, versus when you have a good night’s sleep. You may not be hungry, you might just need to go to sleep. But if you are truly hungry eat something don’t be afraid to eat before bed!!