Snacking Late=More Weight
One of the biggest problems facing those of us trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle is the dreaded late night eating. Snacking after dinner and just before bed is a problem that plagues a large segment of the population, and this can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insomnia. Curling up on the couch after dinner under a blanket catching up on the shows you’ve missed with your favorite sugary snack is a habit most of us have grown up with, but it’s really not the best course of action if you want to maintain a healthy weight. Let’s look at the reasons why we sometimes snack late night and then try to understand what snacks can be appropriate for after dinner eating.
There can be several reasons why we feel the need to snack at night: boredom, stress, feeling alone, mental or physical fatigue, or simply out of habit. Clearly none of these are good reasons to eat late night and sabotage your weight-loss goals.
First, it’s important to be aware of why we want to eat, if we understand why, we can then choose not to overindulge. Understand that food is simply to nourish our bodies it is not meant to placate, satiate, or fill the void we think we may have in our lives. When we are not aware and eat for the reasons stated above, we tend to overdo it. Let’s be realistic about this, before the first 30 minute sitcom is over it’s easy to consume an entire bag of chips, a box of cookies, or the irresistible pint of Ben & Jerry’s! If we know why we’re doing this we can make the informed decision to eat only because we are still a little hungry.
There are a few ways to try to stave off that late night “hunger feeling”. First ensure that you eat 3 square meals a day, consuming most of your daily calories at dinner to help carry you through the night. Keep in mind that the type of dinner you consume can affect your hunger later on, dinners high in fiber and protein have lots more staying power than does most other foods. In addition, eat slowly and drink lots of water so that your brain has time enough to send out that “I’m full” feeling and the water fills the voids we would ordinarily fill with snacks. Make a household rule that all food must be consumed at the dinner table and you’ll be less likely to go to the table for a late night snack and miss part of your show. After dinner walks or moderate exercise can also curb that hunger feeling. Above all else make the choice that after 8 is way too late!
Of course there are times when you feel you must have something to eat after dinner and before bed and that’s ok, as long as you eat the proper foods and realize why you’re eating in the first place so as to not overindulge. Below is a list of healthy late night snacks that can keep the hunger bug away and not ruin your diet.
- small can of tuna & a few crackers
- lite popcorn
- low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese
- small bag of nuts
- small bowl sugar free cereal with fat free milk
- handful of raw veggies
- sugar free peanut butter on celery or apples
Those are just a few of the many snacks that can satisfy the late night snack craving without ruining your diet or waistline. Remember, everything in moderation! The goal is to eat properly early and not ruin it late. Because snacking after 8 is the way to put on the weight!