Are you craving sweets after your evening meal?
Can’t sit down to watch TV without a packet of chips?
Night-time eating is something many of us do, and it can often prevent us from achieving our weight loss goals due to the nibble calories adding up.
So why do we do it?
Usually it’s not because we are actually hungry, given that we have just eaten our dinner. Boredom, skipping daytime meals, habit, fatigue and stress are more often the unsuspected culprits.
Check out these 6 tips to break the habit:
Think about what you ate over the day.
Did you skip breakfast and/or lunch and did not eat during the day? If you skip meals you are likely to be ignoring your appetite cues. This is easy to do during the day as we are generally busier and distracted, making it easier to ignore our appetite sensations.
But at night during the quiet time, these sensations hit us. Try not to skip meals during the day – plan your meals ahead if you know you are going to be busy or add a reminder alarm on your phone or email!
Think about what you had for dinner.
If you are feeling genuinely hungry after your evening meal, it’s likely because your meal was out of balance.
Make sure you include lean protein with your meal and plenty of vegetables for vitamins, minerals and fibre – protein and fibre act as natural appetite suppressants and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Be mindful: ask yourself if you are actually hungry.
This will help to increase your awareness of whether you are physically hungry, or psychologically hungry, that is are you craving food for other reasons, like for comfort after a hard day at work.
If you are not genuinely hungry, consider why you want to eat.
Are you feeling tired? Is it a habit to share some chocolate with your partner at the end of a long day? Are you bored? Identifying the why will help you to develop specific strategies that target the cause of your cravings.
Ask yourself ‘what can I do instead?’
- Try distracting yourself – take a shower or bath, tick off some household chores, make a phone call to a friend or go for a walk.
- Have a big drink of water or a herbal tea to help the time pass.
Choose a healthy snack
If you just can’t beat the head-hunger, choose a healthy alternative such as fresh or tinned fruit salad, a small handful of unsalted nuts or some low fat yoghurt, and eat this slowly.
So next time you’re tempted by the midnight munchies, try working through these tips and beat the night-time eat!
Enjoy the change…