Most people deal with the nightly temptation to eat sweet or salty snacks. It’s the end of a long, stressful today, so it seems like it’s all right to indulge, even though it may sabotage an otherwise healthy day.
Indulging in the after dinner munchies may satisfy a craving, but it can quickly derail fitness, health and nutrition goals. Beat the late night snack cravings by implementing even a few of the following strategies.
- If it’s not healthy, don’t put it in the cupboard. When your late night snacking choices are limited by what’s on hand, it’s much easier to make smart decisions.
- Plan a nutritious snack. Manage your cravings by keeping smart munching alternatives on hand. Try some raw carrots, a few slices of low fat cheese or fresh fruit. Sometimes, we crave what we know we can have, and you may actually find yourself looking forward to that apple.
- Keep your hands occupied. You may be snacking because it gives your hands something to do. Keep yourself busy in other ways by knitting, cleaning or exercising to beat the cravings.
- Schedule evening activities. Whether you take an exercise class, learn a language or join a book club, having something to look forward to in the evening can be tremendously helpful. These activities also bring a sense of belonging, which can reduce the emotional triggers that cause some people to overeat.
- Don’t sit in front of the TV. With so many food commercials being played, it’s almost impossible to resist having a snack. Switch out TV time for game playing time with the family. Alternatively, you might read a book, work on a hobby or go for a walk.
- Eat breakfast. Surprisingly, choosing not to skip this morning meal, which should be consumed within about an hour after getting up, can help control late night cravings by jump starting your metabolism.
- Eat frequently. Nutritionists recommend four to five small meals spaced evenly throughout the day for optimum health. This keeps your metabolism moving and means that you’re eating enough during the day to be able to avoid late night snacks.
- Brush your teeth. It’s a necessary nighttime chore and it signals that it’s time to stop eating. Also, food doesn’t taste as good just after brushing.
- Reduce stress. Control emotional eating triggers by meditating, doing some yoga or writing in a journal.
Since we are what we eat, let’s all try to reduce our junk food intake, especially late at night.
Your Health . . . It’s Worth It!
Dr. Kate Gerber & Dr. John Gerber