Many people find themselves eating late at night, even when they aren’t hungry. Night time eating can cause you to eat more calories than you need and lead to weight gain and overall poor health.
Identify the Cause and triggers of your night time snacking
Establish a Night Time Routine
- People who snack at night might be suffering from a serious eating disorder e.g. Binge eating or night eating disorder
- It could also be due to boredom or actual hunger (especially if one’s supper was too little)
- Identifying the root cause of night time snacking, will help solve the problem
- Monitoring your behavior patterns and identifying what triggers you to eat at night will help you break cycles of emotional eating.
- It helps to keep a food & mood diary to help trace the patterns if any
- Establish a favorable eating and sleeping and eating routine
- It also helps to be away from television , maybe opt. for a reading routine before sleeping time
- Structured eating and sleeping times helps to spread your food intake over the day so that you’re less hungry at night
Eat regularly throughout the day
- When we are really hungry, we are more likely to make poor food choices and reach for high-fat, high-sugar junk foods
- Eating regular meals will prevent you from getting too hungry and will help you manage your cravings and food impulses.
Include good quality protein foods at every meal
- Protein foods are known to help increase satiety
- Including protein at every meal can reduce cravings and nighttime eating
- Good quality protein is the one that is low in fat e.g. Low fat cheese, eggs, lean cuts of meat, fish, legumes (e.g. soy beans), nuts
Clean your pantry – Remove all Junk foods
- We tend to eat more junk foods when they are available – important to not keep these in the house and only buy once in a while as treats
- Keep healthy snacks in the house such as fruits, nuts, plain yogurt and cottage cheese
- Take any unhealthy junk food out of the house. Doing so will stop you from snacking on it throughout the night
- If the craving then hits you – always try your best to distract yourself
- If you are eating out of boredom, then try finding something else you enjoy doing in the evening to keep your mind occupied. This can been even taking a long warm bath after a long day’s work
Remember: It is all a process and nothing happens overnight. You might get your snacking right today and getting all wrong tomorrow, it is okay because it’s all a process.
Mbali Mapholi (RD)
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