By Dt. Manoli Mehta
Even the most sensible, in control, strong-willed among us has fallen prey to midnight food craving. There is nothing more frustrating than sticking to your healthy eating plan during the day and getting caught out by snacking late at night. Late night food cravings and midnight fridge raids can be avoided and with a little awareness and planning you can beat the cravings that come after dinner.
After-dinner and before-bedtime snacking when not hungry can result in consuming unneeded calories. Often this may be due to boredom, stress or tiredness.
Try these tips by Dt. Manoli Mehta to help banish food craving and curb after-dinner snacking; and, if you must snack, go for nutritious options.
Tips to Banish Midnight Food Craving
- Don’t Skip Meals.
Never cut off carbs completely from any meal; eat small portions of snacks frequently. Eat mindfully through the day, so that you don’t have to eat mindlessly, late at night.
- Always Eat well Before you drink.
Have your dinner early if you are going out for a party at night; drink alcohol in moderation. Make sure you replace the lost fluids with adequate water consumed intermittently, throughout the night, between alcoholic beverages.
- End Mealtime Madness.
Spend a little time planning ahead and grocery shopping for nutritious meals, including breakfast, and snacks throughout the week. When you eat a variety of foods throughout the day according to your hunger and fullness, you’re less likely to overeat at night.
- Boost Protein and Load up on fiber.
Protein can help you feel full faster and for longer, so ensuring you incorporate protein during meals and snacks may help with mindless snacking. Dietary fiber also helps us feel full, in addition to being protective of intestinal and heart health. Find fiber in whole grains, legumes such as beans and lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
- Get Sleep.
Sleep deprivation can impair glucose metabolism and affect hormones linked to hunger, appetite and body weight regulation. When we get too little sleep, we may confuse tiredness for hunger. If you’re tempted to keep snacking after a balanced dinner, that may be a sign that your body needs rest. Adults should strive for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Still Starving after Dinner? People often eat out of boredom, because of stress, or just out of habit rather than from true hunger. Consider asking yourself the following questions before eating: Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Am I tired? Am I bored? Am I sad?
If you are still hungry after ruling out other factors, it’s OK to have a snack. Opt for foods with high protein and fiber and eat small portions slowly, and without distractions.
TIP: Dt. Manoli Mehta recommends popcorn, pumpkin seeds, handful of nuts, greek yogurt, banana with peanut butter, as options.