How to stop late night snacking Plus an amazing healthy Nutella ball recipe
One of the most frustrating cycles many of my clients describe is the need to snack. They will be super disciplined during the day, and then everything falls apart after dark. Which, of course, will generally stall progress for those who are holding on to excess weight.
Believe it or not, there are very simple reasons this is happening – and it’s not a matter of willpower! In my nutritional opinion, nighttime is for rest. It is not a time to burden our bodies with too much food and to strain our digestive systems. We spend a good part of the day eating, and now our body simply wants to sleep. With these tips, you can make rest and repair the priority.
Start eating more protein
Are you getting enough protein? Probably not, and especially not at dinner. This macronutrient keeps us full and satisfied. Interestingly, protein also contains chemicals, like tryptophan, that help you fall asleep. Fill up on protein at dinner and you’ll not only have less of an urge to snack later, you’ll also be ready for bed at a decent hour.
A stressed mind and body will often turn to food. If you’re under a lot of stress, you may find you get a second wind in the evening – this may also tell your body that you want food. My tip? Really listen to what your body wants. Stop and put your legs up against the wall for ten minutes. It will relax your nervous system and help prepare you for sleep. Enjoy an early night!
Balance your blood sugars
Ensure you’re eating not only enough protein but also good fats at each meal instead of a purely carbohydrate-based meal. Sugar and refined carbs (like white bread and pasta) will cause your blood sugar to crash. I recommend a generally low carb/low sugar diet, but gluten-free, complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa are great staples and will help stop the chocolate cravings.
Don’t drink coffee after 3pm
Not only will the caffeine impact your ability to fall asleep later, it will also have a direct impact on your blood sugar level – which, often leads to those nighttime cravings. Try to cut caffeine by 3pm.
Avoid the sweet snacks at 4pm
In my clinic, the people who have a sugary treat in the afternoon tend to crave sweets after dinner too. Instead, enjoy a protein rich snack in the afternoon – nuts, seeds, protein shake or some Greek yoghurt with cinnamon and stevia, if you like. It’s surprisingly decadent and you won’t miss the sugar!
Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol, whether a glass or two of wine with dinner or a few beers after work will affect your sleeping patterns, and will also make you likely to snack more – especially late at night when you’re more susceptible to eat mindlessly. If you often binge after you get home from the pub, keep a stack of healthy foods to hand so that at least you’re eating healthy!
Stay off your phone after dinner
It’s best to avoid the computer and phones in the evening as much as possible. The screen time impacts the hormones needed to help us sleep. If you ensure your environment prepares you for sleep, you won’t need the late night snack anyway! Going to bed early is what your body is truly craving.
If you still want to snack, try this:
Healthy nutella bliss ball recipe!
1 cup fresh dates, pitted
1 heaped Tbsp. hazelnut butter
½ cup hazelnuts
1 Tbsp. cacao
Pinch of sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend.
- Roll into balls, then roll balls in cacao, cinnamon or crushed nuts.
- Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, and store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
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