You’ve finished dinner, cleaned up the dishes and retire to the couch to watch re-runs of Friends and that’s when you start thinking about the chips that you stashed away in the pantry…
Many of my clients come to me telling me that they eat “good” all day to only raid their pantry in the evening for anything salty or sweet or both!
So how do you end late-night snacking for good?
The first question you should consider at this moment is “Are you actually physically hungry?” Check out my blog on hunger cues if you’re not sure.
This question is key because many people restrict how much they eat during the day which leaves their body starving for food later. So, are you fuelling properly?
What does fuelling properly mean? It is supplying your body with wholesome satisfying nutrients throughout the day in balance. A general guideline for fueling your body would be to have a meal or snack every 3-4 hours. With each meal/snack think of the 3 musketeers: protein, fat, carbohydrates. By including all three macronutrients it helps you feel satisfied after eating.
Protein takes longer to digest and stays in the stomach the longest of the 3 macronutrients. So, it helps you feel satisfied longer, balances out blood sugar with a steady release of glucose instead of quick absorption that you would see from table sugar. Adding a bit of protein to your snacks with up your satisfaction. Having an apple is great but you can make that snack more satisfying if you pair it with nut butter or a handful of nuts. A general rule for the amount of protein you require at each meal would be one 1 palm-size serving for women and 2 palm-size servings for men.
Dietary fat triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin which suppresses hunger, allowing you to feel satiated after eating. A general rule for the amount of fat you require at each meal is about a thumb worth (unless you’re following a keto diet protocol).
Carbohydrates are not just pasta, bread, and pastries. Carbohydrates are also found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds. Carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream as glucose. The quality of carbohydrates determines how quickly that happens.
Simple carbs found in sweets, candy, pop, fruit juice, table sugar – are absorbed very quickly resulting in a large spike in blood sugar followed by a crash – it is that crash that we are trying to avoid because it leaves you craving more sugar to quickly bring your blood sugar back up. Instead, try to choose complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. The fibre found in these slows down the rate at which they are absorbed leaving you with a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. My guideline for carbohydrates is the more vegetables the better! I suggest filling the rest of your plate with as many vegetables as you can.
Following a balanced meal plan can be very helpful in showing you how nourishing your body throughout the day and greatly impact your eating habits. (The Meal Plan Club offers monthly balanced meal plans for less than your Netflix subscription.)
For many people, the above fuelling methods will greatly impact their late-night snacking. If you answered “no” to the first question about physical hunger, the next question is – "what are you experiencing right now that is triggering you to eat?"