We have all been there. The kids are in bed and the house is quiet so you turn on the television to catch up on your favorite shows… with a giant bowl of popcorn or a bowl of ice cream. You sit in front of the television for a few hours while you are noshing on your popcorn, and you scrape the bottom of the bowl that you hardly remember eating it all! Could your nighttime snacking be causing you to gain weight?
When it comes to evening snacking, what you decide to eat makes a difference in weight gain. Most of the time when we stand in front of the cupboard or fridge, it is out of boredom and not hunger. We finally get a moment to ourselves after a long day and feel like we should reward ourselves with some snacks.
After a few nights of evening snacks, it starts to become a habit and you start to notice your pants are getting a little tighter or you are feeling groggier than normal in the morning. So how do you curb the nighttime snacking cycle and the potential weight gain from eating the wrong things? Here are some steps you can take to finally curb your mindless snacking around midnight!
4 Steps to Curb Nighttime Snacking
1. Identify if what you are feeling is true hunger or just boredom.
- If you are hungry, you should eat something healthy to end the feeling of hunger. The best foods to eat at night are protein and fat sources. An example would be scrambled egg whites and avocado or Greek yogurt mixed with peanut butter.
- If you are bored, you want something crunchy, salty or sweet. Something you don’t have to prepare and can be eaten in front of the television, i.e. snack foods.
2. If you are hungry – eat!
- However, don’t do it in front of the television. Instead sit and focus on what you are eating.
- Stick with foods that are protein and fat sources. Avoid sugar and carbohydrates.
- If you are active and engage in weight lifting your body will use the protein. Also, fat helps to keep you satiated longer.
3. If you are bored – find something to do that will make snacking difficult.
- Pick up a book, and not an e-book, and read until you get sleepy. Bright screens like computers, tablets, phones, etc. can mess with your mind when trying to fall asleep.
- Have a nice conversation with your spouse/significant other.
- Organize the mail or clean up a cluttered area.
- Find a craft you enjoy like knitting, beading, or scrap booking.
- If it is late enough go to bed! The extra sleep will do you good.
4. Keep a journal of how you feel the next morning if you do end up snacking.
- Write down what you ate and then how you felt in the morning.
- When you eat carbohydrate heavy foods you will tend to be groggier in the morning and may feel bloated. This is because unused carbohydrates (i.e. a big bowl of popcorn) are not easily digested while you sleep.
Follow these steps and you will find how easy it can be to create a new nightly habit that doesn’t involve a large bowl of popcorn or a bowl of ice cream. These steps are set up to help you curb your night time snacking. Who knows you might even find a new hobby you enjoy or finish that book you have been meaning to read!