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How many times in the last month have you finished dinner, only to find yourself looking in the fridge or pantry for something else to eat not long after? More times than you can count?
Maybe you've been told: just brush your teeth! Listen to some music. Go for a walk. Read a book. Get naked in front of a mirror. Don't get me wrong, some of these strategies work for some people. But what I've been told over and over again by clients is that they can't stick with it in the long term. So let's explore some more realistic solutions.
Here are 5 ways to deal with these late night cravings:
1) Eat enough dinner.
This doesn't mean gorge. It means eat until your comfortably satisfied. Sometimes we deprive ourselves at dinner, thinking we "shouldn't" be eating more… only to find ourselves elbow deep in a bag of chips two hours later. Trust me: the nutritional value of the dinner is likely much higher, and the calories much lower if you simply have a satisfying serving of dinner, than it is if you skimp out on dinner and then binge on high calorie snacks later.
2) Plan for the craving.
Some people have dinner at 5pm and then don’t sleep until midnight and then give themselves a hard time for getting hungry thinking, "Yah, but I shouldn't be eating anything before bed."… but that's a 7 hour gap! Getting hungry is only natural in that time.
Even if your time gap between dinner and bed is less than that but you're someone who finds you're still hungry even after having a filling dinner, then my recommendation is to go for it, but plan ahead and snack smart.
By anticipating this late-night hunger you can plan for it, which means buying ingredients and selecting snacks that nourish your mind, body, and soul while leaving the feeling of guilt behind.
Take a moment to think of what type of snacks you usually reach for. Is it sweet? Salty? Savoury? Crunchy? Warm? Each person is different. Have an appropriate snack around that's tailored to your desires for those moments when late-night hunger strikes.
3) Get enough sleep.
We eat food to give us energy to keep going. Sometimes, you might just be tired, and your body is trying to keep you stimulated by increasing your desire to eat more so you can get in more carbs: the brains primary and preferred energy source. Easier said than done, but is there any way you can sleep earlier than you already are?
4) Drink enough fluids.
Sometimes thirst is confused with hunger. This is not to say you shouldn't eat if you are truly hungry. All I would recommend is to reflect on your fluid intake. Have you been having enough? If not, try drinking a glass or two of water or tea. Want something more thirst-quenching but also more filling? Try having some soup, a smoothie, or my personal favourite: my version of the london fog: heated up soy milk, an earl grey tea bag, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Still hungry after hydrating? Then enjoy having your pre-planned snack of choice... and at least now you have some extra fluids in ya!
5) Be mindful.
I'm all for giving into hunger. Listening to your body is the kindest thing you can do. Ask yourself: are you eating to nourish (mind or body), or are you eating to self-sabotage? If you've decided to eat: go for it! And more importantly, ENJOY it. This can be done if all your attention is on the food you are eating. Take your time, eat slow, enjoy and savour each bite. This means eating away from the screen: TV, phone, computer, or otherwise. In this way, you are eating something pleasurable, without the risk of over-eating mindlessly.
Whenever possible honour your body and its hunger signals. It'll thank you back multifold via health of your mind and body.
Want To Learn More?
Read this previous nutrition article called MEAL PREP LIKE A BOSS » + minimize time in the kitchen
What About You?
Do you have any more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below or share your recipes with us on Instagram with the hashtag #pickuplimes.
❤ Written by: Sadia