Tips for Combating the Late Night Snack Attack

latenightsnack

It’s 10pm; you’ve retired to your comfiest sweats and a cozy spot on the couch when out of no where you find yourself under siege by the late night snack attack. It’s a tricky dilemma that most everyone has experienced at some point or another. Whether it be a daily desire that occurs frequently, or a rare craving that strikes without warning, there is something about late night cravings that are especially hard to combat. That after-hours yearning for sweet treat or a salty snack can be overwhelmingly powerful and while a small, nutritious nibble before bed won’t derail your efforts towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle, bedtime binges can add an unbelievable amount of unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Multiple late-night trips to the kitchen can result in mindless munching and before you know it you have undone all of the hard work and healthy eating efforts you put forth earlier in the day.

Nighttime noshing tends to be a weakness for even the healthiest eaters, but when armed with the proper tools and tricks, conquering late night snack attacks and replacing them with healthy habits is a much less daunting obstacle. Here are five simple, easy to enact tips for combating late night cravings:

Grab Green Tea: We often mistake thirst for hunger so before you reach for a snack try drinking a large glass of water or sipping on some hot green tea. According to livestrong.com, “some of the compounds found in green tea have effects on how your body digests food and burns energy. A cup of green tea after a meal may help you reach your weight loss goals”. In addition to boasting an abundance of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, green tea also enhances your metabolism. With a multitude of health benefits and zero calories, green tea is one of the best beverages out there. Additionally, having a hot drink, whether it be tea or even just plain hot water with lemon, can be helpful in fighting cravings as it fills you up and keeps you from reaching for high-calorie snacks after dark.

Taint your taste with toothpaste: If you have ever made the mistake of brushing your teeth before sitting down for breakfast and then had a sip of orange juice, then you’ve experienced the funky, unappetizing taste that the usually sweet and delicious juice takes on after brushing your teeth. So what’s the reasoning behind this drastic change in taste? When we brush our teeth, certain foaming agents within the toothpaste “suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink”, hence the bitter taste of the otherwise delightful orange juice. Brushing your teeth can be a helpful trick in attempting to keep late night noshing under control. As it alters the taste of a variety of foods (especially the sweet ones that we often tend to reach for late at night), the act of brushing your teeth also signals to your body and brain that it is time for bed and that you have finished eating for the day.

Distract from Desire: Cravings can feel overwhelmingly powerful in the moment, but once you exercise the strength not to surrender it becomes easier and easier to fight the desires. A great way to prevent yourself from consuming unnecessary snacks and calories is to find an outlet to divert your attention when the cravings strike. Whether you are feeling anxious, bored, sad, or just in the mood to snack; removing yourself from the kitchen area will take your mind off food. Go for a night walk with a friend, listen to music, read a book- anything that shifts your focus away from food will help you avoid heading to the kitchen.

Eat all Day: While this may sound counterintuitive for those looking to lose weight or tone up; eating small meals frequently keeps your metabolism burning all day long. Studies show that enjoying small meals throughout the day keeps your blood sugar stable, your energy high, and can help you avoid excessive hunger. Those who eat more during the day are more likely to feel satisfied as nighttime roles around, while those who deprive themselves are more likely to engage in a late night binge. Control your cravings by fueling your body with small meals of delicious and nutritious foods all day.

Be Prepared: The truth of the matter is that even if you follow all four of the previous tips, we’re all human and some days you just can’t help but succumb to the late night snack attack. At times, your body may actually be in need of more food depending on your activity level and food intake for the day. It is important to know your body and develop the ability to decipher between cravings and actual hunger. The best way to keep late night eating in check is to be prepared with quick, healthy snacks that you can prepare late at night and that will keep you satisfied through the morning. For healthy snack ideas for when you absolutely must have that nighttime nosh, check out http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Late-Night-Snacks-Low-Calories-18872289

Alexandra Conti

Alexandra Conti is a recent graduate from UCSB with a Communication major. As of now, her passions lie in avid running: she completed the LA Marathon in 2012 (raised $2200 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation), the See Jane Run Half Marathon and the San Diego Half Marathon this past March where she had a PR time of 1 hour 51 minutes 34 seconds. One of her goals is to run an international marathon someday either in London or Barcelona. In addition to running she also plays club soccer at UCSB and loves yoga (even though she claims to be terrible at it!) When shes not exercising or studying, she loves to shop and spend time with friends and family!
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