Late night snacking is one of the most frustrating habits to have when you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve had many clients who tried to sneak in a few extra calories at night from snacks and they would always be disappointed in their results. Once they realised how detrimental midnight snacking can be, they quickly changed their ways and started seeing fantastic weight loss results by controlling their diet.
You’d be surprised at how problematic midnight snacking really is and how habits get picked up so easily by our children. If your kids see you getting out of bed just to sneak an extra cookie or a slice of leftover pizza, it can cause drastic problems to their health in the future. To help you and your family out, I’ve put together a list of 8 ways to help you avoid late night snacks.
1. Drink plenty of water
Water will help you stay hydrated throughout the day, but it can also help you reduce your appetite. Not only is drinking a fantastic way to fill your body so you don’t feel inclined to eat. An overview of many research sudies on the role of water for weight loss suggests replacing other liquids in our diet with water may increase the chances to lose weight. Further investigation is needed however.
One thing is for sure, water is the best way to prevent dehydration. If you don’t like plain boring water, then why not flavour it by throwing in some mint and cucumbers into a pitcher of water, or perhaps slices of oranges and grapefruit? It can add some depth to your drink and it will be more palatable for picky children.
2. Why are you snacking in the first place
Ask yourself why you or your family members are snacking in the first place. Is it because you can’t sleep? Is it because you didn’t eat enough during dinner? Or do you think you might have a slight addiction to food? There are plenty of reasons for why we end up snacking, so make sure you get to the bottom of the problem as quickly as possible.
3. If you’re snacking, snack on something healthy
Snacks are fantastic for giving yourself some calories throughout the day or a nutritional boost, so if you have to snack, pick something healthy. A piece of fruit, some carrot batons or even a few nuts can be a great snack to indulge in at midnight. If you have to snack, then make sure it’s something simple, nutritious and free of sugars.
4. Eat protein-rich filling meals during the day
You might be snacking at night because you simply don’t eat enough during the day. Yes, it sounds obvious, but I’ve encountered so many people that think midnight is the time for the 4th meal of the day. If you’re consistently eating at midnight, then change your eating schedule and get more calories in at other times during the day.
Increasing protein content of your meals will help with satiety and boost your body's recovery from everyday stress and your workouts and they are packed with essential nutrients. Make sure you include protein to each of your meal, use your palm as a measure.
The problems isn't with snacking itself, but if your body feels hungry every day before you go to bed resulting in late night binging in front of the fridge, you will likely overshoot your daily calorie intake and jeorpadise your chances to lose weight.
5. Don’t eat so fast, let your food settle
We often rush through our food and don’t take the time to savour it. Slow down the speed at which you consume food and give yourself some time to digest it. Sometimes, the brain can take up to 20 minutes to even realise you've eaten. The slower you eat, the fuller you’ll feel and the less likely you’ll resort to snacking.
6. Eat breakfast in the morning
Sure, if you are not hungry in the morning you don't have to eat breakfast. However if you find that you arrive home after work and could empty the content of your fridge into your stomach in one sitting, you may want to re-think this.
I’ve worked with plenty of clients that thought they were far too busy in the morning dealing with kids so they would often skip breakfast. However, even if you don’t particularly feel hungry in the morning, having breakfast can help get your appetite going and create structure to your meals. It also helps to keep you satisfied throughout the day and ensures that you won’t resort to snacking at night because you didn’t eat enough during the day.
7. Watch when you snack
Snacks are great at keeping us full throughout the day, but you need to learn when the right times to snack are. For starters, make sure you only snack between meals and not immediately before or after a meal. This could ruin your appetite and your body will react strangely to your eating patterns.
8. Get lots of sleep
How is your sleep pattern? How much and how deep your sleep is? Your lack of sleep could be why you’re feeling groggy and unsatisfied with your meals, sleep deprivation messes with your hormones and you will likely have cravings and feel hungry.
Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night because it will have a huge impact on your ability to avoid snacking at night.
Most of these tips I’ve learned from my own or my clients' experience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team.
David Knowles is the owner, lead Coach & trainer, Dad x 5 & wannabe singer songwriter!