Late night refrigerator raids can take its toll on our tummies. The inner upset, burning feelings and outer stomach expansion can often be traced to nighttime snacking. We do well to keep our food cravings and calorie counting under control during the daytime, but at nighttime our defenses weaken when our tummies start growling and want to be fed, often prompting us to grab an easy high-calorie snack to calm the tummy rumble. Use these tips to prevent nighttime snacking so you won’t undo a day’s worth of healthy eating every night.
Close the Kitchen
At a specific time every night officially close the kitchen. Make a formal announcement to family members or place a chair or baby gate across the kitchen entrance to give your brain the signal no more food for today.
Once the kitchen is closed prepare your mouth for bed. Brushing and flossing your teeth sends the signal to the brain that eating is over and the hunger signals to the tummy will stop. Plus if you should be tempted by a piece of cake, realizing you’ll have to brush and floss again if you eat it will help you turn down the temptation.
Hard to believe that eating breakfast can prevent nighttime snacking, but it does. If you skip breakfast you’ll feel empty late in the evening and your body will demand food to fill in the food gap it has from not being fed breakfast. If you give in and eat late at night, you won’t be hungry the following morning and breakfast will be skipped again, perpetuating a cycle that is unhealthy and will add inches to your waist over time.
If you’ve restricted food intake too much during the day, you are really going to feel it at night. Eat a balanced diet during the day, complete with hunger-busting fiber and protein, so you can stop the midnight munchies.
Be True to Yourself
Why are you heading for the refrigerator at nine o’clock at night? Are you really hungry, or is it stress, boredom or fatigue that is sending you to the kitchen for a bowl of chunky-monkey ice cream? If it is something other than true hunger drawing you to the kitchen, find a non-food way to resolve the issue, like taking a warm bath to ease stress and fatigue. If it’s true hunger, the satisfy with one of these healthy, low calorie late-night snack options:
* Small cup of non-fat yogurt, with or without fresh fruit
* Air popped popcorn
* Apple or celery slices with peanut butter
* Carrot or cucumber sticks with salsa
* Cereal and low fat milk
* Instant oatmeal
* Fresh fruit
* Hot chocolate made with low fat milk
* Green tea or herbal tea