A few common culprits that could be driving your “munchies”? a poor diet overall and emotional issues are often the root cause of eating late at night. Many people try to limit the food they eat during the day in hopes that they can cut calories and boost weight loss. But in reality, this plan usually backfires and winds up causing more damage when their hunger finally catches up to them. Additionally, after a long day is over, people are even more susceptible to feeling worn-out and eating due to stress or other emotions.
If you frequently find yourself standing in front of the kitchen late at night, it’s time to reassess your diet and lifestyle habits.
Regularly eating balanced meals throughout the day is the best way to manage hunger and prevent overeating at night. What does a “balanced meal” look like? One that includes a healthy portion of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Whole grains and fruit also have a place in your diet, although these aren’t as necessary with every single meal.
The protein-fat-vegetable combination helps balance your blood sugar, makes you the most satisfied and full, and provides the nutrients you need to prevent deficiencies that can lead to cravings. Aim to eat 4-5 times throughout the day, or about every 3-5 hours depending on your appetite.
What else could be driving your late-night snacking habit other than true hunger? Are you snacking out of boredom, loneliness, or from stress after a long day at work? What else could you do instead of eating to make yourself feel better?
Come up with some alternatives for snacking. What types of things do you enjoy doing? Do more of those if you can. This can include taking a walk outside, reading, taking a hot shower, cooking something healthy for the next day, cleaning, surfing the internet, etc. Anything to keep you occupied will work.
Ask yourself, “Am I snacking late at night because I’m actually hungry, or just out of pure habit?”
We often make associations in our mind between two things when we repeatedly do them together- and this includes food and late-night activities. So if you’re used to watching TV and mindlessly eating potato chips at the same time, you’re going to want chips every time you plop down on the couch after a long day with the remote in your hand. Try to identify what habits you’ve formed around snacking. See if you can either replace snacking with something else (like drinking tea while watching TV instead of eating chips) or if you need to avoid “trigger” situations altogether.
Tuck Into Bed Earlier
Staying up late only increases the chances of you getting hungry and snacking. Consider trying to go to sleep earlier, this way you not only avoid the munchies but you also feel more refreshed the next day and in control of your cravings.