Let’s get one thing straight. Snacks aren’t a bad thing. When snacks are chosen wisely they can help keep you energized and burning calories all day long… but, when the wrong snacks are selected, it can wreak havoc on your waistline. Late night snacks can be especially harmful to our health and weight goals, since we’re tired and less likely to stick to good choices.
Here are 7 Easy Steps to Avoid Night Snacks:
Understand why you’re snacking. Most likely, it isn’t imperative that you eat a lot at night. Are you hungry? Emotional? Bored? Regardless of the reason, you should find a healthier alternative.
Schedule your meals and snacks – and stick to it. Decide to eat six small meals or three larger meals per day, filled with healthy foods with low fat and sodium and a variety of nutrients. Make sure you also keep a calorie count, which, depending on your age, should be around 1800 to 2000 calories per day.
If you do have snacks, understand what good snacks look like. For healthy snack ideas, check out:
20 Healthy Snacks to Have on Hand
25 Whole Food Snacks
20 Healthy Snacks with Fewer than 75 Calories
25 Snacks Under 100 Calories
15 Grab-N-Go Snacks
Create a snack box. A snack box is an easy-to-reach area of your kitchen or pantry filled with healthy foods in appropriate portions. So, the next time you need to munch, you’ll have an easy place to go that will satisfy your hunger in a productive way. For ideas on what to put in your snack box, read 20 Healthy Snack Box Ideas for the Pantry.
Eat enough protein and fiber. Protein, from sources like nuts, whole-grain rice and pastas, and lean meats, give longer-sustained energy, and fiber, from whole-grain cereals and breads and fresh fruits and vegetables, helps us feel full longer and promotes better digestive health. Both will help stave off the kind of blood-sugar spikes that can lead us to reach for the wrong kinds of food.
Put temptation out of reach. If you can’t bring yourself to throw out the junk food (although we really hope you can!), at least place it high up and out of reach. Chances are, when you look for that nighttime snack, you’ll be so tired that you’ll go for the healthy food in front of you instead of pulling out the step-ladder.
Find other emotional outlets. If you suspect that you’re feeling emotional due to lack of sleep, catch some zzzz’s instead of binging. If you are stressed or sad, try calling a friend or talking with a loved one. Chances are, you will feel much better than if you tried to “medicate” with food.
Avoid caffeine. If caffeine keeps you up, avoid it in the late afternoon and evening. That way, you might be able to get to sleep at a decent hour instead of eating junk food in front of the TV.
What helps you during a snack attack? We’d love to know. Leave us a message in the comment section below.