How to Kick Late Night Eating Habits
In an article by Ellie Krieger in the Union Tribune, San Diego, CA on March 14, 2017 she tells us that in January five Washington Post staffers embarked on a 30 day diet challenge & wrote about their experiences on a weekly basis.
Ellie had the role of interviewing each of them so she could lend her perspective as a nutritionist. She tells us that one clear pattern emerged right from the start.
i.e. most of the staffers said they struggled with nighttime eating.
Yes, according to a new scientific statement by the American Heart Association published in the Journal Circulation, very few of us eat the standard three meals a day anymore. What happens now is that we skip meals – apparently 20-30% of U.S. adults don’t eat breakfast, snacking more often and eat around the clock.
The downside of late night eating go beyond our choice of food at that time, which is often ultra processed sugar and/or salt laden foods that we tend to munch on after dinner, while watching TV, a movie, playing with the kids or just hanging out. Actually the time that we’re eating, is also a major issue.
Fortunately, the staffers on the 30 day diet challenge realized that they had the ability to change the late night eating habit. Here’s 5 ways they used to reset their eating patterns, with some additional tips from Ellie.
1.Eat regular meals
Not eating enough during the day can set the stage for nighttime binging. Flip this pattern and give yourself a fighting chance for success after sundown by eating regular meals & snacks throughout the day. Plan meals ahead of time.
2.Pick a cut off time
About 8 or 9 pm works for most people, but you can choose whatever time is best for you. Ideally. it ought be about 3 hours before bedtime, giving you enough time to digest your dinner, but not so long that you are likely to get hungry again before going to sleep.
3.Wait and re-evaluate
If you are craving food at night, instead of impulsively raiding the fridge, take a 15 minute pause. Check in with how you are feeling & ask yourself whether you are really hungry or whether perhaps there is another way to find satisfaction.A relaxing bath, brisk walk or cup of tea may be a good substitute and do the trick.
4.Plan an evening snack
If you tend to eat dinner early, or your evening meal is on the light side and you regularly find yourself hungry at night, plan a small healthy snack to eat between dinner and bedtime. Maybe some fruit & yogurt, a cup of soup or avocado toast. The idea is to strategically snack so that you manage your hunger rather than let your appetite leave you open to and more likely to randomly be munching.
5.Set some ground rules.
Its almost like a national pastime to be eating out of a bag or carton at the same time as sitting on the sofa watching TV but its a scene that creates a perfect storm. Try to stop doing that unconsciously.
You can do it!