Breaking free from unhealthy eating habits and knowing how to fight hunger cravings at night can be difficult at first. But it can be done with the right amount of forethought and preparation.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
It’s the middle of the night and you’re lying in bed wide awake. You check the time and decide to head to the kitchen for a little snack. After you’ve had your treat, you return to bed feeling satisfied.
Millions of people have the habit of midnight-snacking.
If you have this habit, you may feel like you have to eat on a little something before going to bed.
Or you even wake up for a snack.
The problem though is that continuing to eat late and throughout the night can cause you to overindulge, leading to weight gain.
It can take a few weeks or even months to get your cravings under control.
Give yourself some time to form new and healthy habits.
Below are six tips to help you eat better.
Determine the cause
Are you actually hungry or bored?
If you feel like you’re really hungry, maybe you’re not consuming enough calories during the day.
The problem may be that you’re not eating enough meals.
If you are eating several times during the day, the calories per meal may be too low.
If you’re bored, find something mentally stimulating to occupy your time.
Keep several books on hand that interest you.
Try crossword puzzles or Sudoku. If it’s not too late, maybe go for a walk or exercise.
Increase protein and fiber intake
Start adding more protein and fiber to your diet throughout the day. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams.
Insoluble fiber helps your body feel full longer and throughout the evening. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady. Adding protein into your smoothie will also help you reach the recommended daily intake.
For added protein, you can try lean meats and fish. You can also snack on salt-free nuts and fruit during the day.
Plan your meals
Make a list of what you plan to eat for the week and the items you’ll need from the grocery store.
When you plan your meals in advance, it’s easier to make healthier choices because you already know what you need to buy.
Buy healthy snacks like low-fat crackers, raw veggies or air-popped popcorn to keep hunger at bay.
Opt for snacks that not only help you feel full but aren’t loaded with calories.
Apples and peanut butter are great snack choices.
Eat smaller meals
One way to refrain from late-night snacking is to eat several smaller meals throughout the day.
When you do this, you get the calories you need and your stomach isn’t empty.
Also, some experts feel it’s healthier to eat this way than to eat a few big meals during the day.
When you eat a large dinner it can delay digestion and affect your sleep.
Instead, opt for a protein bar or some fruit before heading to bed.
Have something to drink
Try drinking a glass of warm milk to help you relax and feel full.
If you feel like a snack in the middle of the night, drink a cup of water instead.
You might just be thirty and water will help fill you up some.
If possible, avoid drinking alcohol at night before bed.
Although it may help calm you down, alcohol increases your appetite. It also adds unnecessary calories to your diet.
Drinking a lot of caffeine during the day, especially in the evenings, can affect your sleep.
If you’re waking up hungry, try reducing your coffee or tea intake.
If you have a habit of midnight snacking, stop bringing snacks into your house.
It’s less likely that you’re going to leave your house in the middle of the night to get something to eat.
But if the food is already there, it makes it so much easier to try it.
If you keep snacks and treats for your kids, put them in an inconvenient place.
You’re less likely to go get a step ladder or go into the garage than going into a cabinet in your kitchen.
Learning how to fight hunger cravings at night takes time. You may not see results overnight, but if you follow the six tips above, your hard work and endurance will pay off.