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The Nighttime Snack Dilemma

Updated: Jun 10

In the quiet moments of the night, when the world around us slows down and the day’s hustle subsides, many find solace in a ritual as comforting as it is controversial: nighttime snacking. Whether it’s a bowl of popcorn during a late movie or a slice of cake before bed, indulging in snacks after dark has become a common habit for numerous individuals. But, as with many things in life, there’s a balance to be struck. Let’s explore the nighttime snack dilemma.


The temptation: Picture this: it’s late, you’ve had a long day, and suddenly, the siren call of the refrigerator beckons. The allure of snacks in the moonlight can be irresistible. There’s something inherently comforting about indulging in a tasty treat when the world is quiet and still. Plus, after a hectic day, snacking can provide a moment of pleasure and relaxation, a little reward to cap off the day.


The Pitfalls: However, nighttime snacking isn’t without its pitfalls. For one, consuming calories late at night can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and interfere with sleep. Certain foods, especially those high in sugar or caffeine, can be particularly disruptive, leading to restless nights and groggy mornings. Additionally, mindless munching in front of the TV or computer can lead to overeating, as distractions make it easy to lose track of portion sizes.


You are hit with an insatiable hunger. This can lead to binge eating at night and can open the door to thoughts like this:  

“Why can’t I control myself at night?”  

“I just ruined my entire day of healthy eating.”

“This is why I can’t keep these kinds of foods in the house. I have no self-control.

Sound familiar? Maybe this doesn’t happen in the evening for you, but you have these same thoughts sneak in throughout the day. Nevertheless, you have the thought “how should I stop snacking?” Let me help you stop snacking at night by focusing on WHY you’re wanting to snack at night. While one strategy is to build up balanced and nutritious snacks when you feel hungry at night, it is also important to get to the root of the hunger to help stop the snacking before it starts! 


There are a few main reasons why you may be snacking at night:

  1. You are calorie deficient

a.Your body is in too large of a deficit, which will naturally push you to food.

2. You are nutrient deficient

a. You may or may not be consuming enough calories, but also not consuming balanced calories or have an intake of varied nutrients.

3. You are stressed, emotional, or tired (or all three!)

a. You’ve slowed down after a long day and finally things are catching up to you and you may feel them all at once. These emotions are pushing you towards feelings of comfort and that comfort can be sought after with food and provide some instant relief and gratification.

4. You’ve created an indulgent habit

a. Most of us humans are creatures of habit. We eat the same breakfast every day, we drive the same route to work, we go to the same restaurants. We know what we like, we create a habit of it, and we stick to it. This can be seen in hunger cues as well. For some, this habitual hunger comes out when you get home from work and head straight to the pantry or when you sit on the couch to put an end to your evening, without a second thought.


Once you create awareness around the WHY, you can then become more aware of the triggers to your cravings and begin building strategies to stop the snacking before it starts.


As a nutrition coach and previous victim of the snack attack, nighttime binge eating or grazing in the evening is one of the most common sources of frustration, for many. You’re so proud of how hard you worked to eat healthy during the day, but then blow your calories and efforts at night.  

You may be on weight loss journey, you may be focusing on eating a more balanced diet, or you may even be trying to reverse food rules that were set for you long ago. Whatever your focus is, it’s always important to get in tune with your body and evaluate WHY you are feeling hungry WHEN you feel hungry to ensure you approach that feeling in a way that will truly satisfy. 

 

So, how can we enjoy the occasional late-night snack without sabotaging our health or sleep patterns? Focus on mindful choices, portion control, appropriate meal timing and creating beneficial habits.


Join us!



June 25th at 7pm to take a deeper dive on how to manage your evening (or anytime) snack attack! Don’t worry, if you can’t make it at that time, the seminar will be recorded for your viewing pleasure at your convenience.



 

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