It happens when we’re bored. It happens after a long day, when you couldn’t make dinner because you’re running late to your lecture, when you finally get to watch the season finale of Desperate Housewives and especially after a solid night of drinking. It’s the late night snack, coming to destroy your healthy eating habits.
Student life isn’t always friendly to our waistlines, especially during crunch time, otherwise known as the dreaded midterm season. We are constantly stressed-out and up late, which is where the vending machine and bag of chips come in. After telling yourself you’ll only have a few, you’re suddenly gorging yourself on your second bag without even realizing. Although late-night munchies may not seem harmful, there are countless reasons to avoid them.
Our metabolisms slow down closer to our natural bed time and snacking can easily be a source of hundreds of excess calories. It becomes really hard to gain control, especially once snacking after dinner becomes a habit. Here are five effortless ways to avoid that inevitable trip to Oasis at night.
1. Never skip meals
Most often when we snack it’s due to hunger. Skipping meals, like breakfast, will end up costing you later on in the afternoon when you’re starving and you’re racing to make the largest poutine your stomach has ever eaten. Not only is that an unhealthy option that lacks any nutrition but it will leave you with a not-so-full feeling. Pinched for time in the AM? Try having an apple on the go—with four grams of fibre and a high water content, this 80 calorie treat can help control your appetite.
2. Stay hydrated
I’m sure you’ve heard this countless times but it’s the most important tip. Drinking eight or more glasses a day is key as most of us confuse hunger for thirst. Before grabbing that cookie, have a glass of water. Wait for a while to see if you’re still hungry. Being more aware of your bodies needs will make sure it is fueled the right way.
Another way to quench thirst and curb hunger late at night is to drink herbal tea. Try an organic Chinese oolong tea; it’s low in caffeine and can substitute for dessert without the added calories. Use agave or honey to sweeten it instead of sugar. Natural vegetable and fruit juices also work the same way and leave you with a change of flavour in your mouth, which is another reason we tend to snack.
3. Prepare for a long day
I never leave the house without a litre of water, an apple or grapes (among other fruits) and a handful of nuts. Keeping healthy snacks can prevent you from spending money in the caf on a fatty snack fix. Always keep healthier options at your fingertips.
4. Snack smart
Snacking doesn’t have to be a synonym with evil. If your stomach is rumbling, you need more energy. Without providing your body with food, its basic functions begin to lose momentum. Choose snacks like Greek yogurt, fruits, veggies, cottage cheese and other low-fat cheeses as they are all high-fiber and high-protein.
Late night snacking is often due to a sugar craving that seems impossible to kick. Fruit is honestly the best way to satisfy this craving and make it to bed without overindulging in unhealthy sweets. Try this: take a cup of red or green seedless grapes and your favourite yogurt and coat the grapes. Place the grapes on a baking sheet and throw it into the freezer for about an hour. Voila! A tasty, guilt-free snack. During the summer I like to use strawberries as they are in season and delicious. Any fruit will do.
5. Brush Your Teeth
Biting into food just doesn’t taste right after you’ve finished brushing your teeth. Avoid late-night snacks by brushing your teeth when you’ve finished dinner.
Snacking at night can be a hard habit to kick, especially if you’re a night owl. If you think you’ve tried it all, take a long walk or head to the gym as exercise is known to suppress hunger. What other tips have kept you away from late-night munching? Post a comment below and share with us!