9 Tips to stop evening snacking
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
“I do pretty well during the day keeping my food intake on track and eating healthily but then something happens around 7:00 pm and I start snacking a little bit here and a little bit more there. Every evening!” If this sounds familiar to you, keep reading!
Usually snacking at evening time has nothing to do with hunger. It’s more about stress, boredom, the result of overly restricted daytime food intake or just a habit, that you have created during the years. It’s something you do, when you have completed all day chores and you want to ‘reward’ yourself. Or maybe that habit is so deep in you, that you don’t even realise doing it! However, evening snacking can cause you to eat more calories than you need and will probably lead to weight gain in the longer term.
Here are my best tips to stop evening snacking:
Plan your meals. I don’t mean that you have to write down everything that you’re going to eat during the next day or week but when you plan your meals and snacks beforehand it’s more likely that you don’t eat on impulse or won’t make poor food choices. This way you’ll also eat regularly throughout the day and you have no longer any need for snacking in the evening as your body have had a steady source of energy all day long.
Have protein at every meal. Different foods have a different kind of impact on your appetite and protein is known to keep you more satisfied throughout the day. Eating protein at every meal can reduce evening cravings and help you to resist unnecessary snacking. Also, high fiber foods will have a positive impact while trying to keep cravings at bay.
Is your nutritional intake in balance? No matter how much you eat, your body will send you hunger signals, if it’s not getting enough and right nutrients. Try to eat enough good and fiber rich carbs, lean protein and some healthy fats in every meal. Eating too much sugary and carb loaded foods like pastries and chocolate bars and dismissing essential good fat may lead to a blood sugar crash that causes hungry feelings and an urge to snack in the evening.
Drink water. Most people confuse thirst signals of the body with hunger and will go for snacks when their bodies are just trying to tell them about the lack of hydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and always before reaching for any snacks. Before you reach for that snack, have a glass of water first. Wait for five to ten minutes and ask yourself, if you really are hungry and in need of that chocolate biscuit. Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought!
Don’t keep junk food at home. If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it! If you have a tendency to snack junk food, cookies, ice cream and chocolate bars, don’t bring them to your house. You don’t need to keep something “just in case for surprise guests” at home, because let’s be honest; you’ll end up eating those anyway yourself and buying new ones, over and over again. If unhealthy snacks aren’t within easy reach, you are much less likely to eat them 😉 . Carrot sticks aren’t that bad for snacking if you REALLY NEED something while watching tv…
Break the routines. Snacking in front of the television is one of the more challenging habits to overcome for people who are trying to lose weight or get rid of snacking habit. If commercial break normally means a trip to kitchen, distract yourself and go to bathroom and wash your teeth. Or fold the laundry or use that time for stretching, I’m sure that you don’t do that enough often 😉 . Do whatever keeps you away from the kitchen!
And when the commercial break is over, take up some activity that you can perform while watching television like knitting, or shuffling a deck of cards. Or continue that stretching 😉 .
Try to relax. Anxiety and stress are two of the most common reasons why people eat when they aren’t hungry. Either consciously or unconsciously, anyway it’s not good for your waist line. Before heading to the kitchen, try to relax by meditating, through the breathing exercises, have a hot bath, yoga or a gentle workout. Studies have shown, that regularly done relaxation exercises can help reduce the need for snacking, when it’s caused by stress.
Brush your teeth or have a chewing gum. Everything tastes bad after brushing your teeth, so why ruin that fresh minty flavor in your mouth. And if you really need something to work on with your teeth, choose chewing gum!
Sleep enough. A bad night’s sleep can be the reason why you overeat and feel need of snacking on the next day. So, go to bed early tonight, and get enough quality sleep!
PS. It’s way too easy to get some evening snacks in Madrid if you don’t have anything at home 😉 .