Some people swear by not eating past 7pm. But what if you are hungry – should you ignore the hunger pains or eat a snack?? Will late night snacking make you fat?
The reality is that snacking at night often can lead to weight gain because you go over your daily calorie needs. It isn’t that eating at night is going to make you gain weight, it is the fact that you may be eating more calories than you need or giving into temptations that are high in calories.
Why do we snack at night?
You are dehydrated… You actually may be thirsty so try drinking some water before you grab a snack. Avoid caffeine at night and stick to water.
You are bored… You might be working late or watching TV and you start looking through the cupboards either out of habit or because you are bored and using food as a distraction or comfort.
You are hungry… You may have had an early dinner. Or perhaps you didn’t have a filling dinner. You may not have eaten enough calories throughout the day or the calories you did eat may not have been from whole grains, low fat protein and fiber.
If you are hungry at night, it is better to eat a little -here are a few healthy options for you.
a serving of cereal and low fat milk
cheese and crackers
veggies and serving of hummus
plain popcorn that you dress up with spices from your cupboard.
frozen blueberries with a dollop of whip cream
a light fruit and protein shake. ( i use a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt, fruit like strawberries, blueberries, etc. a little almond milk but you can use low fat milk and some ice – unless your fruit is frozen then you probably don’t need the ice.)
Be mindful of your portions. Chances are you need a little water and a small snack. Don’t chow down on a huge bowl of cereal or an entire bag of popcorn. Eat the serving size and give yourself time to feel full. Try to eat whole grains, lean protein, veggies and fiber at each meal and eat healthy snacks in between meals as well. Drink enough water to prevent dehydration.