Guest post by Brittany Jones of Healthy Choice
As women we dread it, but most of us succumb to it. Late night snacking is the fear of women everywhere. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the guilt that accompanies that 10 pm scoop of ice cream can carry on into the next afternoon. However, late night eating does not necessarily need to be demonized. Contrary to popular belief, eating later in the evening technically isn’t bad for you. It isn’t when you eat that causes weight gain, it’s what you eat and how much. But before you devour two bowls of cereal and a coke zero, take some of these tips into consideration.
Figure out why you’re hungry at 9:45 pm.
If you have a cup of coffee for breakfast, an overpriced sandwich from the deli near your office, and a glass of wine after work, it’s no surprise that your growling stomach leads you to eat half a frozen pizza after Dancing with the Stars. Stop doing that. Believe it or not, it’s actually recommended that you eat several times throughout the day. Some dieticians suggest eating six low calorie meals a day; others suggest three main meals with healthy snacks in between. Regardless of the method you chose to arrange your sustenance intake, eating well through your day will substantially reduce those late night cravings.
Meal planning works (and it can save you money).
Although it may sound stringent or constricting, planning out your meals for the week can make eating a balanced diet much easier. By mapping out recipes for each day, you can ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need, as well as estimate your calorie intake. Building a shopping list based on your meals and snacks for the week will also help reduce random (and unnecessary) purchases at the supermarket.
Be more strategic at the grocery store.
If you often get late night munchies, adjust your grocery list accordingly. Don’t think of it as enabling yourself so much as being prepared. For example, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, keep fruit around. Goat cheese and honey is a delectable and low fat snack, as is Greek frozen yogurt. There are a ton of low calorie and low fat options out there, so keep a stash of guilt free snacks you can munch on.
Portion control is real.
Eating is good, I would even say great, but you have to be cognizant of portions. Not too long ago, it was believed that bread and grains should be consumed in the largest portions daily. Unfortunately, unless you’re a fairly serious athlete, your carb intake shouldn’t be that high. Relearn your food groups, and figure out what portions are appropriate for your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a little more sedentary than your marathon runner friend, try to get most of your fiber from fruits and vegetables rather than bagels and dinner rolls.
Last but not least, don’t deprive yourself.
Chocolate is not an illegal substance. You are allowed to indulge here and there; the key is that you don’t overindulge. Unrealistic restrictions often cause people to break down and binge. Eating healthy shouldn’t be a painful and unpleasant experience, and if you eat well all day, you won’t be as hungry at night. But remember that it’s okay to have a cookie before bed, just don’t eat the half the box.
Author Bio: Brittany writes about healthy living and fitness on behalf of Healthy Choice. For more information about quick healthy meals and healthy desserts, check out www.healthychoice.com. Don’t diet, live healthy!
Photo credit: Pfitblog.com