The human race is definitely a greedy one—especially when it comes to food. Why else do you think we reach out for snacks throughout the day despite having three full-fledged meals?
Perhaps, it’s the lack of satisfaction from breakfast, lunch, and dinner–or simply the greed for more. In any case, snacking at night is something that we are all guilty of.
But, we also somehow want to get rid of this habit—thanks to its contribution to the extra inches around the thighs, hips, and waist. However, understanding why we indulge in this behaviour in the first place can help us come up with a solution for it. Take a look:
1. We find night-time eating rewarding
A study conducted at the Brigham Young University in Utah, US, found that we crave for snacks at night because after eating in haste during a hectic day, the food at night might seem more rewarding—at least visually. Additionally, we might want to extend the joyous period of eating comfortably after wrapping up the day’s chores and thus, end up eating more at night.
Solution: Make every meal count. No matter how busy you might be at work, take out half an hour to relish your meal.
2. Consuming improper meals
Not having full-fledged, healthy meals at the right time means we could end up snacking at night. Renowned nutritionist and lifestyle educator, Karishma Chawla says
Skipping breakfast in the morning or keeping a huge gap between meals can lead to unstable sugar levels and result in cravings at night.
Solution: Eat a healthy breakfast with wholegrains, carbs, protein, and fibre. Also, eat every 2-4 hours in order to maintain sugar and energy levels throughout the day and avoid giving in to temptation.
3. Your poor diet choices are to blame
We live in a chaotic world and are filled with responsibilities or laziness to the brim. So much so, that easy meals seem to be our only resort to keep ourselves going to carry out the day’s work. In the process, we might just be consuming the wrong kind of foods that may satiate the hunger that moment, but may lead to cravings later.
Solution: Kickstart your day with a glass of cinnamon water as it can stabilize your blood sugar levels. And while you’re at it, increase the intake of probiotic foods such as curd.
“Eating too many simple or refined carbohydrates (present in fast foods) can lead to an imbalance in sugar levels resulting in night-time snack cravings. Additionally, lack of protein and insufficient fibre and water intake can also make one feel hungry at night,” explains Chawla.
Solution: Give up white flour, refined sugar, and packaged foods. Instead, eat fibre-packed fruits, salads, and green vegetables as well as foods rich in good fats like walnuts, flaxseeds, fats, and avocado.
4. Lack of quality sleep
Inadequate sleep can disturb our hormones, thus propelling us to reach out for that packet of chips.
5. Too much stress can also be the culprit
Several studies have proven how stress can elevate the level of cortisol in our body. Chawla says that cortisol can lead to unstable sugar levels and make us crave food at night in order to satisfy the body’s need to lower the stress by eating, of course.
Solution: Find other ways to tame that stress. Exercise and meditation are both scientifically proven to be effective ways of keeping stress under control.
6. No exercise
Scientific research, including a study conducted at the Louisiana State University has found that exercise is an effective way to keep unnecessary food cravings at bay. So, obviously, if you don’t exercise, you’ll just end up digging into snacks—especially at night.
Solution: Exercise regularly for at least 40 minutes daily!
And if you still feel like snacking at night, then…
Ditch the junk and choose from these healthy snacking options suggested by Chawla: sprout bhel, quinoa salad, peanut salad, skim curd, zucchini noodles, sauteed vegetables, vegetable cutlets, paneer cutlets, boiled or scrambled eggs, whey smoothie, turmeric milk with walnuts and almonds, or paneer roll.
Now that you’re sorted, let us know in the comments below how this guide came to your rescue!