As life becomes filled with professional and personal commitments, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. This eventually leads to more stress and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Stress can cause cravings leading us to binge at odd hours. Even if you have started planning your meals and have filled up the fridge with healthy options, rough days can lead you to overeat or binge at midnight as well.
However, nighttime grazing could cause you to pack on those extra pounds and create sleep disorders as well. If you are trying to eat healthy, the first thing you need to do is stop eating at midnight. To stop nighttime grazing, you can make these five effective changes in your eating habits.
1. Balanced Diet And Structured Eating
If you have been suffering from uncontrolled eating patterns, your body might be starving for nutrients. It has been found that irrational food cravings and the inability to stop snacking on food might be the result of unbalanced, chaotic, or stressful eating patterns. When the brain senses these unbalanced eating patterns, it lets out a starvation response to ensure that the body has adequate nutrition on board. This leads to uncontrolled eating, especially in the comforts of home.
So, start maintaining a healthy diet and take proper care to ensure that your meals are balanced in their nutrient content.1 Aim to include whole proteins such as chicken breast, grass-fed beef, and legumes, healthy fats such as nuts and nut butter, and the required quantity of carbs such as brown rice and whole grains. It has been proved that a balanced, whole-food meal or a high-protein diet can easily keep you satiated for a couple of hours or more.2 Also, remember to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
2. Keep Yourself Thoroughly Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated is a mantra you should always follow to take care of your overall health. Skip those extra snacks and drink more water. It might feel like a punishment for a few days, but do not give in to your cravings. Every time you want to munch on something, drink water.
However, remember that keeping yourself hydrated doesn’t only mean that you need to drink water. You can also brew yourself a refreshing cup of herb tea, make a hot bowl of soup, or just drink some refreshing fruit juice. This way, you wouldn’t feel bored as well. If you are a tea lover, you can always buy a pretty teapot and a few mugs to match with it. This way, you will not only let tea warm your belly but also enjoy having it. From rose tea and chamomile tea to ginger tea and lemon tea, there are so many varieties to try, both in the morning and in the evening.
3. Take Your Time To Eat
It is important to chew slowly and eat mindfully. You should never be in a rush to finish your meal. Eating fast also leads to obesity.3 Sit down and pause after every couple of morsels for a few seconds. Enjoy your food as you chew it slowly and allow your brain to connect with your taste buds and digestive organs. This will ensure that you extract enough nutrition from your food and promote the feeling of satisfaction and satiety to a larger extent.
4. Have An Early Dinner
Skip pre-dinner snacking by eating a whole-food, balanced dinner early in the evening. This will not only cut down the snacks in the evening but also not let you feel starved in the period that leads up to a late-night dinner. In fact, making yourself feel starved can make you feel overly hungry and you are less likely to be satisfied by just having your dinner. This can make you reach out to post-dinner snacks and make nighttime grazing a habit. So, make it a habit to take your time and enjoy your meal early in the evening so that you feel satiated for a long time.
5. Close The Eating Window
It is important that you quieten the grazing monster from time to time. This should be an intentional and firm decision. Instead of making multiple visits to the kitchen or the pantry, choose to stop at certain periods of time, so that you don’t put anything in your mouth at that time. Start sealing the eating window at night after a ritualistic practice such as drinking a hot cup of ginger tea or brushing your teeth after dinner. This will purposefully make you choose not to graze on anything at night. And over time, your body will get used to this schedule.
|↑1||Price, Susan. “Understanding the importance to health of a balanced diet.” Nursing times 101, no. 1 (2005): 30-31.|
|↑2||Westerterp-Plantenga, Margriet S., Sofie G. Lemmens, and Klaas R. Westerterp. “Dietary protein–its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health.” British journal of nutrition 108, no. S2 (2012): S105-S112.|
|↑3||Otsuka, Rei, Koji Tamakoshi, Hiroshi Yatsuya, Chiyoe Murata, Atsushi Sekiya, Keiko Wada, Hui Ming Zhang et al. “Eating fast leads to obesity: findings based on self-administered questionnaires among middle-aged Japanese men and women.” Journal of epidemiology 16, no. 3 (2006): 117-124.|