Recently I’ve received lots of questions from my Carrots ‘N’ Cake readers who say they have trouble with after-dinner snacking—they aren’t alone! Many people, including myself from time-to-time, struggle with the battle of the late-night munchies. Sometimes, once I finish dinner, I find myself poking around the kitchen for something to eat. Most of the time I know it’s just mindless munching, so I rein in my snacking with a number of healthy eating strategies. These things work for me, so hopefully they’ll work for you too!
Eat a satisfying and well-rounded dinner What I put on my plate early in the evening definitely determines whether I start snacking a couple of hours later. My dinner typically includes a portion of lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil), whole grains (couscous, brown rice, whole grain bread), and plenty of fiber-rich veggies to help me feel satisfied all night long.
Switch it up I recently noticed if I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, I often want to snack even though I just ate dinner. To prevent these nighttime munchies, I change-up my evening routine. Now, I’ll read a book or magazine in bed as a way to unwind, or I’ll get a head start on my household chores to free up my time on the weekends—added bonus!
Prepare for snacking If you know you’ll feel tempted to snack late at night, prepare by stocking your kitchen with a bunch of healthy options, so you don’t mindlessly consume hundreds of calories in just one sitting. I find when I pair nutritious carbohydrates with a little bit of fat and protein into my snacks, it really satisfies me, which means I don’t end up snacking the night away. My favorite post-dinner snacks are raw veggies with hummus, plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries, and sliced banana with nut butter.
Sip slowly Slowly sipping a low-calorie beverage often halts my nighttime snacking. Instead of mindless munching on a snack, I pour myself a drink, sit down on the couch with it, and relax. Taking my time drinking my beverage usually does the trick. My favorite post-dinner drinks are unsweetened coconut milk, a warm mug of decaf coffee, or a small protein shake made with water and a splash of almond milk.
Give yourself a manicure A lot of the time, I snack in the evening because I’m bored. To prevent this, I give myself a manicure, which distracts me from snacking and keeps my hands busy. Plus, once I paint my nails, I don’t want to mess them up by rifling through my kitchen cabinets for a snack!
Brush (and floss) your teeth If I’m feeling especially snacky in the evening after dinner, I’ll brush my teeth and use floss and mouthwash to curb my snacking. It takes me a little while to complete my whole oral hygiene routine, so I don’t want to dirty up my clean mouth by eating again.
Hit the hay If I stay awake late into the evening, I’ll inevitably want to snack. It sounds obvious, but I can’t mindlessly munch if I’m asleep, so instead of burning the midnight oil, I head to bed at a reasonable hour.