Could one of these be the cause of your nighttime munchies?
Can't stop eating even after you've finished a good dinner? We've all been there before, but loading your body with food before bed is counterintuitive to your health. Here are some of the top culprits that lead to post-dinner binging.
You didn’t eat enough during the day
If you haven’t consumed enough throughout the day, your blood sugar levels have probably been allover the place. When your blood sugar is unstable, it leaves you feeling hungry and cravings are intensified – often for sugary or junk food options, which provide an energy quick fix. Make sure you start your day with a balanced and nutritious breakfast and eat at regular intervals throughout in order to keep yourself full throughout the whole day, as well as keeping your energy levels sky high.
It’s easy to become dehydrated and not be aware of it. The feeling of slight dehydration can be very similar to the feeling of hunger, which means people sometimes mistake the two. If you’re still hungry after your dinner, drink a big glass of water and wait 15-20 minutes to see if it has appeased the feeling. Chances are, all you needed was the water.
You didn’t have enough veggies
Non-starchy vegetables should be enjoyed in ample quantities at dinnertime. They are high in water and fibre, making them naturally low in calories and satiating. Dark leafy green vegetables are the best choices, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and broccoli. These vegetables are also rich in folate and vitamin K, which help prevent weigh gain and fatigues, as well as assisting with food cravings by regulating blood sugar levels. Chowing down on non-starchy vegetables and greens will help fill you up and nourish your body, so you aren’t left wanting more food later.
Your dinner was lacking protein or fat
Protein and healthy fats are both essential nutrients that provide satiety after meals. They take longer for the body to digest, which helps to promote a sense of fullness, whilst also being low glycemic. Eating a dinner rich in lean or vegan protein sources and a moderate portion of good fats (such as coconut or olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds) is a great way to prevent nighttime hunger pangs.
You’re bored or emotional
There are many reasons that we eat aside from being hungry and at the top of the list are boredom and emotional comfort. If you’ve consumed a balanced and nutritious meal, you should be left satisfied. If you’re not and find yourself scouring the pantry for more food, ask yourself if it’s real hunger or something else. Are you bored? Are you feeling upset? While it may seem like a good idea at the time, using food as a distraction or emotional crutch isn’t helpful. Instead, call a friend, take a bath or curl up in bed with tea and a book.