How to Conquer Late Night Eating

Those after dinner cravings. No matter how satisfying a dinner you’ve had, you just can’t get that gnawing feeling of munching out of your head (or tummy). You’re not alone! Quite possibly the number one challenge my clients face – and I’ve got a number of ways to help you tackle this all-too-common habit.

Eat breakfast. Yes, preventing the late night cravings starts first thing in the morning. Regular over eating at night might mean you’re not hungry at breakfast, but you’ve got to break the cycle. Have a protein rich meal, like whole eggs or my Power Protein Smoothie to start the day and keep your blood sugar stable – and prevent additional cravings later in the day.

Eat regularly – 5 small meals a day. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable and will prevent late night cravings/sudden hunger.

Avoid sugar from 3pm. This includes fruit.  I find that having sugar in the afternoon often brings on cravings at night.

Eat a protein rich dinner. Protein rich foods such as turkey, chicken, eggs, organic yoghurt, nuts and seeds contain amino acids – an especially important one called tryptophan that makes melatonin, the sleep hormone. I find my clients who do not eat a protein rich dinner do not sleep as well and tend to wake up to eat.

Avoid late night exercise. If your cortisol (stress hormone) is too high at night it will keep you awake and you will crave sugary foods.

Take some magnesium. Magnesium is that gorgeous mineral that calms the nervous system and aids sleep. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels, which will help to reduce late night cravings

Consider other supplements to cut cravings. Dr. Mark Hyman suggests several specific natural molecules that balance your blood sugar and insulin to help stop cravings:

  • Omega-3 fats, especially fish oil – a couple of capsules per day
  • Vitamin D to regulate hormones and balance insulin
  • Branched chain amino acids can also help balance hormones to stop cravings

Get into the stress free zone. Stress causes many people to eat at night, so give yourself time to relax before bed. Try a yoga position, legs up against the wall, meditation, belly breathing, walking in nature or reading with a cuppa to get into your stress free zone.

Remember, food is abundant. You have an entire day of food coming when you wake up. Sleep is for rest and repair. Your body needs it.

Tap into what is going on for you emotionally. Are you sad? Happy? Stressed? Bored? Deal with that in any way you can. Perhaps start by writing down your emotions in a journal. It acts as a distraction and, as another way of going into the stress free zone, may take the edge off.

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  • Hi Jess, if you avoid fruit in the afternoon, what is another afternoon snack I can have in my bag (no access to a fridge!) that is not nuts/seeds?! 🙂

    • Brown rice crackers with avocado or some veggie sticks (carrot/celery) with hummus!

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