Many of the people I have worked with over the years have one common challenge among them; late night munchies. Who doesn't get the late night munchies at one point or another? The challenge comes when we are craving something sweet or salty and it just so happens we know where we can get our hands on a nice bag of chips or chocolate. Once we get to this point, all hope is lost as we make deals with ourselves and talk ourselves into moving towards said stash.
The reality of the late night munchies are two fold; you are either truly hungry or in the habit of eating at that time of night (perhaps due to extreme boredom or sitting in front of the TV). At any rate, if weight loss is a goal of yours, a plan must be created to effectively overcome this very challenging barrier.
The first step in making a change is evaluating the reason behind the munchies. If it is hunger, I suggest you examine what you have for dinner and make the changes tomorrow night. If you just ate a plate of pasta with sauce, there's no doubt you will be hungry later. If you combine some protein (lentils, meat, legumes, soy) with some whole grain and lotsa veggies (reader beware: I am soooo not a nutritionist, but do understand the basics of it...I'm just sayin' in case there is some nutritionist reading this and yelling at me).
At any rate, it is what you choose to eat for dinner that may influence your hunger later on. On the other hand, if you aren't really hungry why are you craving that evening snack? That's the question. My suggestion at that point is to pull out your journal or a piece of paper and write down some thoughts about this. What would happen if you kept yourself occupied? What if you read a book or went for a walk? How can you break this habit of late night eating? It's completely do'able; it just takes time and some personal introspection.
So...what if you are hungry and need a snack? I have listed a few great snack ideas below that won't load on the extra calories but will (hopefully) curb your cravings.
For the Sweet "Craver"...
I have taken this directly from "Beth's Journey" blog and highly recommend you visit her for more healthy (and very fun) recipes. This is obviously completely easy to do and would serve as a healthy night time snack. You could use any nut butter, but I believe this is peanut (if you have yet to try almond butter...I highly recommend it). Click here for more information on Beth's blog...http://bethsjourney.com/
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=231 . It takes literally 10 minutes to prep and a few to refrigerate, but if you plan ahead, you could be enjoying small bars of this for your evening snack. It's a great pre or post exercise snack also. I have already made this one and love it! Just be careful of your serving size. I would suggest no larger than a business card.
For the Salty Craver...
The most important message here is the awareness of what is eating out of habit and what is hunger. We tend to be emotional eaters (especially at night when our activity may be low). However, if you are hungry and need a little something, I hope the above helps. Serving size is the key!
Have a great day!