There’s a light in the fridge so surely eating when it’s dark out is acceptable human behaviour, right? Either way, fear not. There are ways to deal with the attack of the late night munchies, starting off by asking yourself a few questions:
Are you eating properly during the day?
The quantity (and quality) of your daily food intake affects your appetite in the pm. “Generally people may feel hungry after dinner because they haven’t eaten enough food during the day or they haven’t eaten enough of the right foods during the day to satisfy their hunger,” shares Teresa Cutter aka The Healthy Chef. “Making sure you are also getting enough protein is also crucial as protein can work effectively to regulate the appetite and increase satiety.”
Is it actual hunger or just boredom?
Give yourself a chance to distinguish the difference. “I normally have a glass or two of water if I feel hungry and wait 10 minutes as sometimes your body just needs to hydrate,” advises Teresa. “I love a cup of tea before bed and sometimes make a large pot of it! Chamomile and passionflower are my two favourites. These are great to calm your nervous system and help you sleep.”
It’s important to remember that not all snacks are created equal. So think about the types of foods you eat rather than just raiding the pantry for whatever you can get your hands on, as eating later at night can disturb digestion, sleeping patterns and even promote weight gain. Teresa generally recommends “avoiding heavier types of foods before bed.” “Carbs and dairy can be great so long as they come from whole food sources such as fresh fiber-rich fruits including apples, pears and oranges and organic cultured yoghurts,” says Teresa. “They also help promote tryptophan production in the body which helps to make serotonin – the ‘feel good’ hormone responsible for wellbeing and a good night’s sleep.”