Friday 13 July 2012

Q & A: Late Night Snacking Solution

Q: I do great during the day, but at night when I’m working late, I really struggle with snacking on junk and it is killing my progress, what should I do?

Good on you for recognizing this problem! This is a killer for a lot of people - especially because most people snack on refined carbs which raise insulin and tell the body to store fat. The best defence against this problem is to go to bed early. This will improve your health, recovery and body composition. A good night of sleep also creates the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss. Do this as often as possible and get up earlier if you need extra time for work.

Not a good dinner choice to feel full
What you eat for dinner will be a big factor in how hungry you are later on. Many people have dinners that contain a lot of starch (e.g. rice, potatoes, pasta) with less protein, healthy fat and fiber. This not only contributes to fat gain itself, but it also tends to make you extra hungry later on.

However, I recognize that this is not always possible and practical and that working late is sometimes an unfortunate necessity. When this happens, you want to first consider when you ate last. If you had dinner several hours ago, then you may want to have an appropriate evening snack. Typically, you want something high in fibre, protein and/or fat and lower in carbs. Here are a few examples:
  • Cottage cheese, apple, and almonds
  • Protein powder (e.g. milk protein isolate), walnuts, berries (note: limit the amount of water used in the shake so you do not have to wake up to go to the bathroom)
  • Raw veggies dipped in natural nut butter (don't over-do the nut butter)

All of these examples will stay with you a long time, result in a smaller raise in blood sugarlevels, less insulin and less fat gain.
If you had a later dinner, then do not worry about a bedtime snack.

After you have eaten for the last time, then get ready brush your teeth and floss and get ready for bed. This not only gets this important oral hygiene done, but it gives you another obstacle. If you do eat something else, then you have to brush and floss all over again – and you are a busy person who does not have time for that.

Another helpful hind is to get rid of “snack foods” from your cupboard. This will make it even harder to have an unhealthy late-night snack because it means a trip to the corner store – something you especially do not want to do in your night-time attire.

You can also post your goals on the fridge and kitchen cupboards. Let your goals dictate your eating habits.

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