8 Post-Dinner Snack Busting Strategies
Do you often snack after dinner? You’re not alone. For most people, evenings are their downtime to relax, watch TV, sit around on Facebook, and unwind from the stresses of the day. Not surprisingly, this time of day is usually when snacking is most common. Unconscious eating usually happens around this time, which leads to a large calorie intake at the end of the day.
If you eat healthy for the most part but usually binge on treats in the evening, then all that snacking is probably the reason why you might be retaining that extra weight.
Does that mean snacking is bad? Not necessarily. Snacking can be a strategy to control hunger and overall calorie intake, if done smartly. Moderation is important and you should never deprive yourself. Snacking occasionally is fine (especially when you make clean versions of your favourite treats) but when it’s done every day it can really set you back from achieving the results you want.
Remember – working out and eating right go hand in hand. If you snack all the time then you’re putting yourself in a position where the hard work you put in at the gym is being sabotaged by your eating habits.
Here’s our top 8 post-dinner snack busting strategies:
1) Up your water intake.
Thirst comes before hunger so you might just be thirsty when the snacking urge strikes. Drink a glass of water or two, wait 30 minutes, and see if the hunger persists.
2) Pump up the protein.
Eat more protein at main meals. Having a diet high in protein has been scientifically proven to keep you full for longer. A recent study by Heather Leidy suggests that high protein breakfasts help to control appetite until the next meal and reduces unhealthy snacking in the evening. Include more protein in all your main meals and see the snacking urge drop.
3) Fill up on fibre.
Like protein, foods rich in fibre keep you full for longer. That’s because eating too little fibre can make it tough to control blood sugar and appetite because fibre regulates the speed of digestion and contributes to satiety. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 eat about 38 grams of fibre each day and women consume 25 grams. Some great fibre-rich foods that you should include in your diet are lentils, beans, broccoli, avocados, pears, berries, whole wheat pasta and oatmeal.
4) Practice portion control.
Portion control is a crucial component to your weight loss plan. We even wrote an article about it.
5) Plan ahead!
If you want to avoid the temptation to snack on unhealthy treats after dinner, then you need to learn to plan ahead. Clean out your cupboards and remove all the unhealthy snacks. Write out your weekly meal plan so you have a good idea of what meals and snacks you're having each day. Plan ahead, be prepared and remove temptations.
6) Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the centre isles where the snacks are.
Picture your favourite grocery store. Chances are the fresh produce section, the meat and seafood departments, and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. This is where you should concentrate most of your shopping time.
7) Before you start snacking take a minute to ask yourself if you’re bored, or feeling anxious, or if you’re wanting to do this out of habit.
Have you noticed that when you’re feeling down you tend to gravitate toward high-calorie, sweet, and fatty foods? Emotional eating plays a big part in the way people interact with food. When we’re bored, stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, we tend to seek food for comfort.
Snacks that are high in fat and sugar make us feel really good when we eat them, so it’s easy to see why so many people eat those snacks when they’re feeling less than spectacular.
Emotional eating leads to overeating so it’s important to take a moment to check in with how you’re feeling before you start snacking after dinner.
It’s the same thing with snacking out of habit. When a routine or evening ritual is established it can be very difficult to break it. If you always reach for snacks around 8:00pm, the same urge will occur again and again until you change that habit.
8) Choose smarter snacks.
Learn to snack smart. Choose healthier snacks with a higher nutrition count and lower calorie count. A good-for-you snack is one that’s high in nutritional value (protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals) but relatively low in calories, total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium.
Some healthier snacking alternatives:
- Greek yoghurt with honey, berries and granola
- Tuna and crackers
- Fruit (a huge variety to choose from here)
- Unsalted almonds
- Cottage cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Air popped popcorn
- Protein bars
- Protein smoothies
- Veggie sticks with hummus
- SAO biscuits with vegemite
- Roasted chickpeas
- Apple wedges dipped into almond or peanut butter
- Avocado toast
- Frozen grapes
- Dark chocolate
- Kale chips
- Rice cakes
- Vegetable juices (it’s best to buy your own veggies and juice your own as most juices in grocery stores are high in sugar)
- Bean salad
Image credit: https://greatist.com/snacking