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Quick question: on how many occasions in the last couple of weeks have you finished eating your last meal of the day only to find that you are rummaging through cupboards to look for something to snack on?
Don't worry, here I will share some strategies to help you with those evening food cravings. Let’s get started!
1. Consume an adequate dinner.
This tip does not mean to cram, it just means to eat until you are pleasantly full. Sometimes what a lot of individuals do is they hold back on dinner, thinking that they have already eaten too much today, only to find that they are stuffing themselves on a packet of crisps not so long after. Now I can almost assure you that the nutrient content is a lot higher and the calorie content is a lot lower if you have a suitable serving of dinner that really fills you up compared to if you do not eat enough but then you end up eating very high calorie and low nutrient snacks later on. So, do not be scared to eat a sufficient amount of dinner every day.
2. Plot for the craving.
If you are really starving, then I would say go for it! But just plan for it and snack intelligently. If you anticipate that you are going to be wanting something, then you can plan for it by ensuring that you shop for the ingredients and have snacks on hand that you know you will be nourishing for you. This will minimise the feeling of guilt that we usually feel when we eat when it is mindless and unplanned. Now ask yourself this, or even write it down: what is your snack type? In other words, what snacks in the evenings do you usually reach for? Based on this information, you can plot (based on these categories) a snack that will be nourishing and satisfying for when that evening hunger kicks in!
3. Sleep well.
We eat food because it tastes absolutely delicious, obviously! But we also eat food to provide us with the strength and stamina that we need for our day-to-day lives. Now, if you are someone who does not sleep enough, you might find your evening food cravings are particularly intense, especially for sweets and starchy foods. The reason for that is your brain is trying to keep you stimulated and awake and the brain’s preferred and primary energy source is carbohydrates. This is completely normal. So, try and listen to your body and get enough zzz’s in to help with this process.
4. Drink enough liquids.
One of the common difficulties is that we very often mistake thirst for hunger. If you are finding that you think you are hungry, ask yourself first when was the last time you had something to drink. If it was quite a while ago, I recommend having a cup or two of either water (or any other healthy beverage) and wait about ten minutes to see if you are still hungry. If you are still hungry after hydrating, then in that case, go for it. At least now you have got some additional liquids in you!
5. Be mindful.
Ask yourself when you are hungry, are you eating to maintain your body's healthy balance or are you eating in a wreckful manner (e.g. to comfort emotional distress)? Now, if you are eating because you are truly hungry and want to nourish yourself, then snack smart and relish/appreciate the moment.
Alright so that is a wrap! Those are five different ways to cope with late-night cravings.