Working as a Naturopath, one of the most common questions I’m asked is how to help people manage their food and weight.
While most people are amazing at eating well throughout the day, after dinner can be a completely different story!
What you may not realise however, is that there are a number of mental, emotional and physical factors that could be causing you to reach for a treat (or stare into the pantry after dinner!).
Here’s how to eat smart and avoid the binge…
Consider that you might actually be hungry.
Your cravings could indicate that you simply haven’t eaten enough throughout the day.
Try boosting your meals with more protein and good fats – think nuts, seeds, a bigger portion of chicken, feta sprinkled over your salad – and include some filling snacks throughout the day to meet your energy demands. These foods offer satiety and help to maintain consistent blood sugar levels.
Cut the sugar.
An imbalanced diet – one high in sugar and simple carbs – can lead to further cravings and more indulgence in the same foods.
Some of the big culprits here are white bread, sugary drinks, sweetened snacks. Swap them for more complex carbohydrates – like sweet potato, legumes and whole grains.
Get more sleep.
Did you know insomnia can increase junk food cravings? Aim for a solid eight hours of quality sleep.
Including complex carbs with dinner can help with this too, as insulin helps move tryptophan into the brain.Tryptophan is what we make serotonin (aka the feel good hormone) from!
Tap into your emotions.
Becoming more aware of how you’re feeling could help you figure out if you’re actually hungry, and if not, help you understand the real reason you may have a particular craving.
Ask yourself these questions when the munchies hit:
- Am I tired?
- Am I wanting something to reward myself with after a long day?
If you answered yes to any of the above, why not replace that snack with something more productive? Head outdoors for a walk to destress or grab a cup of chai instead.
Sometimes a craving won’t leave until we acknowledge it, and hey, we’re all human. But stop the binge from becoming a blow out by allowing yourself a snack. Just choose wisely and consider a savoury, fibre-filled snack instead of a nutrient-deficient sweet treat. One of our favourites is a sliced apple, slathered with peanut butter. Yum!