The Guilt Of Late-Night Snacking

Growing up, the ideal of “don’t snack late at night!” was cemented in my head by my mother, seemingly to keep me healthier. Is it really all that bad? Can we have our cake and eat it too?

The short answer is “no, it is not all that bad.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can have your cake, but it depends on how much of that cake you eat, and how much physical activity you do throughout the day, to determine whether you gain, lose or maintain your weight.

Should I Feel Guilty For Snacking Late At Night?

No! It is okay to cheat sometimes. Grace Derocha, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan registered dietitian and certified health coach, supports this theory further.

“One should always listen to their body,” Derocha said. “So if your body is telling you it is hungry and needs fuel, then eat accordingly.”

She also notes that the type of food you choose at night is important, and adds you should “focus on adding healthy, nutrient-dense food to your diet even late at night.”  It depends on WHAT you eat and how much of it you consume. This list of healthy alternatives is full of great options to satisfy your hunger pains and eliminate guilt.

What If I Want To Avoid Late Night Snacking Entirely? Derocha had even more advice for the night owls with an appetite.

  • EAT BREAKFAST! This will make it less likely for you to snack or overeat at night.
  • Eat regularly throughout your day. This will help you avoid late-night snacking. Our bodies send signals to us to eat every three to five hours, depending on the speed of your metabolism.
  • Think first! Are you eating because you’re bored, or are you actually hungry? Recall when you last ate, and think about what you might want to eat.
  • Get into a routine. Set a bed time and have a solid late-night plan. This will help you avoid the urge to snack.
  • Follow these additional seven steps to best remedy the urge to snack late at night.

The most important thing for those hungry late at night – avoid overeating. It is very easy to get caught up in sweets, and if you’re spending your time behind a screen, boredom eating can take on full effect. Late night snacking, when controlled, isn’t the end of the world – but remember, moderation is key.

Is snacking late at night an issue for you?

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Photo Credit: Danielle Deleon

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