As the weekend begins, you will probably be staying up later than normal. If your like me, you will try to stay up late, but being exhausted from starting the day before 5am thanks to my tiny yet loud alarm clock named Joey, I probably won’t make it very long. But what I find happens is as I start to get tired, I find myself reaching for something to munch on to help me stay awake. It’s so hard to resist late night snacking. I struggle with it and I am sure you do to! Sometimes it happens because you are too tired, sometimes it happens due to boredom, and sometimes you just can’t resist that sweet or salty craving (especially after a glass of wine, am I right?).
The urge to snack late at night can come on for many reasons, and it may not even be the same reason each night. But these excess calories can really add up. So what can you do about it? First you need to identify if you are truly hungry or if your desire to snack is coming from boredom or emotional reasons. Before reaching for that snack, ask yourself if you are truly hungry. Is your stomach growling? If you aren’t sure, a good strategy is to wait 15 minutes before reaching for a snack. If you are still feeling the need to eat after this time, you are most likely hungry whereas a craving would typically pass. Another strategy is to allow yourself to snack on only vegetables or fruit. If you are truly hungry, any food choice will help to fill you up. If you are just craving a snack or “sweet treat” for emotional reasons or due to boredom, the idea of having produce may not be as appealing as the cookie you have been eyeing.
If hunger is the cause of your need to snack at night, look at your current dinner choices and see how you can improve them to make your meal more filling. Can you add an extra serving of vegetables to boost fiber without adding many calories? Can you increase your serving of lean protein to improve your feeling of fullness or drink an extra glass of water with your meal? Changes like this will not elevate blood sugar levels, but will help to leave you more satisfied so you can pass on that nighttime snack.
If you have boosted your intake at dinner and find you are still hungry at night, it’s fine to have a healthy snack. Choices that contain a balance of lean protein and healthy fat along with a complex carbohydrate are your best bet. Some options include:
- Almond butter on apple slices
- One ounce of low fat cheese with a handful of nuts
- 3 cups of air popped popcorn
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- ½ cup low fat cottage cheese with fresh berries
If you are craving something salty and sweet and just can’t shake it, try making my favorite no-guilt nighttime snack:
Chocolate Popcorn Trail Mix
- 3 cups air popped popcorn
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 Tbs dark chocolate chips
Mix together, serve, and enjoy! Makes 2 servings.
Whenever you snack in the evening, make sure to practice mindful eating habits to help fight against boredom eating which can lead to excess calorie intake and elevate blood sugar levels. To do this, when you snack, make sure to focus on the food you are eating and remove all distractions. Turn off the TV and the computer and sit down to eat your food on a plate. Make sure you focus on what you are eating and involve all of your senses. What does the food taste like? Smell like? What is the texture of the food? The more you ‘experience’ the food instead of quickly gobbling it up, the more satisfied you will feel and the less likely you will be tempted to go back for more.
My favorite way to tell if you truly need to eat because you are hungry or just because you feel like it is to tell yourself the only snack option available is a vegetable. If your truly hungry, that vegetable snack will sound really appealing. If you just felt like snacking, you may notice you aren’t as tempted 😉
That is a saying my mom has always said when we learn about something terrible or tragic happening. Why do some people face such awful hardships and adversity? Only God knows. This week, my cousin introduced me to a little girl named Emma. She is the beautiful 9 month old daughter of her college friend. This precious little baby is suffering from cancer and has started to fight the toughest battle of her young life. Her parents have been posting updated on her condition on her YouCaring page and my heart breaks each time I read them. When I look at my healthy, active, precious son, I am so incredibly blessed. It’s stories like Emma’s that make us all sit back and really be thankful for what we have and appreciate every aspect of every day.
It doesn’t matter what your religion is or what you believe in. What matters is that we don’t take our health or our lives for granted. Embracing every day, loving those around you, and being thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t is really what matters. If you can, please take a moment to send prayers or positive thoughts to Emma and her family as well as every other family out there dealing with a child fighting to overcome an illness or disease. If you are able, consider donating to help them with their medical expenses. But just knowing that you are supporting them in their fight against this horrid disease will help to give this adorable little fighter the strength she and her family need to keep going, conquer cancer, and continue to lead the healthy and happy life she deserves.
Hug your little one extra hard tonight, I know I will be as well.
Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate our freedom and remember all of those who have worked so hard to protect our great country (extra thank you to my amazing Daddy for his service!!), it’s also important to express your ability to party! Just don’t get too crazy ☺ And remember, you can celebrate in a healthy, but still delicious way. If you want to sip on a festive cocktail that isn’t packed full of sugar this weekend, try this easy-to-make option that can be either kid-friendly or adult friendly. After this busy week, I know which option I’m choosing! Red-White-and HELLO Tasty Cocktail (or Mocktail) 1 oz cranberry juice ¾ cup seltzer 1 shot vodka (for the adult version) Mix together, top with crushed ice and fresh blueberries and serve chilled. Enjoy!
We all have that one friend, the one who can eat anything she wants, never counts a calorie, and never worries about her weight. She just looks good all the time. I have a friend like that (maybe more of a frienimy since I secretly hate her at times). We were recently shopping together when she was discussing how it can be hard to find clothes because many times everything in the store is simply too big on her. Did I kind of want to slap her –yes! But in watching her and listening to her, there’s a lot of takeaway messages we can all learn from these seemingly “effortless” skinny people.
For one thing, just because you are skinny doesn’t mean that you love your body or that your life is any better or easier than someone who is overweight. Sure, I haven’t experienced this myself, but I could see how it may be upsetting to try and shop for clothes and everything you liked is just way too big and doesn’t look right. It can be just as hard as when everything is too small and too tight. We all want to look our best, and when we can’t, it impacts our confidence. So, let’s not be too jealous of skinny people- they have clothes shopping problems too.
But the biggest thing I have learned from this friend as well as working with clients who are thin, is that being skinny isn’t something they were necessarily born with. There’s a reason they don’t gain weight easily. So here are the top three lessons you can learn from skinny people if you want to be one yourself:
#1: Skinny people are some of the slowest eaters you will ever find! The slower you eat, the sooner you feel satisfied on less calories. Give it a try- take at least 30 minutes to eat your meal or snack. Put the fork down in between bites and rest a bit before diving in for the next. You will be amazed at how much less you eat.
#2: Take smaller bites. Skinny people don’t just eat slower, they eat smaller too. My friend will go out to eat and order a burger, fries, and a regular soda. This meal probably has over 2000 calories, if she were to eat all of it. But does she? Well by the time she is done taking bites smaller than my toddler takes, after about 30 minutes she is full. And guess what, only about 1/3 of the burger has been eaten along with a few fries and a few sips of soda. It’s not always about what we order, it’s the portion size of it that matters the most.
#3: Skinny people are fidgety. My same skinny friend, if you weren’t already mad enough at her, she doesn’t go to the gym either. Or workout at home. Nope, she’s skinny, eats what she wants and doesn’t exercise. I know, I know- you want to smack her now too! But guess what she does do- she never stops moving! She doesn’t sit when she talks on the phone, she paces. She is animated when she talks. She takes the long way to the bathroom at work and she never uses the escalator or elevator unless she has to. She’s not doing this to burn extra calories, she’s doing this because she feels good when she moves. Even if you workout for a solid hour each day, if you sit the rest of it, you won’t burn as many calories as my friend. You have to make sure to fit in movement at every possible chance during the day.
So there you go. The next time you start feeling envious of your skinny friend, take a look her behaviors and you may just see some of these traits. If you start to adopt them yourself, you may find controlling your weight to be more “effortless” as well.