Late night snacking can become a bad habit that prevents us from reaching our goals. It’s important to approach change with curiosity and action. We cannot force change to happen if we don’t have an understanding of what’s causing us to behave in a certain way. This is just as true applied to other areas of our lives as it is with our eating habits.
Imbalanced hormones and unstable blood sugar are often the lead cause of late night cravings. While you may be able to avoid late-night snacking a majority of the time with sheer will-power, the reality is, late-night cravings are uncomfortable and usually indicate something isn’t quite right.
The following tips below will help you to get your system in balance and break the cycle for good.
1. Balance Your Hormones
Imbalanced hormones will impact our insulin and destabilize our blood sugar. Obesity, unpredictable weight gain, acne, and late night cravings are often all rooted in endocrine issues. There are a few things that have a massive impact on throwing our systems out of balance: not enough sleep, eating too many processed foods, and stress. This little checklist can get you started on balancing your hormones:
- Get to bed by 11pm and sleep for 8 hours
- Black-out your room (no light coming in)
- Use essential oils like lavender, peppermint and sage to relax your nervous system
- Drink holy basil tea
- Cut out the fried foods and sugar
- Drink more water
- Supplement with Omega 3’s
- Stick to Clean oils like coconut, olive oil and avocado oil or grass-fed butter
- Eat Clean (Need help with this one? Take the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge)
2. Get Enough Nutrition During the Day
One of the most common culprits of late-night snacking is not eating enough during the day. If you’re being overly restrictive in an attempt to lose weight, or just forget to eat during the day, this could backfire when the night sets in. Being under-nourished or craving sugar can prevent us from falling asleep. Rather than restricting yourself, try crowding your plate with Clean Eating recipes so you can stay nourished, get enough, and stop those late night hunger pangs. While calories are important to an extent, nutrient density is even more important than calories. You can get 500 calories eating a small bag of chips and you’ll be hungry in an hour, or you can eat a piece of salmon and some veggies and feel satiated for much longer!
3. Drink More Water
Sometimes our brain tells us we’re hungry when actually, we just need water! Be sure to get at least 1-2 liters a day if you’re experiencing sugar cravings at night. Before reaching for a carby snack, try grabbing yourself a nice warm lemon water and take a few deep breaths. When the attention is steered away from the craving and a nourishing replacement is put into place, the craving may go away on its own. If you’re drinking water and the cravings are still coming strong, it may indicate you need to eat more! Choose Clean Friendly options like the soup recipe coming up next 🙂
4. Try this Cabbage Detox Chicken Soup Recipe
If you feel bloated, inflammed, exhausted and hungry; it might be time for a detox! You don’t need to ONLY eat this soup every day, but it’s a wonderful addition to your weekly menu. Sometimes our digestive system needs a little break, especially if we’ve been eating a lot of processed foods or sugar. This detox soup recipe will help you beat sugar cravings and help you shed water weight.
5. Incorporate Bitter Foods into Your Diet
Bitter foods stimulate the liver to produce bile, an important part of digestion . Try grapefruit, dark-leafy greens like arugula, collard greens, dandelion greens and kale.
6. Supplement with Minerals like Magnesium and Zinc
Magnesium and zinc both play roles in regulating insulin and glucose in the body. A deficiency in these minerals can lead to cravings for sugar. If you find yourself craving chocolate frequently, this may be a sign that you need to dose up on minerals. And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing wrong with having a love for chocolate. Making the better choice is half the battle. If you’re going to go for chocolate, make it dark chocolate and either make treats for yourself like these Chocolate PB Protein Bites or purchase a low-sugar option and moderate your consumption.
7. Supplement with L-Glutamine
Taking L-glutamine at the onset of your sugar cravings can help reduce the intensity and kick the cravings to the curb. Try taking around 500 mg 3 times a day. You can take an extra dose when you have a craving for something sweet. Glutamine is a simple amino acid that helps to stabilize blood sugar. While you’re waiting for the craving to pass, make sure you have a plan! Drink your glass of lemon water, take yourself on a walk, or pick up a book to get your mind in the zone.
*Be sure to consult with your care provider if you have any health conditions or are on pharmaceutical prescriptions.
8. Create a Bedtime Routine
If your routine consists of Netflix and snacking, it’s going to be very difficult to break this habit without a plan! Consider having a no-screen policy after a certain time at night, or give yourself 1 hour of screen-free time to stretch, drink water, and read before you fall asleep. Not only does this improve brain health, but it can lower levels of stress and anxiety too. It’s also important that you get into bed before your second win to avoid cravings.
If you’ve incorporated all of the other tips in this article, you’ll find that this is the last piece of the puzzle. You’re building new habits, so be gentle with yourself and ask for support if you need it! The doors to the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge are open to you if you want to take your goals to the next level.