Late-night eating is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to weight loss. (Full disclosure: I have struggles with it myself.) One of the reasons I tend to recommend eating plans that are lower in carbohydrates is because so many high carb foods literally create their own cravings. Advertisers weren’t kidding when they invented the slogan, “Betcha can’t eat just one”. Foods high in processed carbs are literally engineered to goose your appetite centers; in addition, they stimulate insulin, also known as “the hunger hormone”. (Interestingly, insulin’s other “nickname” is “the fat storage hormone”. Get my drift?)
I asked my good friend VP of Nutrition and Education at Atkins Nutritionals Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc, to provide a few quick tips on how to eat smart after dark. Here’s what she offered:
- Prevent Late-Night Eating Altogether: Eat low-carb meals throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady, thereby reducing cravings and the temptation to nosh on high-carb items like chips or cookies at night.
- Crunch Away: If you must snack at night choose crunchy, low-carb foods such as macadamia nuts or celery sticks filled with cream cheese or almond butter. The crunchiness gets your mouth moving, which helps make snacks more satisfying.
- No Containers on the Couch: Don’t take the food container to the couch. Instead, place your portion on a small plate and bring it with you. That way you’ll eat less and can keep better track of what you’re ingesting.
- Drink Up: Instead of eating, have something to drink. Hot beverages can help you cut your appetite. Try a mug of herbal tea sweetened with sucralose or stevia, low-carb hot cocoa or some chicken or beef broth. Or for something cool and creamy, have an Atkins Advantage shake. (Note: You can also make a low-calorie, low-carb, satisfying shake at home out of protein powder, with or without berries added for texture and flavor.)
- Keep Your Hands & Mind Busy: Instead of munching in front of the TV, keep your hands occupied and your mind sharp by picking up an engaging pastime, like knitting or making a scrapbook. You can even do the daily crossword puzzle during the ads.
A lifestyle that wards off late-night cravings, the Atkins Nutritional Approach includes a wide variety of whole foods including lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains to keep you satiated longer. The plan eliminates the simple sugars and simple carbohydrates that cause blood sugar to spike.
Dr. Jonny comments: I’ve always felt that Atkins got a terrible rap and was unfairly portrayed in the conventional media as the doctor who told you to eat pork rinds. Luckily, a great deal of research in the past decade has validated much of what he had to say.
My Diet Boot Camp program uses many concepts originated by Atkins, Barry Sears, Michael and Mary Dan Eades and others who realized early on that the greatest danger to our health and our waistline was not coming from fat but from ridiculously high amounts of processed carbohydrates. Learn more about my Diet Boot Camp.