4 tips to bust late-night cravings
Find yourself constantly rummaging through the pantry or freezer for a sweet somethin’ before bed? F45 nutritionist Kim Bowman explains how eating the right things throughout the day can eliminate those cravings from becoming a habit.
We’ve all experienced that 9pm craving for something sweet that just can’t be ignored. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some sweet treats every now and then, but when these cravings for sugary foods occur on a regular basis, we can fall into a constant cycle of late-night snacking that may affect our weight loss goals.
Research has shown that late-night eating is linked to excess intake of empty calories, which makes it tough to move past plateaus and achieve health goals. But by eating well throughout the day, these cravings can easily be curbed.
Eat regularly throughout the day
Having consistent meals throughout the day is key for keeping blood sugars balanced and maintaining feelings of fullness.
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Incorporate three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two smaller snacks, which is ideal for providing your body with the nutrients it needs to feel energised and satiated.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
By jumpstarting your metabolism, breakfast is essential for setting your body up for either a productive day or one that may leave you feeling tired, irritable, and craving snacks later.
Having high-glycemic (GI) foods—such as baked goods, donuts, croissants etc.— in the morning will cause blood sugar to skyrocket, crashing soon after and you’ll quickly feel hungry again.
Low-glycaemic foods, on the other hand, cause a slower, steadier increase in blood glucose and optimise your metabolism for calorie burning.
These include sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, whole grain breads, beans, veggies, and some fruits, including bananas.
Protein and fibre are key to sustain feelings of fullness
Ensuring we achieve adequate protein and fibre intake throughout the day will ensure we avoid filling up on empty calories. Protein increases satiety, which helps to suppress ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger cues.
There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre, which includes fermented and resistant starch, is key for moderating cravings. It slows digestion, keeping us feeling more satisfied for longer and regulating appetite.
A homemade smoothie is a great way to incorporate protein, fibre, and number of vitamins and minerals. Be sure to incorporate a quality protein source and add a source of fibre, such as chia seeds or oats, to a smoothie for more nutrient density.
Stick to a meal timing method, such as intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a mindful eating pattern that focuses on cycling through time windows of fasting and eating.
By eating regularly throughout the day during a specific time window, such as 10am to 8pm, we allow our body to adopt an efficient pattern for metabolising and digesting the food we consume in the day. Intermittent fasting research has highlighted that it is an ideal method for regulating insulin and stabilising blood sugars, which is key for avoiding late-night cravings.
Simply pick an 8-10 hour time window that you know you can stick to throughout the day and incorporate your meals at regular intervals throughout this period.
It’s a great way to become more mindful of your hunger cues while also ensuring you stay on top of consuming quality foods in the day to avoid cravings at night!
Kim Bowman is F45’s Sport Nutritionist
Note: always consult with a health care professional for more information prior to starting a dietary protocol such as intermittent fasting.