We tend to complete daily tasks on a schedule. Having a routine makes helps to keep order and stay organized in the business of today’s world. Our eating habits tend to be more lenient when it comes to being on a schedule. One main culprit that leads us away from a healthy eating schedule is the habit of late-night snacking.
Why do we need an eating schedule?
When we talk about eating schedules, we think of infants and how their well-being relies on a consistent eating schedule. When you reach adulthood, you are able to go longer in between meals and eat when it pleases you, but that does not mean it is good to eat any time of the day.
While we know what we eat and how much we eat has an impact on our bodies, when we eat also plays a key role in overall health. According to the National Library of Medicine, consistently timed eating can help with digestion, metabolism, and heart health.
Snacking at night
Late evening into nighttime is when most people like to unwind and find themselves relaxing after a long work day. You can often find yourself bored some nights and mindlessly watching TV. During this time, it is common to want to reach for something to snack on like chips or popcorn but this habit can be unhealthy.
Part of your body’s natural rhythm causes systems such as your metabolic and digestive systems to slow down as bedtime gets closer. For example, the sleep hormone melatonin causes your body to produce insulin at a much slower rate, thus affecting the way your body breaks down sugars.
Breaking the Habit
If you are struggling with always wanting to reach for a snack after a long day, you have fallen into the habit of late-night snacking. Like all habits, it takes discipline and intentionality to work against the cravings for carbs or sugar after a long day. To break the habit and gain control over your eating schedule you can do the following:
- Journal your habits – Write down when the craving starts, what it is that you are craving, and what you are doing at the time. A journal entry could say, “7:30 PM, just put the children to bed and sat down to watch a movie. Craving a bag of chips”.
- Know your cues – When you journal, you will notice a pattern of when you want to indulge in the habit. These cues could look like, opening the refrigerator, passing a candy dish, or having a stressful day and thinking “I deserve this treat.”
- Replace the habit with something more beneficial – If you identify the cues that cause you to want to snack, then you can begin replacing those habits with something else. For example, if you find that you are snacking out of boredom as something to do while watching TV, you can replace the action of snacking with an activity like building puzzles or crocheting.
All dietary needs are different from person to person. It is important to discuss your eating habits with your doctor to learn more about what you can do to improve your overall health. Late-night snacking is one of many habits that can keep you from reaching your health and dietary goals. Find a provider to help guide you through your body’s unique dietary needs and create a plan to improve your health.
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