There is a famous saying: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!” This is a common and simple quote that is a great way to remember how to eat throughout the day. You should start the morning by eating a full, balanced and healthy diet with no real exemptions and eat less and less throughout the day; your smallest meal should be at dinner time for after all, it is not good to eat late at night.
Eating food late at night leads to weight gain. Northwestern university researchers found that eating late at night has led to twice the amount of weight gain than eating the same foods during the day. This is because after dinner snacking often involves nibbling on high calorie ‘junk’ foods whilst watching TV or reading a newspaper and you can get carried away. Without realizing it you may have consumed an entire family size pack of crisps.
Often, the reason people snack at night are for many reasons other than hunger such as boredom or stress. I know, I can be a sucker for boredom eating and often cannot associate boredom from hunger. Try drinking a glass of water infuse with fruit or mint if you feel hungry, if after half an hour you no longer feel that hungry feeling, you were not hungry, you were bored!
Regardless of the risk of weight gain, eating late at night prevents your food from digesting properly and it may sit in your stomach throughout the night and your body is more likely to store the calories which can increase your blood sugar level for a longer period of time. ‘Fasting’ throughout the night gives your body a good amount of time to rest and rejuvenate and enables it to continue burning calories the next day. If you take away the time it needs to prepare for this, you may see your body unable to burn fat as effectively as it has done in the past.
Late night eating can also affect sleeping patterns. This means you will be cranky the next day and may continue to consume more food in the hope of increasing your energy levels.
In order to avoid late night eating, try not to eat in front of the TV or whilst taking part in other mindless activities. If you really are into your late night snacking, as long as you try not to over do it you may be fine. Try choosing slightly healthier snacks such as nuts or crackers. My personal favourite is apple slices with cashew butter. Just make sure to stay away from the cookies and the crisps!!!