Have you ever woken up with breath that has you wondering what is living — or just died — in your mouth? You feel, and look, like a sloth as you maneuver sluggishly from your bed to the bathroom.
You take a quick look in the mirror, at your reflection, only to discover that your “last 10 pounds” has relocated itself onto your face. You look like you’re recovering from a plastic surgery that you’re not scheduled for another 10-20 years from now.
You have a lot of unanswered questions…
Did someone try to poison me last night?
Did I fall asleep hanging upside down again?
Up until the point you can remember; you had come home after what felt like one of the worst days of your life. You self-prescribed some soul food — a bowl of ice cream. In turn, this set off a series of snack delights. A self-diagnosis leads you to believe that you’ve developed a slight case of eating amnesia. You can’t totally recollect what led to the food bender, although there are some food stains on your clothes and multiple snack wrappers in the waste basket. Not too much of a mystery on this crime scene.
Then it is time for repentance and cleansing. You take a hot shower, repeatedly telling yourself “I’m never going to do this again”. So what’s going to stop you next time?
Well, there are two things that I have found that curb my late night cravings and have me feeling comfortably full: fluid and fiber.
Here the best 8 foods and beverages that will get you through the after dinner food frenzies and curb late night cravings!
1. Soups –
First make sure they are water based soups (vs crème based soups). I love soups for late evening snacks because they are typically low calorie (aprox 100-150 calories per serving). The varieties are plenty so I’m never bored, you’re also going to get plenty of fluid and fiber with the added vegetables. I have to take my time eating them. I make sure they are heated to the boiling point, sometimes watering them down to create more fluid, and I always add some hot spices.
By spending more time eating, I’m tricking my brain into thinking I’m eating more because it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Slow eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full obviously translates into eating less.
2. Salads –
First, make sure the salad consists of water based vegetables such as; lettuces, peppers and tomatoes — not starchy vegetables like corn, peas and potatoes. These starchy vegetables contain more calories. I love salads because I have to take my time eating them, due to the bulk that vegetables naturally have.
Second of all, the combination of vegetables and dressings (that I use sparingly) are endless, so I’ve got plenty of opportunities to change it up and avoid boredom. It also gives me a chance to add some healthy fats into my diet via the dressings I use.
3. Shakes –
I get plenty of fluid and fiber from my shakes, which normally include water, protein powder and berries. I can also add in some yogurt, peanut/almond butter or a banana as a treat, so I don’t feel deprived.
4. Popcorn –
A low calorie high fiber snack that you can eat with your hands for that feeling of real indulgence! The most natural form of popcorn is the air-popped variety in that every calorie, nutrient and phytochemical comes straight from the kernel. A 3-cup serving of plain, air-popped popcorn supplies just over 90 calories, 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and close to 19 grams of carbohydrates. Nearly 20 percent of these carbohydrates, or about 3.6 grams, come from dietary fiber. Corn is arguably not the most nutritious food, but it’ll have you feeling full which is what I need before hitting the sack!
5. Crackers and Chips –
If you’re like me and like a snack that has a crunch to it, the right kind of crackers and chips will be a great late night snack. The right kind will be the brand with good flavor, while containing more natural ingredients and lower sodium — two things that normally make crackers and chips taste like s***, so shop and sample wisely!
6. Single Serving Snacks –
Who ever came up with this idea is an absolute genius! Humans need to be put on rations because most of us don’t have much discipline when it comes to controlling our food intake – I am also one of those not so disciplined ones.
Can you blame us though, being constantly surrounded by convenient calories? Every day is a day in a candy store for us, if we wish it to be that way. Being offered rations of single servings isn’t such a bad thing; it will allow us to easily get our snack fix while controlling our calorie intake.
7. Sparkling water –
I have a thing for carbonation. I love the fizz and the funny feeling I get in my throat when I drink carbonated beverages. I first found my fizz and fun in a can of cola, which led me to believe I was literally addicted to colas while I was in high school. By the time I started bodybuilding, it only made sense to switch to diet cola (since I was now health conscious — lol). My love affair and obsession of “D.C” continued well into my thirties, until I began to consider it a treat and not a fix! This is when I found mineral water. Carbonated water, like mineral water, sparkling waters, and club sodas are waters to which carbon dioxide gas has been added under pressure and then dissolved. The carbonation (bubbles) can give you a feeling of being full so it makes for a great late night beverage and is also a substitute for sugar filled or diet sodas. There is no evidence to suggest that carbonated water has any health risks associated with it so you can get all the fizz and fun without any possibly side effects! P.S. try adding lemon, lime or a splash of fruit juice to your sparkling water for some extra zing!
8. Flavored teas –
I initially had a problem drinking tea, or at least admitting that I did, not because they didn’t taste great, but that I thought they were a feminine drink (something that dudes don’t drink). Well, I haven’t started talking softer or growing breasts so I think it is time to confess that I love flavored teas. It’s a hot beverage so you have to drink them slowly, and slow wins the bedtime without the food-bender battle. There are teas from all kinds of sources like fruits, flowers and spices originating from all over the world — so you’ll never get bored. If you have a sweet tooth you can sweeten the tea with some natural honey or a splash of milk. Many teas such as green tea have therapeutic and anti-oxidant benefits and if you’re looking to decrease or eliminate caffeine (especially late night), teas are a great substitute for coffee. And for the icing on the (chocolate) cake… I always eat some sort of chocolate candy right before I go to bed. I get bashed by just about everybody for this habit because you’re not supposed to eat before you go to bed, especially chocolate. I was never one for other people’s rules or opinions and moreover, this habit works for me because first of all, I love chocolate! Second of all, if I eat chocolate and remain awake, I eat more chocolate — a lot more chocolate. If I’m sleeping, I can’t eat chocolate and it’s as simple as that!
So get your late night fixes to avoid food frenzies that leave you with a food hangover the next morning!
Inspire to Aspire,
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