Have you ever heard anyone complain that they eat well all day, but they can’t keep themselves from snacking after dinner? They do a great job making healthy choices all day, but then everything goes haywire after dinner. Why is that?
Our bodies need a certain amount of fuel to get us through the day. If we haven’t eaten that amount of nutrition and calories by the time we get up from the dinner table, then we’ll spend the rest of the day, until bedtime, trying to make up the difference.
Unfortunately, the calories we eat after dinner aren’t usually all that nutritious. After all, it’s not like you’re going to find grilled fish and a tossed salad in the snack cabinet.
So what’s the solution to after-dinner snacking? Eat more food before dinner, all throughout the day. If you’re skipping breakfast, don’t! All you have to do is run a spoon through the peanut butter and pop it into your mouth while you walk out the door. How much time does that take?
I’m not recommending that you munch on granola bars all morning. Or that you pour yourself an extra-large bowl of Frosted Crunch-os for breakfast. In my book, that’s not food; it’s candy.
I leave for work every day with at least one piece of fruit and either a handful of nuts or a cheese stick. If I think today’s going to be an extra-hungry kind of day, I might take both. Cheese sticks are nice because the portions are preset, and they can make it through the day without refrigeration. Also, I like to make my fruit easy for munching. So every morning I slice up something, whether it’s an apple, orange or kiwi, and then I tuck it into my bag for later. While I’m at it, I make baggies of sliced fruit for my children too. Depending on what’s in the refrigerator, I might also take vegetables, like slices of peppers or cucumbers. And for some reason, olives are an especially satisfying snack to me.
True confessions here: Even though I rarely (okay, never) skip breakfast, sometimes I’m hungry by 10 a.m. No problem — I eat some fruit or the cheese stick. Sometimes my lunch is gone by 11 a.m., and then I’m seriously hungry at 3. No problem — I eat my nuts and finish my fruit. See the pattern?
After dinner, sometimes I enjoy a cup of tea, and sometimes not. But I don’t care what’s in the cabinets. I’m full and satisfied. Tomorrow is another day.
If you find yourself cruising the cabinets after dinner night after night, the solution may be as simple as eating a bit more throughout the day.