Why It's Harder to Eat Healthier at Night
By Stepy Kamei
Many people will agree that one of the greatest feelings after coming home from a long day at work is settling in on the couch to relax and munch on your favorite snack. There's nothing inherently wrong with snacking, but it's important to make sure you're eating foods that are nutritious and beneficial to your health as much as possible. Sure, the occasional indulgence in a decadent dessert or snack is acceptable every once in a while (assuming you don't have a health condition that would conflict with this too severely), but many people find themselves binge eating on unhealthy processed foods more often than is really healthy. In fact, recent studies by nutritionists have shown that many people find it easy to overindulge in unhealthy eating habits during the evening even if they are healthy, nutritious snacks and meals all throughout the day. Fortunately, there is an explanation for this issue, which makes it all the more easier to work on fighting this bad habit from harming your diet and overall health. Keep on reading to learn about the common reasons why we find it easier to binge on foods that are lacking in nutritional value during the evening, and how to avoid this habit going forward.
The Pitfalls of Nighttime Eating
For people who throughout the day tend to rely on nutritionally deficient foods, such as processed and packaged meals and snacks, it makes sense that they also struggle with eating healthfully at night. So how do nutritionists explain the fact that even people who are good about maintaining healthy eating habits throughout the day sometimes slip up during the evening?
Nutritionists have found that it usually comes down to a few common factors about the evening. The biggest one is that our evenings are generally filled with unstructured time. We tend to thrive on routines, patterns, and structure -- it's how we get through our mornings and afternoons at work, and it's how we structure our breakfasts and lunches. However, when we get home and the evening rolls around, we're left with time that we need to fill however we choose. For many of us, this means mindlessly munching on chips, cookies, crackers, or any sort of processed and packaged snack that's conveniently at our fingertips. Whether we're bored or simply trying to pass the time, snacking is an intuitive method we've learned to help this unstructured period of our days go by faster.
Snacking Mindfully is Possible
Now that you're aware of this habit, you may find it easier to find alternative ways to snack mindfully and healthfully. For starters, be sure to stock up on snack foods that are simply healthier to begin with. Try to replace salty chips with apples and peanut butter, which will be more filling anyway. Or drizzle some honey and fresh berries onto Greek yogurt for a sweet snack that still provides protein and vitamins. Finally, consider placing your snacks onto plates and bowls before eating, as opposed to going straight into the bag or container because this can help improve your portion control.
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