Craving sweets at night? Here's What To Eat.
Friday, April 27, 2018
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika Christ, Bad Eating Habits, Cravings

One of the most frequent questions my clients ask me is what they should eat at night when they’re craving something sweet. There’s just something about that time of day. For me, it’s when I finally slow down and relax. My family’s typical day is go-go-go from the moment we wake up in the morning, getting lunches packed and the entire family ready and dropped off in time for school and work. By the time we eat dinner and get in a little more play, we have a small chunk of time left to relax. I know for many, this is that time of day when the sweet tooth can really kick in. 


WHY DO I CRAVE SWEETS AT NIGHT?

Your blood sugar regulation has a lot to do with why you might be craving sweets. Not only does it have a huge impact on your metabolism and ability to burn fat, but blood sugars help to regulate your hunger and energy levels. When your stress levels are high, your blood sugar rises. And for many, the end of the day helps you to relax, lowering your stress hormones (and your cortisol) which in turn causes your blood sugar to lower. When blood sugar goes down, you usually start to crave sugar; hence, a nighttime sweet tooth. 


IS IT OK TO SNACK AT NIGHT?

Yes, but the nutrients and serving size do matter. Most people jump to eating full sugar treats or starchy carbs (chips, popcorn, etc.) that don’t balance your blood sugars and instead spike it — leaving it to drop fast, which may disrupt your sleep or even cause more hunger throughout the night. Instead, focus on a balanced snack that will help to slightly increase your blood sugar, but also stabilize it. If you eat dinner late (an hour or so before bed) you might not need a snack. But if you’re like me (energetic toddler that likes and needs to eat dinner by 5 or 5:30pm), you could benefit from a small snack before bed. I always suggest half an hour prior, so your body has some time to digest before lying down and sleeping. For example, because I’m in bed by 9pm, a snack at 8:30pm works really well.


IF I SNACK, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?

I suggest combining a carb and a fat. My personal favorite is a small apple with a little bit of almond butter (my daughter also loves this). But you could also pair an ounce of cheese with a little fruit, or frozen berries with an ounce of heavy cream. My latest favorite is Chocolate Chip Collagen Cookie Dough made with our Life Time Beef Protein with Collagen Peptides. I love this recipe because it’s filling, and you can batch prep it ahead of time and keep it in your refrigerator. As a busy mom to an energetic toddler, I like using chickpeas in this recipe as a way to sneak in more plant protein and fiber. Combined with the other ingredients, this treat is both kid- and adult-approved. 


HOW CAN I CURB NIGHTTIME SUGAR CRAVINGS? 

Check your cues. If you just ate dinner and are craving sugar, you might need to adjust your nutrient balance at dinner to make sure you’re getting in enough protein. Sugar cravings could also mean your stress levels are flying high during the day, and dropping dramatically at night. If this is the case, I’d suggest working on managing your stress hormones during the day so they don’t have a huge drop-off. Like your blood sugars, we want them to be balanced during the day (no huge peaks and no cliff drop-offs). Also, question whether you’re just bored and try drinking water first. This can help you decide if you’re hungry or just thirsty. Otherwise, if you have ample time between dinner and bed, pre-plan your healthy nighttime snacks so your decision is already made and you'll be less likely to go after the junk. (Even better, don’t bring junk in the house). 

Try a few of my tips and email me at coaching@lt.life.com if you have any questions, or if you're looking for nutrition coaching support. Many of my clients have had success curbing sugar cravings with our 14-day D.TOX℠ Program. Click here for more info.

 

In health, Anika Christ – Director – Digital Programming & Events – Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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