And what’s the best way to deal with this oh-so-common scenario?
Maybe you got home late – or ate dinner particularly early – but come bedtime, you’re ravenous.
Women’s Health in the US dealt with this quandary – one that many of us experience regularly – this week, and asked an expert “what’s worse: going to bed hungry or snacking late at night?” and reported that, actually, it depends how hungry you are.
And, while there’s no clear-cut answer to this nutritional Catch-22, there are certain ways we can manage late-night eating, according to one of our accredited practicing dietitians, Chloe McLeod.
“It depends if you’re actually hungry due to not eating, or think you’re hungry due to being tired, emotional or bored. You could be experiencing cravings, too, which is something to consider,” says McLeod.
“If you didn’t get dinner, it’s a good idea to have something small and light, however if you are looking for food for another reason, taking a pause and thinking about why you’re looking for food, and will it actually help.”
Which will ring true for all the anxious eaters out there, we’re sure.
“If you didn’t get dinner for some reason, have something light, such as an omelette or some yoghurt,” says McLeod, who has a host of suggestions on what the best late dinners are.
“Otherwise, a glass of milk with cinnamon can make a great evening snack as well if you did get dinner, but are still feeling peckish,” she says.
“If you are looking for food for another reason, take a moment to consider why this is helps. Are you looking for food because you’re really tired (which hormones can play a role in). If so, simply going to bed is your best bet. If it is because you’re upset or emotional for some reason, consider if food will actually help, and what else you could do is best; maybe it’s a cup of tea, completing some relaxing yoga poses or calling your mum or friend for a chat,” suggests McLeod.
Another way to address this all-too-common scenario, according to Women’s Health, “reach for a low-cal, whole-grain snack like whole-wheat toast, high-fibre cereal, or popcorn,” and “stay away from high-protein or high-fat foods since they take longer to digest and can disrupt your sleep.”