Do you struggle with evening overeating?
If you are like many Americans that work during the day, you can probably relate to this unhealthy routine that leads to evening overeating.
Does your day start in a race with the clock to get out the door?
Do you skip breakfast because you don’t have time?
Do you skip lunch some days because there is just too much work to be done?
Are you so hungry by the time you get home in the evening that you feel like you could eat everything in sight?
Do you eat almost continuously from the time you get in the house after work until you go to bed?
Eventually this pattern of evening overeating will put us on the fast track to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
So how do we turn it around?
Start practicing these healthier habits to prevent extreme hunger by evening. Once you get to that feeling famished point it will be almost impossible to keep yourself from eating too much.
Eat early in the day with a protein based breakfast.
Even if you are in a rush in the morning grab a protein bar or cheese and fruit or a sandwich.
If you can’t stomach the thought of eating that early, maybe try drinking a smoothie or protein shake instead of eating something.
Keep snacks handy during your workday.
Often when we eat breakfast we get hungry mid-morning. That will be more likely to happen if you don’t eat protein with breakfast.
Keep healthy snacks handy such as fruit, nuts, cheese and crackers, or protein bars.
Avoid highly processed or sugary snacks or you will likely crash later, which triggers hunger and overeating.
Have a lunch plan of smart options.
If you skip lunch because you aren’t hungry you are setting yourself up for disaster at dinner. You can eat a light lunch but the most important thing is to eat something.
If you often go out for lunch, plan ahead and learn what options would be healthier to choose from.
No time for lunch? Have 2 snacks during your afternoon to keep your energy up and control your hunger.
If you do eat lunch, afternoon snacks are only needed if you have a long afternoon and later evening meal. Planning ahead and having fruit for your commute home can be a great way to get in your fruit and prevent overeating once you get meal time.
Keep bedtime snacks light.
There’s no rule that says you can’t have a snack in the evening but for many it will interfere with sleep or cause heartburn and reflux.
You also won’t be as hungry for breakfast if you eat a lot before bed.
Small portions are key in the evening. If you are counting carbs, limit to 30 grams carb or less and again, if your snack has some protein, even better!
Calorie King is a handy source for looking up how much carbohydrate in foods.
Drink enough water during the day.
Sometimes our hunger feelings can be partly thirst that we don’t recognize. By the time we realize we are thirsty we are usually somewhat dehydrated already.
I have always struggled with this so I will often keep a water bottle beside me or make sure I drink a full glass of water before each meal. You could also use one of the apps that help you track water intake and have reminders to keep you on track.
Practice portion management at your evening meal.
Eat lighter foods such as veggies, salad or soup first to help get the feel full quicker effect.
Use smaller plates and bowls to control portions.
Keep serving bowls out of reach to make it more work to take that second helping.
Don’t forget to portion control alcohol drinks. Alcohol is high in calories and we tend to eat more when drinking alcohol.
Practice the 20 minute rule. Before you eat any second helpings, wait 20 minutes and see if you’re still hungry. By that time you might feel full enough that you no longer want the second helping.
Stop eating when you are just starting to feel comfortably satisfied, not FULL. Over time the stomach shrinks and you feel full quicker.
Save dessert for a few hours later and keep it light, especially if right before bed.
♦♦♦ So there are several strategies for you to try. Now it’s your turn! Start by choosing 1 or 2 that you feel will be the easiest changes to make.
Over time, practicing these small habits in your daily routine can add up to big rewards when it comes to preventing weight gain and diabetes!
For more tips on hunger and cravings be sure to sign up (in the side bar or bottom of page) to get my free guide 5 Strategies to Manage Diabetes Carb Cravings!