If you’re the type of person who simply can’t go to bed hungry – or without that late-night bite of popcorn, pizza, ice cream, or snacks, then you may take some comfort in knowing you are not alone.
A recent survey conducted by Massive Health tracked the daily eating habits of thousands of people over a five-month period. What they found was that most people start the day with good intentions, but every hour that passed corresponded with a 1.7 percent drop in healthfulness, on average. So that means dinner tends to be 16 percent less healthy than breakfast – that is, for people who eat breakfast.
Researchers said people who skip breakfast or other meals fared worst of all. The production of hunger hormone ghrelin goes into overdrive when people do not get enough food, which leads to wild cravings and poor decision-making later on. Even though many have tried and failed, there are three helpful strategies that can get dieters out of this late-night binging bind.
Strategy #1: Eat Breakfast Every Day, Without Exception!
The Massive Health survey confirmed that people who skipped breakfast ate significantly more food throughout the day. Yet, that doesn’t mean breakfast should be a free-for-all smorgasbord either. “The message should be that you want a ‘good’ breakfast, rather than a ‘big’ breakfast,” clarifies Dr. David Heber of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Some people chow down on fatty, sugary options like sausages, butter, and marmalade-smothered pancakes that offer little nutritional value. Instead, opt for a combination of protein and fiber – like an egg-white omelet stuffed with steamed vegetables. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and skim milk are other great sources of breakfast protein.
Strategy #2: Eat Vegetables With Your Lunch To Fill Up Your Tank!
Vegetables are healthy, filling, and low in calories – which will help you feeling satisfied until dinner. Try a tofu stir-fry, a salad topped with grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs, or a sweet potato topped with black beans / salsa / light sour cream. Cornell University researchers found that people who ate portion-controlled lunches like Chef Boyardee Pasta or Campbell’s Soup consumed 250 fewer calories per day and lost 1.1 pounds over the course of two weeks – which can accumulate to at least 25 pounds in a year. So the message is: keep your lunches light.
Strategy #3: Fill The Gaps With Healthy, Thoughtful Snacks!
Sometimes the stretch between lunch and dinner can feel like forever. While research shows that people can easily add an extra 500 calories snacking just for the sake of snacking, it is a good idea to have thoughtful options in the house if your stomach begins to grumble. Have a protein shake, apple slices with peanut butter, a handful of nuts, or a bowl of lentil soup on hand to combat any pre-dinner or post-dinner cravings that may arise.