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Having trouble with that late night sweet tooth or carb desire? I feel you.
Now this post took a turn when I started writing it, I originally planned to offer you x amount of recipes for quick and easy ‘guilt-free’ snacks. But when I started to look for said recipes I just felt disappointed. I don’t know about you, but when I’m craving a white chocolate magnum from the servo, I definitely won’t be reaching for a handful of almonds and dark chocolate and feeling satisfied. I. Want. That. Sugar.
Then I started thinking, well what makes a snack ‘guilt-free’? WHY should we feel guilty about eating rubbish while watching a Netflix series at 10pm on a Tuesday night? The answer is you shouldn’t. So I’m switching this blog post up and talking about this mindset and what’s going on behind those carb and sugar cravings.
Why do we crave sugar and carbs?
This can happen for any number of reasons and I’m no medical practitioner so I can’t tell you exactly what’s going on in that body of yours. But here are a few things that may be contributing;
Low mood or low energy
As Mums we’re naturally exhausted, overwhelmed and at times pretty moody. Yes looking after ourselves and eating a wholesome diet whilst getting enough sleep can combat these issues (adopting the kids out may also be an option ;)) but most of the time we’re lucky to be able to pee in peace so that homemade meal takes a seat at the bottom end of our list of priorities. Or maybe you are fueling well, while also burning the candle at both ends leaving yourself feeling fatigued.
When you’re in a slump, feeling tired or a bit flat, we tend to reach for sugary treats or empty carbs because this results in a temporary mood and energy boost. That sugar goes right to the brain.
This one is me all over. Sometimes when we come face to face with an unpleasant emotion we use coping mechanisms such as binge eating starburst lollies, to avoid sitting with that feeling.
Poor dietary habits
If you’re not eating enough protein or giving your body enough nutritious food during the day, you’ll find that your insulin levels can take a bit of a beating through the night and leave you reaching for that snickers bar to bring it back up to an acceptable level.
But it’s not all bad news, here are my top tips for dealing with late night snacking;
Don’t deprive yourself
It’s high time ‘diet culture’ took a big jump out of a 5 story window. Yes, I think it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but trying to achieve this through fad diets is one way to almost guarantee failure. I like the 80/20 rule, I aim to consume wholesome, nutritious food 80% of the time but I know it’s not realistic to aim for constant perfection so if that 20% of the time (let’s be honest, sometimes it’s even 50/50) I treat myself to crappy foods, I just pick myself and move on. If you place too many restrictions on your eating habits you’ll find you crave more and are unable to maintain it.
Eat plenty of protein
If you find meal planning or fueling well through the day to be particularly challenging, throw some eggs on to boil for snacks during the day, keep the cupboard stocked with tins of tuna and find a good, high quality protein powder to give you that boost when you’re low on time and energy. Eating plenty of healthy protein will reduce your appetite and cravings and help to promote healthy energy levels.
Give yourself a break
Girl, if you’re craving a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream, just have it! And don’t beat yourself up about it later on. This doesn’t mean you’ve thrown your healthy eating habits out the window, it just means that you listened to your body, needed a bit of sweetness in your life and had a treat. Get up tomorrow morning, enjoy a nice filling smoothie packed with healthy proteins and fats and get on with your life. You deserve to let loose every now and then.
And that’s about it!
What kind of late night snacker are you?
Lea Sharp is a content creator and hot mess Mum in Brisbane, QLD. As a tired Mum of 3, Lea is a passionate advocate for maternal mental health and helps like-minded Mums make life that little bit easier through The Cold Coffee Tribe, a lifestyle website for everyday Mums.