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by Chanelle Retief (Registered Dietician)
29 August 2018

We all know the feeling; you’ve been eating so healthy all day and sipping on your eight glasses of water…then the clock strikes 9pm, and suddenly it feels as if you have to eat something, right now. Unfortunately that something is usually half the slab of chocolate in the cupboard or five or your favourite cookies. Late night snacking is not something new and it is not something uncommon. It is not as bad as most people think, but it can keep you from your goal weight. Chanelle Retief, dietician, explains. 

Late night eating doesn’t have to be a bad thing and you most certainly don’t have to follow the rule that says you should not eat after 8pm at night. As a dietician, I regularly advise my patients to have an extra snack after dinner, but the trick is to plan for it, and to stick to healthy options. It is also very important to eat mindful, that means to use all your senses while eating and not only to eat because you are bored. Smell the food, look at the food, touch the food and really taste the food while eating it – don’t just stare at the TV screen while putting food into your mouth.

What can you do to prevent eating the wrong snacks after dinner?
1.   Eat a dinner that is high in fibre and protein
2.   Control your environment – make sure there isn’t a bowl of chocolates on the table right next to the TV.
3.   Make sure that you aren’t just eating out of habit
4.   Have a ‘meal-ender’, this could be a mint or a cup of flavoured herbal tea
5.   If you know that you are prone to eating unhealthy foods while watching TV – get something to keep your hands busy
6.   Make sure you stay hydrated – rather drink a cup of herbal tea than having a cookie
7.   Plan your snacks for after dinner – make sure that it is low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Good ideas are fat free yoghurt, fruits, veggies, air popped Popcorn and teas.
Also, ask yourself the following two questions:
1.   Is eating right now really going to help me?
2.   Is there something else I could do that would give me as much pleasure and not interfere with my desire to keep my weight down?

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