Healthy snacking in the evening: 5 useful tips

Healthy snacking evening

Healthy snacking in the evening: 5 useful tips

Your evening can start! Dinner is finished, the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher and the kids are in bed. Finally some time for yourself to relax. And what is a better fit than your favourite series with some treats on the sofa? But here you are, looking for some healthy snacks to eat in the evening. And I can imagine it’s because you want to ‘be careful of what you eat’ again. Just because you want to eat a bit healthier or maybe even to lose a few kilos. But did you know that a healthy snack in the evening does not depend on whether you eat fruit, nuts or a bag of crisps? I give you 5 tips that will help you snack guilt-free, no matter what you choose.

1. Why do you wan’t to eat?

Emotional snacking

Food has an awful lot of functions. It not only provides our bodies with energy and nutrients but is also a big part of our social life and mental well-being. You may therefore feel like snacking in the evening, not because you are hungry, but because it is sociable or because it gives you comfort.

By thinking over on why you want to eat, you can determine whether food is really what you need at that moment or whether something else can help you (better). Having determined that food really is the solution, check in with yourself what you really feel like eating right now.

2. What do you want to eat?

Popcorn evening snack

If you crave something sweet and creamy but opt for a piece of fruit or candy bar -because it’s healthy- there’s a good chance you won’t experience true satisfaction. This can leave you craving for more, with the result that you end up craving that bar of chocolate, which is exactly what you wanted to avoid.

So ask yourself what you are craving and what taste, smell and texture this product has. Is it something sweet or salty, something hard or soft and something light or filling and make your choice. In doing so, make sure you get to choose any product that comes to mind and keep in mind that no product is healthy or unhealthy on its own.

3. Unconditional permission to eat

Healthy evening snacks

Although the internet often tells you otherwise, a product cannot be labelled as inherently healthy or unhealthy. This is because the impact of products on our health depends way more factors, such as quantity, your overall diet and your overall lifestyle. For instance, fruits and vegetables are seen as healthy, but if you eat very large quantities of them or it is the only thing you eat, it can have negative effects on your health. Similarly, processed food or anything containing sugar is not necessarily unhealthy.

This categorising of products into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ can actually cause us to become obsessed with certain products, which in turn can lead to binge or emotional eating. Allowing yourself to enjoy all foods can reduce your cravings, increase satisfaction afterwards, prevent overeating and actually contribute to a healthy eating pattern. So the product does not determine whether something is a healthy evening snack. In addition, it is important to eat on time and sufficiently so that you can make conscious choices.

Do you have rules that tell you what, when and how much you should eat?

restrictive foodrules

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4. Eat on time

Snack time

Hunger is a signal that your body sends to indicate that energy from food is needed. Ignoring your hunger can make you tired and cranky. Waiting too long to eat can also cause you to actually overcompensate at a later time and eat more than you actually need. Like that snacking in the evening where you uncontrollably wolf down a bag of chips and can’t stop ;). Listening to your hunger signals during the day and eating on time helps you make rational food choices and stop eating when you feel satisfied. It also makes you more aware of the taste and you’ll experience a greater sense of satisfaction after eating.

5. Enjoy your food

Enjoy your evening snack

If somewhere in the back of your mind you have this idea that you shouldn’t actually eat something, you may be tempted to engage in sneaky behaviour, even for yourself! Eating extra fast, for example. As a result, you are no longer aware of what you are eating, how it tastes, whether you like it and when you have had enough. Which in turn causes you to eat more than you needed. So make eating and snacking in the evening a party!

For instance, put a neat tablecloth on the table and serve the food on nice plates or put the snacks in fine dishes and serve them on a nice tray. Then take a good look at your food – how does it look? What colour and texture it has and how it smells. How the food feels in your mouth, is it hard, soft or runny? What flavour it has? Is it sweet or salty, or maybe bitter or sour. And what taste is left after you swallow it? Do thoughts pop up telling you that what you are eating is actually ‘not that healthy’ after all, no problem, this is normal. Notice them and, despite the thoughts, try to check back in with the smell, taste and mouthfeel.

Have you ever wondered how Intuitive Eating can help build you a positive relationship with food? Schedule a free discovery call with me!