Okay. Time to be real here. I love eating at night. Like night, night. As in the time everyone says not to eat after, so like 9pm and later night. It’s a semi-serious problem that Val helps keep in check except not really because she is in bed by 9 and I’m left to fend for myself against the demons that are the ice cream, crackers, bars, and tofu that are haunting me from the kitchen. Yes, you read that right. I’ll even eat tofu (with ketchup, of course) as a late night snack. And I don’t mean some delectable tofu scramble. I strictly mean a sliced block of tofu.
Not this This (minus veggies)
Long gone are the days when I could get away with eating a bowl (okay, two) of cereal while in bed watching a movie at 11 at night, only to fall asleep 15 minutes later. There was rarely a night when I wouldn’t grab a nighttime snack. Crackers, cereal (my top choice), eggs (before I nixed animal products), pretzels. You name the snack, and it probably went down the hatch at some point in my high school years. My mom used to call me her little mouse in the kitchen, because my parents would hear me going through bags and cabinets while they were in the other room watching TV. I wasn’t mindful then; I was just ravenous and able to eat basically whatever I wanted. Practicing soccer (on two teams for many years) or running track nearly every day really helped keep me in shape and I didn’t have to worry too much about what I was eating. But then…college.
I still ran. I worked out. But it didn’t matter. I couldn’t eat the way I used to and get away without seeing the gain. After Val and I got more comfortable with each other, the eating became more comfortable as well. Wait..10pm isn’t a great time to make brownies? Well, we knew that too but we just didn’t care. And to show just how much we didn’t care, we threw a packet of jello chocolate pudding mix in there because chocolate brownies with chocolate chips is obviously not enough chocolate.
When watching movies late at night, Val and I would snack on bags of fruit snacks and vienna fingers (at least two each) without a care in the world. Now, though, I get scolded when I’m caught with some sliced apple or a carrot stick! She’s right because even these healthier snacks don’t negate the late hour at which they’re eaten. Except that eating before bed, when you’re actually hungry, can sometimes help you sleep better and not toss and turn as much. So, if you’re going to snack at night, be smart or mindful about it. Potato chips or sugary sweets? Not smart. Veggie/fruit slices (Heck! Tofu, even.) Smart.
A great choice to satisfy those late night hunger (or boredom) pangs is to snack on some kale chips. Pacific Superfood Snacks makes the best kale chips Val and I have ever had, and we have had many, many kale chips. These kale chips are locally made, organic (huge plus), and low-calorie. Also, PSS has so many flavors to choose from, all of which will make your mouth water. Kale is a super great source of Vitamins C, A, and K and what’s great is that they still keep these and many other nutrients even when they are dehydrated and made into kale chips. I’ll admit they’re not low in sodium, but you shouldn’t be eating an entire container anyway. Save some for the next night. You won’t regret it.
This picture was taken after a run, and while I could eat all of them in a fit of postrun hunger craze, I had to save some for nighttime!
Here’s a confession: since Val has been in Germany visiting her best friend, I have probably snacked at least every night! It’s not even like I do it consciously or in spite of her not being her to make better choices. I just resort to the habit I’ve always had. That, and I’m just going to bed way later than usual and, let’s face it, everything in the pantry and fridge looks good at 11 at night. Throw a stalk of celery on my plate and you would think I haven’t eaten in days. That’s actually been my one of my snacks the past few nights. And kale chips.
Other snacks have included half of a Bobo’s Oat Bar, a few carrot sticks, a GoMacro mini bar, tofu with ketchup and mustard, and some sprouted watermelon seeds. I think that about covers it.
Nighttime snackin’ is one of those things where it’s so darn good that it can actually be bad. But don’t get stressed out IF you have a difficult time breaking the habit. Instead, be smart and choosy about what you are taking out of the fridge or pantry. Let go of the Frosted Flakes…and the Lays. Good. Grab something else. When you pause and become mindful about it, you will typically have an easier time choosing what is healthier or perhaps even turning off the kitchen light and not looking back. What could help is keeping a whiteboard on your fridge or some large post-its on your cabinet doors with helpful messages such as “Be Mindful” or “Make good choices.”
Oh metabolism…why do you age so quickly? Why can’t you just stay young forever so we can have one less thing on our proverbial plate and put one more thing on our actual plate? But alas…metabolisms just don’t work like that. So it’s up to us to be smarter as our metabolisms get older.
Be mindful. Eat (snack) healthy.