Top 3 Evening Snacking Mistakes Print

 

Global CalgaryRegardless if you are watching the playoffs, student studying for exams or coming home stressed out after a long workday, snacking in the evening is part of life.

Watch Calgary Dietitian Andrea Holwegner on Global TV

Since we eat for many reasons including physical hunger, celebration, social connection and family tradition.  We also eat in response to habit and emotional triggers such as stress, sadness and boredom.   The good news is that you don’t need to eliminate enjoyable foods and avoid snacking in the evening; it is about finding a balance between health and enjoyment.

Top 3 Evening Snacking Mistakes

Here are the top 3 snacking mistakes to consider that could help you manage your health but still save room for fun and enjoyment:

1.  Starve now and binge later mindset

Intentionally under-eating during the day to save up for a fun evening later just further provides you with permission to over-do-it both physically and emotionally.  Often if you are struggling with overeating in the evening you may be trying to rely on willpower to change this habit.  The first thing to consider is what you are eating for breakfast as well as your intake throughout the day.  Everything is connected.  Eating 3 balanced meals and potentially some snacks so that you are fueled with something every 3-5 hours is a good rule of thumb.  Coming home underfed after a long workday or stressful study schedule makes it very difficult to manage evening snacking since your body is attempting to make up for the food it didn’t get.  Toss in emotional triggers such as stress, fatigue and boredom and you may be eating far more than you intend.

2.  Failing to manage the environment

Food psychology research has found that the more we have the more we eat.  If you stock your pantry with a large variety of junk food you can bet you will eat lots of this.  If you stock your pantry and fridge with a tremendous variety of attractive healthy foods you will eat more of this.  The key is managing our environment such as our home, car, desk at work and more to make sure we have the right type of fuel available when you are hungry.

We eat packages not portions.  Be sure to place hard to manage junk foods in small portions and buy small units rather than shopping in bulk.  The trick is not to eliminate them but have an awareness of how you work best.  As the chocoholic nutritionist stashing a large selection of chocolate bars in my pantry would not be a good idea since I would eat it far more often and in a larger amount than truly needed.  Instead if I truly want chocolate I go out and buy a chocolate bar.  This has eliminated the “nice to have” cravings and allowed the “need to have” cravings to be met.

3.  Using food to stuff and starve uncomfortable emotion

Food can be used to numb and stuff down uncomfortable emotions.   The evenings can be especially challenging when trying to manage emotional eating since it is a time you may be unwinding, tired and thinking about the challenges of the day. Emotional eating experts and creators of Craving Change TM, Dr. Colleen Cannon (clinical psychologist) and Wendy Shah (registered dietitian) have built an entire business solely focused on why we eat the way we do and what to do about it if we are eating in a way that is uncomfortable.

Everyone eats for emotional reasons sometimes. It is perfectly normal to eat when you are sad, mad, happy or stressed. However, if your eating is bringing you down and making you feel uncomfortable regularly, there is hope if you are willing to ask yourself some tough questions.

Here are the three most important questions you need to contemplate:

1.  What is eating me? What am I “stuffing”?  If I am eating when I am not truly hungry, is it because I am stressed, sad, bored, angry, worried, etc.?

2.  What am I hungry for? What am I looking for in my life that has not come my way yet? What fulfills me and brings me joy?

3.  How can I comfort myself without food? How else can I soothe or nurture myself? Is there an enjoyable hobby, task or activity that I could do instead of turning to food?

If you are brave enough to really explore these questions and do the work to solve them, I guarantee your relationship with your body and weight will improve.

Top Snack Attacks

Here is a list of ideas that are popular with both kids and adults:

  1. Whole-wheat pita bread and hummus with celery sticks.Pretzels
  2. Multigrain crackers with cream cheese topped with cucumbers or red peppers.
  3. Smoothie made with yogurt, frozen berries, banana and unsweetened juice or milk.
  4. Dry ready-to-eat breakfast cereal mixed with dried fruit (such as raisins, dried cranberries, dates, figs, prunes and dried apricots) as well as mixed shelled nuts or seeds (such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds). Other popular additions include pretzels, popcorn, crackers and chocolate chips.
  5. Chocolate milk and a banana (or toss these in the blender with ice for a smoothie).
  6. Taco chips with bean dip (layer canned refried beans, avocado, salsa and top with grated cheddar cheese
  7. Oatmeal date squares and a glass of milk.
  8. Raw veggies such as grape/cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, snow/snap peas with creamy dip.
  9. Mug of hot chocolate made with milk and oatmeal cookies.
  10. Apple or rhubarb crisp with frozen yogurt.
  11. Rice Krispie squares made with part bran cereal and raisins.
  12. Bran muffin and cheddar cheese with grapes.
  13. Greek salad.
  14. Yogurt parfait with yogurt, berries (or alternatively try fresh or canned unsweetened pineapple or peaches) and granola.
  15. Whole wheat crackers with cheddar or other cheese.
  16. Mini bocconcini (fresh mozzarella cheese) and grape/cherry tomatoes on toothpicks.
  17. Taco chips with salsa
  18. Spread peanut butter or other nut butter on a banana and roll in crushed breakfast cereal.
  19. Fresh fruit kabob with yogurt dip.
  20. Oatmeal or ready-to-eat breakfast cereal and milk.
  21. Grated carrots and raisins with sweet vinaigrette.
  22. Homemade chips (cut up whole wheat pita or tortillas into triangles with scissors, spay or brush with oil and top with a sprinkle of salt and bake until crispy).
  23. Unsweetened applesauce cup and whole wheat crackers with tzatziki dip.
  24. Frozen grapes and cubes of cheese.
  25. Cold leftover pancakes or French toast with jam.
  26. Cottage cheese with sliced apples or pears with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  27. Hard boiled egg and whole wheat crackers.
  28. Freeze leftover smoothies into popsicle cups for healthy homemade frozen popsicles.
  29. Yogurt tubes frozen and frozen grapes.
  30. Dessert flavored tofu with sliced strawberries or other berries.
  31. Warm vanilla milk (mug of milk with vanilla and a pinch of brown sugar) and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
  32. Banana bread, banana muffins or carrot muffins served with yogurt.
  33. Mini pizzas made with mini whole wheat bagels or pita bread and tomato sauce, meat, veggies and cheese.
  34. Homemade air-popped popcorn with butter or non-hydrogenated margarine.
  35. Mix almond butter or peanut butter with water to make a runny dip for pretzels, celery sticks, banana, or apple slices.

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About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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