Last night I ate…
a jar of asparagus, a package of seaweed, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a bag of popcorn.
I felt like the very hungry caterpillar.
Oh yeah… and a cup of Swiss Miss Light Hot Cocoa (but that doesn’t count, right?)
But… it could’ve been worse (remember, it can ALWAYS be worse!)
But seriously, you know those nights when all you want to do is EAT? And when you’re trying to make good choices, gosh-darn you better have something more exciting in the house than carrot sticks.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t eat nighttime snacks out of hunger—it’s more out of habit or to feed some kind of emotional need. (BTW, emotional doesn’t mean that your boyfriend broke up with you and you feel sad or depressed or lonely. Emotional eating simply means that you are eating for reasons other than being physically hungry. You could be exhausted, anxious, bored, or simply happy and relieved that the kids are in bed and you now have some “me” time!)
I’m not one who believes that you should eat dinner at 6 and not eat anything again until bedtime (though there are some).
- Does that bring you joy?
- Do you think you could sustain that forever?
- Or does it feel like you’re miserable and hungry and on a diet (If you feel that way you will NEVER be able to do this FOREVER)
I think a better way to approach it is to find snacks that satisfy you and don’t trigger the eater in you. So if you find yourself going back for spoon-after-spoon of peanut butter or cup-after-cup of cereal or “just-one-more” mini ice-cream bar, those are not safe snacks for you (at this time).
And I’d love to hear from you! Are evenings difficult for you? What are y’all snacking on after dinner? Please add your comments below.
Sip on tea
It’s incredibly soothing and gives your hands—and lips—something to do!
Rooibos (“Red Bush”) Tea—comes from South Africa (where I’m from—but you already knew that, right?) and you can now find it all over the US.
It has all the good properties of green tea but without caffeine. And the best part is it counts toward your water intake.
My faves are Trader Joe’s Rooibos & Honeybush tea and Republic of Tea Vanilla Rooibos >>
Read the amazing health benefits here >>
Did you know…
You don’t have to force yourself to drink plain old water all day long? Caffeine free tea counts toward your water intake, so sip away.
94% Fat Free Kettle Corn—my go-to sweet-and-salty night time snack. Make sure to get the 100 calorie packs. (All 94% Fat Free popcorn—butter or kettle corn are Weight Watchers Simply Filling foods)
I like Jolly Time Healthy Pop >>
Or even better, make your own fresh popcorn and spray with TJ’s Coconut Oil Spray and a sprinkle of salt. Portion it out in bags so you’re not tempted to overeat. (Too much of a good thing, ya know!)
Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed—2 WW SmartPoints for the whole package.
When my girlfriend told me that it makes a good nighttime snack I thought she was a little nuts! But it’s a little salty, chewy, and crunchy, and it surprisingly it hits the spot. (Thanks Nicole!)
I also found 10-calorie bags of seaweed at Cost Plus World Market, or there are lots of different brands on Amazon >>
Trader Joes Organic High Fiber O’s—5 Weight Watchers SmartPoints for one cup. When I start daydreaming about cookies I go for a Dixie Cup (great tool) or two of these. To me they’re closer to having a cup of cookies—without the damage. Because once I start with something like Rocks ‘n Rolls—though they might be “low calorie” and “low fat”—when you go back for more and more they are neither! (So are you laughing out loud at me right now, or thinking it’s a good idea?)
Know your triggers!
I find that dry cereal can be very triggering, so I like realllly high fiber cereals because I know that I simply cannot have more than one serving or my stomach will blow up. (built in portion control)
Dannon Light & Fit Greek Strawberry Cheesecake Yogurt with just a sprinkling of Fiber One Bran Cereal for crunch. Not quite Golden Spoon, but you know, it does the job and it’s all WW Simply Filling. I find myself going for this when I really am physically hungry.
Enlightened Ice cream Bars—Love these!!! 7 grams protein. The Sea Salt Caramel is to die for. And the Chocolate Peanut Butter is pretty amazing too. (Only 3 Weight Watchers SmartPoints each) Be sure to give them a few minutes to thaw so they get nice and creamy. Yum!
Check out their website for the store locator: http://www.eatenlightened.com
I get them at Gelsons Markets in California
Arctic Zero—I tried this stuff before and thought it was AWFUL! But I found chocolate peanut butter flavor at Pavilions and I’m thinking I need to give it a second chance. What do you think? Only 35 calories (1 WW SmartPoint) for 1/2 cup. Crazy! Perhaps the key is to let it sit a little before eating…? Have you tried it? Decent reviews on Amazon >>
Just a little something sweet
Do you crave something sweet after dinner? I do!
- Sugar Free Jello—Make your own with fresh fruit if you feel adventurous or just buy the ready make ones. (I’ll admit, I do usually eat two of them)
- Unsweetened applesauce—good choice and Weight Watchers Simply Filling food. (zero points)
- Make a baked apple for a healthy sweet treat
- Goji Berries—sound a little weird? Well… maybe. But somehow just a handful of these satisfies my sweet craving. And especially since they’re like $10/ pound at Whole Foods, anything more than a handful would be silly! They’re also popping up all over the place now.
- I almost put dried figs on the list but I seem to have a little problem with them, so it would be kinda inconsiderate for me to put them on this list, don’t you think? But Trader Joe’s Frozen Figs are great. I LOVE frozen fruit at night. My faves are frozen grapes, blueberries and TJ’s Pineapple Tidbits
Need a chocolate fix?
I love Swiss Miss Light Hot Cocoa—25 calories/1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint. Best price at Target.
Love Grown Foods Chocolate Power O’s—4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints for one cup. Cup of milk on the side and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy!
Vitalicious VitaTops 100 calorie Chocolate Muffin Top—4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. But be careful not to make this a nightly habit. Remember it’s REAL easy to create a new habit, and not so easy to break one. Wherever you can try to go for low sugar, “real” food snacks. But when you’re really craving sweets it’s better to have something a little decadent around than to go crazy and eat baking chocolate (yup, I’ve done that).
Best price at Target (freezer) but you can find them at many grocery stores these days or on Vitalicious.com >>
Dole Dippers Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries—I like that they come in single serving bags (60 calories). 3 WW SmartPoints for 4 pieces
Trader Joe’s Chocolate covered bananas—be careful, they can be very “more-ish”
Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolli-lolli-lolli ….
So yeah, if you’re having one of those nights where you want to eat everything in sight and frozen grapes just aren’t cutting it, you need to do the least damage possible and eat things that give you the most bang for your buck.
A See’s Gourmet “Lollypop” will cost you 4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. One See’s Chocolate (ok, we’ll just go with my fave here—a Marzipan candy) will cost 4 WW SmartPoints.
So, 4 points for ONE chocolate candy—which will definitely lead me to eating another 4 and then possibly another 4—or one x 4. Period.
What do you think is a better choice? (Remember, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day or when we’re on a trip and one or two pieces of chocolate will be a better choice than a giant piece of cake—we’re talking about doing damage control and not letting our eater come out at night!)
Milkita Milkshake Lollipops are even better. They’re rock hard so I can’t crunch them up in seconds (same with See’s) and they’re made with real milk. I found them at Gelsons Markets in California or you can find them on Amazon >>
I also shlepped back bags of Milkit Caramel and Milk flavored lollipops from South Africa. Love.
Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles—The best kept secret of singers. (Insider info: Phil Collins used to keep them on stage)
They were prescribed to me by my fancy Beverly Hills ENT when I quit my day-job to sing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for three months. (fun times!) I like the sugar free, but you can get regular if you prefer. They’re not too sweet and they are very soothing on the throat. Also great for keeping at your desk for when you’re craving candy.
We get them on Amazon >>
Check out the production process in Switzerland—really interesting!
I also like Jols Sugar Free Blackcurrant Pastilles—they’re very tiny so you can have a few without feeling guilty.
TIP: If you find yourself grazing all evening long, make up a rule!
NO snacking from dinner until planned snack at 10pm and then brush teeth and sleepy time
Yes, it might be tough the first few nights. Try to distract yourself by painting your nails or taking a bath or surfing the internet for healthy recipes (like on OrnaBakes.com wink wink), and in no time at all it will become your new habit.
You’ll find more tips like this in my book “The Yummier You: 7 Secrets to a Happy, Healthy, & Yummy Life” – now available for FREE download >>
Check out my Healthy Snack Ideas (Weight Watchers Friendly) >>