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We all have moments when we find ourselves going for second servings or extra snacks. Hunger is a complex phenomenon that doesn’t always respond to a physiological need.

Indeed, sometimes, you are hungry even though your body has already received all the necessary nutrients. Why do we overeat when we don’t need extra food? How can we combat food binging?

couple on the sofa at home eating popcorn as a low syn snack

Who has food-binging issues?

Everyone has food-binge triggers, which are the underlying reason behind the sensation of hunger. The triggers, however, are not linked to a physical stimulus.

You feel hungry because your mind thinks you should eat, not because your body is running low on energy. More often than not, you simply carry on eating even though you are already full because the mind doesn’t register the sensation of satiety.

The best way to take back control of our eating habits is to get to know our triggers, and spot when really a nice drink would help instead there are so many good teas to add a zing to your day and find ways to avoid comfort eating.

Tiredness gives you a sweet tooth

Sleep deprivation increases unhealthy cravings. When you’re tired, you tend to prefer junk food and sugary treats. The decision makes sense, as the body lacks energy. This is why you fancy a chocolate mug cake in the late evening!

Sugar offers a quick energy fix that instantly replenishes your blood sugar levels. Additionally, lack of sleep also affects crucial appetite-regulating hormones, so it’s hard to know when you’re full.

As a result, poor sleep encourages junk food cravings and high-caloric treats. It’s hard to resist because your willpower and decision-making process is weakened by tiredness. You need to develop a preventive approach to sleep deprivation cravings, such as introducing a bedtime routine and using sleep-supportive apps. Meditative apps, for instance, can work wonders on your sleep patterns! 

Rushed for time

We’ve all got a busy schedule. Understandably, some days, there’s just no time to cook.

You’re too rushed to make it to the kitchen. It’s easier to order a takeaway meal, even though it may need more time to arrive than you would to cook a meal from scratch.

This has to do with the perceived effort. At the end of a long day, you just want to sit with your feet up and relax. But how about you make cooking more manageable throughout the day, such as with a slow cooker?

You could bring a delicious dish onto the table with little efforts, such as the minimal prep time for a white bean kale soup from The Mediterranean Dish. Prep your ingredients in the morning and let your slow cooker do its magic.

man getting takeaway out of a brown paper bag at home

Not the right ingredients

If you only know a handful of classic recipes, you are going to rapidly run out of options for your leftovers or your unused vegetables. I’ve only got courgettes, that’s not enough for a yummy ratatouille.

So you end up giving up on your plan to cook and falling back on the calorie bomb options, such as popcorn or a pack of crisps. But, it can help to take an interest in different cuisines for side dishes.

Oriental mezze, for instance, is a great source of inspiration to turn your leftovers into a variety of exciting dishes. Korean banchan, or side dishes, as seen on My Korean Kitchen, can also give you all the inspiration you need to whisk up healthy sides in no time. Is anyone up for a plate of delicious pan-fried ho bak jeon (courgette)? 

Mindless eating is only encouraged by some of our lifestyle mishaps. Whether we’re too tired to make the right decisions or lack knowledge of simple recipes, there’s so much we can do to tackle those food binge triggers. Are you ready to make mindful eating your new reality?

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