Nightsnacking: A Defence

Night[snacking]… deserves a quiet night…

Like most people, I recognise that the notion of eating only three times a day is a total myth, and that anyone who says they do so is lying through their damn teeth. I am as prone to the snack attack as the next person, and am unashamed to admit it. After all, snacking is the student's bread and butter (don't @ me), a biologically necessary refuelling exercise that we have no choice but to engage in, in order to continue on our merry way through the trials and tribulations of academia.

The thing about snacking is that it's a real game of hit-or-miss. Get the snack food, portion, and timing right, and you could hit that peckish spot right in the bulls-eye. However, pick the wrong snack, eat too much/too little, or eat too quickly/slowly, and you could end up either only meekly scratching the surface of your hunger pang, or sending yourself into an overstuffed food coma. In high school, snacking was my favourite pastime and primary hobby, and my snacks of choice were plucked straight from the junk food region of my local supermarket. A fan of the late night snacking genre in particular, I gorged myself on crisps and cookies long into the wee hours, and would wake up every morning with a thick sodium or sugar-tainted cloud hanging over my head.

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A real junk food smorgasbord.

I was resolved that this would all change when I got to university. Now that I was responsible for my own shopping, I could exercise strict border control regarding the food I allowed into my snacking perimeter. I developed an ingenious policy of deprivation – I would simply arrest myself from purchasing any of the midnight-chocolate and Cheetos I was so used to reaching for. If there weren't any in my room, then I wouldn't be able to eat any. Simple.

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A promising start – 5am avocado toast. Health abounds!

This plan worked exceedingly well at first. Whenever it got to 11pm and I could feel the familiar tendrils of hunger scratching at my stomach, I had nothing to give, and thus gave them nothing. However, a few weeks of deprivation weren't enough to scare my appetite into remission, and from my starvation tactic emerged an even more formidable enemy. A new snacking monster now rears its ugly head. To my horror, these days, when it gets to that time of night and I start itching for a quick bite, my body leaps over the snack hurdle entirely and goes straight for the jugular…

Yes, I have started to CRAVE WHOLE MEALS!!

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Salmon rice bowl at three in the morning, anyone?

Without Oreos, Doritos and Chocolate Digestives in familiar bite-sized portions, the only available options for me have become full-sized meals. These days I find myself sleepily whipping up noodle stir-fries, salmon rice, and pesto pastas in the single digits of the morning, when in the past I would have stuck my hand in a Pringles cylinder or tossed back a few Maltesers. In my mission to ditch the junk food snacking I have now turned to full-blown midnight feasting. I mean, admittedly, I end up with less Cheeto dust on my fingers and chocolate stains around my mouth; but is it really worth ditching the junk food for carby feasts at 3am? Sometimes I wonder.

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Girl's gotta eat.

I can tell what you're thinking. Cordelia, maybe consider not insisting on snacking at night when you know digestive functions are reduced later in the day and the human body doesn't process food as well? Or, if you are adamant about stuffing yourself, at least try to do it with something healthy, like fruit? To that I say: how dare you. Nightsnacking is a sacrosanct tradition, something borne of shame, a basal animalistic hunger, and an inherent human tendency to be disgusting and self-destructive. I'm a nightsnacking purist; no matter if this involves eating junk food, or scarfing down an entire fry-up in a dark corner of my bedroom, I'm going to do it right.

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Just a light snack to nip those peckish feelings in the bud!