culina health founders

Meet Vanessa Rissetto (MS, RD) and Tamar Samuels (MS, RDN, NBC-HWC), the Registered Dieticians behind Culina Health. Culina is a personalized nutrition coaching service that wants to help you cut through the noise and fads with science-driven education that will help you build lasting change. 

These days, we’re finding a split response from our readers: some are more serious about their health than ever before, while others are falling into emotional eating patterns based on the stress of the times. That said, we asked the women of Culna to address these three real life nutrition questions — and they delivered with the kind of balanced responses we’ve come to expect from the ladies… 

We’re craving a late night snack, but what’s the right choice?

Late night snacking is a challenge for so many of us. We’re up late watching our favorite show and suddenly it’s 2AM and you’re hungry — or maybe you’re just bored. Either way, late night snacking is not so great for balancing digestion, managing a healthy weight, or sleeping well. Here are our top tips for kicking your late night snacking habit:

One | Limit distractions while eating. If you tend to overeat while snacking at night, I recommend taking a break from tech while you snack so you can eat more mindfully, be more in tune with your hunger and satiety, and actually enjoy the food you’re eating. Research shows that the type of technology we consume while eating doesn’t really matter, whether it’s checking emails on your phone, watching TV, playing video games or listening to the radio — all screens seem to detract from mindful eating.

Two | Make sure you’re eating enough during the day. Time and time again, my clients come to me struggling to kick their late night snacking habit, and the number one biggest trigger I find is that they are not eating enough during the day.

Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar to drop dramatically, which triggers the release of several stress-related hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol causes your blood sugar to rise rapidly and stimulates a cascade of hormones that promote insulin resistance, fat storage, increased hunger, and decreased fat metabolism. Often people say they’re not hungry in the morning, but I encourage them to eat breakfast within an hour of rising, regardless of hunger, so you can reset your appetite and have most of your calories during the day instead of at night.

Three | Make healthy swaps with protein. Adding protein to your snacks (and meals) helps to minimize overeating by stabilizing appetite. Protein helps keep us full, giving us increased satisfaction between meals. Most people have protein with their meals, but forget to add it to their snacks.

Trying adding protein to your late night snack and you’re more likely to eat less of it. My favorite high protein snack options are nuts and nut butter (hello peanut butter and apples), energy balls, cheese and fruit, dark chocolate covered almonds, and Greek yogurt with fruit.

We’d like to enjoy an end of work glass of wine. should we have something to eat for blood sugar balance?

I definitely recommend having alcohol with food to prevent getting tipsy, which often leads to overeating — or one too many drinks. Protein and fat take longer to digest and are great for stabilizing blood sugar and slowing the absorption of alcohol when consumed together.

Want a glass of wine after work? Drink it with a well-balanced dinner that includes healthy protein sources like fish, poultry, grass fed beef, and legumes. Add a healthy fat like olive oil and avocado to help stabilize blood sugar even more.

once in a blue moon, we give in and order pizza. what’s the best way to balance our meal?

Our number one rule for balancing out a more indulgent meal is adding produce! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber and have a high water content which helps you feel full with very little calories. So, if you have a piece of pizza and eat a big side salad, bonus points for throwing veggies on your pizza — you’re more likely to stick with one slice instead of half the pie. By adding veggies or a side salad, you enjoy your pizza without overdoing it.

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