7 Simple & Useful Ways to Stop Late Night Snacking
You’ve been good all day. Light lunch, no junk food. Your calories in never surpassed your calories out. Then the sun set. A beast appeared and your eating became out of control. You succumb to late night snacking. Sounds familiar?
It’s normal. At night, our self-control wanes. We also are at the mercy of other factors ranging from habit to circadian rhythms. Fortunately, there are ways to stop late night snacking.
Stop Late Night Snacking
Here are some tactics that will help you soothe late-night hunger. Eat breakfast. People who eat late may not eat much in the morning. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you eat a high-protein breakfast you eat less the entire day and curb cravings at night.
1 – Eat breakfast.
People who eat late may not eat much in the morning. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you eat a high-protein breakfast you eat less the entire day and curb cravings at night.
Don’t enjoy eating in the morning? Try it for a few days. It becomes easier.
Needs some ideas? Here are some protein-packed breakfasts.
2 – Cravings fade.
So, delay snacking by one hour. I know, it’s hard to ignore cravings. The trick is to distract yourself instead of ignoring your cravings.
Walk for ten minutes. Meditate for five minutes. Reach out to a supportive friend or online support group. Read a book, preferably not a recipe book. Drink one glass of water.
Make junk food harder to get. You’re less likely to crave something if it’s not handy.
Looking for other ways to stop food craving at night?
3 – Become Aware of Eating Patterns.
If you’re unaware of eating patterns. Keep a food diary for a week. Write down when you ate, where you ate and how you felt.
- Where do you usually snack? Associate another activity with your go-to snacking spot.
- What do you typically eat at night? Find a low-calorie or calorie-free substitute.
- When do you eat at night? Do you eat around midnight? Or after the kids go to sleep? What else can you do at this time?
4 – Make an if-then statement.
If-then statements help you overcome eating obstacles. With these statements, if possible, include when and where these actions will occur.
- If I crave a snack after 9 p.m., I will wait one hour before grabbing a 100-calorie snack from the refrigerator.
- If I wake up in the middle of the night, I will stay in bed and not grab a midnight snack.
- If I become hungry after dinner, I will sit down in a chair and ask myself, H.A.L.T. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?
5 – Be aware of why we eat late at night.
At night, the brain becomes less satisfied with our food. So, we eat more to satisfy cravings or hunger.
If you’re hungry, try something light like low-calorie fruits or vegetables. Prepare snacks ahead of time to avoid overeating. Check out these suggestions on what to eat late at night from the Cleveland Clinic. Got Midnight Munchies? Try These 4 Substitute Snacks.
6 – Be honest with yourself.
If you can’t handle late night eating, cut out snacking or meals after 8 p.m. (Or whatever times work best for you). This will break the nighttime eating habit. The body will adjust and stop expecting a late-night snack.
7 – Go to sleep earlier.
You’ll avoid late night cravings. If you’re asleep, you’re less likely to munch. Another bonus: One study suggests that the more sleep a person gets, the fewer cravings she has, especially for junk foods.
De-stress before bedtime. Turn off the nighttime news. Read a relaxing book. Turn off electronics. Drink herbal and caffeine-free tea. Keep the bedroom cool yet comfortable.
If you do get up in the middle of the night, avoid the kitchen. Keep in mind that eating at night can interfere with you going back to sleep.
So what. Forgive yourself. No one is perfect. Take what you learned and apply it the next time the craving for a late night snack hits.