Are you one of those people that “eat well all day” and then crave snacks after dinner and wind up snacking on whatever you want? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Believe it or not, many people who are trying to diet or eat healthier fall into this routine.
The question is whether this habit is a result of something physiological or psychological? Unless your blood sugar is low, the odds are it is psychological and has become a habit.
The habit of eating at night can be detrimental to blood sugar control and can even stand in the way of weight loss. Studies have shown that eating a majority of your calories late at night can prevent you from losing weight.
Avoid Mindless Late Night Eating with These Tips-
Eat Regular Meals
- One of the best ways to prevent late night eating is to avoid skipping meals. Meal skipping can put you at risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as well as increase the urge to overeat later on.
- Aim to eat three balanced meals and an afternoon snack daily. Add snacks in between meals if needed. This will help you to feel less hungry at night. Once you are eating less at night, you likely will feel more hungry throughout the day.
Remove Your Trigger Foods
- Out of sight, out of mind, right? If there are certain foods you gravitate toward in the evening, don’t buy them. Try to limit your intake of what you already have in the house and then once you’ve finished it be sure to avoid purchasing again.
- If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. Restock your kitchen with healthy foods. If you need to have a small snack, you want have nutritious and satisfying options to choose from.
Create New Habits
- A great way to prevent late night eating is to do some light exercise after dinner—go for a walk or a bike ride while listening to music. You may also want to try some relaxing techniques—take a bath or do some yoga.
- Trying new activities, such as reading a magazine, journaling or calling a friend may help to reduce cravings.
If you need (or want) to eat something right before bed, you can reduce the impact on your weight and wellbeing by choosing a healthy snack and limiting portion sizes.
Make Your Snack Count
- Perhaps you’ve tried all these things and you still want a snack or dessert. Make dessert worth your while and consider it to be a treat.
- Make an event of it—go out for a small ice cream once per week. If you find that you’d rather have a small treat before bed, aim to keep it to about 150 calories.
- 1 container of low-fat Greek Yogurt with under 5 grams of sugar (you can freeze it so it’s ice cream consistency)
- 1 low-fat pudding cup
- 1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (frozen fruit takes a long time to eat and is refreshing)
- 3 cups air popped popcorn
- 1/2 cup of ice-cream
- 1 slice of whole-grain bread with a teaspoon of nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew)
- 1 piece of fresh fruit (size of tennis ball), 1 cup of berries, or 1 cup melon
If you’ve struggled with weight your whole life and have trouble sticking to a plan because of emotional reasons or stress eating, you may benefit from consulting a specialist in behavior modification. A therapist can help to provide you with the support, encouragement, and education you need to make life-lasting changes.