If you’re in the habit of snacking after dinner and before you go to bed, you’re probably taking in unnecessary calories. There are several reasons why people may start eating late at night. Boredom and fatigue are common culprits. There’s also research that shows us that your body’s internal clock, the circadian rhythm, makes you crave salty, sweet, and starchy foods in the evening.
That might have been helpful when our ancestors needed to store energy to survive in times of scarcity, but now this tendency to eat late at night often leads to taking in more calories than you need.
Even if you are genuinely hungry, your body might be getting in your way of achieving your health goals. When you eat late at night, you often may choose foods that are high in calories. Also, snacking after dinner can disturb your sleep, which can cause you to crave unhealthy food the next day.
Try these easy tips to banish evening cravings and curb after-dinner snacking. And, if you must snack, go for the healthier options.
Controlling Your Daytime Meals Helps You Avoid Eating Late at Night
To minimize after-dinner eating, plan healthy meals and in-between-meal snacks during the day.
Eating at home: Planning ahead to eat healthy meals at home can help you avoid less healthy “drive-through” dinners. Swing by your local grocery store and spend some time choosing low-calorie ingredients to prepare your meals with.
Snacks on the go: Outside your home, there are plenty of opportunities to snack, so make sure the food you’re more likely to grab is something you’ll be happy you’ll have eaten.
For example, stock your office cabinet or car glove box with healthy treats that are likely to stay edible for long periods of time. It will be easier to make healthier choices when nutritious food is available in the places where you spend the most time out of the house.
A Good Morning Meal Helps Curb Bad Evening Habits
What habit is shared by many people who have lost weight and kept it off? Eating breakfast every day.
Eating healthy food first thing in the morning gives your body the fuel it needs to stay focused throughout the day and helps you avoid getting over-hungry and then binging later in the day.
To ensure you eat a balanced breakfast, make sure you include lean protein, whole grains and fresh, frozen, or canned fruits.
Protein and Fiber to Calm the Night Cravings
Spread your protein consumption throughout the day, especially at breakfast and lunch. Some healthy options are energy-dense foods that are high in protein but low in fat and calories. For example, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils, which are also rich in fiber), fish, skinless white-meat poultry, fat-free dairy products, and egg whites are all excellent foods to boost your protein intake.
- Eating meals and snacks rich in both protein and fiber can keep you satisfied till you go to sleep, which helps you avoid eating late at night.
- In order to get a healthy amount of fiber from food every day, women should aim to eat 25 grams and men should try to get 38 grams.
- Meta Appetite Control is a fiber supplement that can help you reach your fiber daily goals. It contains the super fiber called psyllium fiber, which is clinically proven to help you curb cravings between meals.* If taken prior to a meal, it can help you control appetite for up to 4 hours.*
Keep Track of Your Habits
Keep a food diary: Every time you eat, write down what you ate and describe what was happening at that time. This will help you both pay closer attention to what you’re putting in your mouth and help you know what triggers—like hunger, stress, excitement, or boredom—cause you to eat more.
Technology is Your Friend: Your smartphone and other electronic devices can help manage food records. Search for apps that help you count calories, help you track what you eat, and give you guidance on healthy food choices.
Get Some Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, it disrupts your hormone levels that help tell you how full you are after a meal, which can lead to late-night eating.
Depriving yourself of sleep makes you more likely to overeat—possibly because it helps you cope with feeling tired.
Going to sleep earlier can help you avoid late-night food cravings.
Turn Off Any Screens—Particluarly At Night
Looking at screens is correlated to eating more. For example, eating while watching television, playing video games, or surfing the internet can distract you from noticing what and how much you’re eating, reduce signals sent to your brain that tell you you’re getting full, and lessen the memory of snacking.
When you eat dinner, make sure you turn off your TV, put away your smartphone, sit at the table and enjoy your meal. It will help you avoid eating late at night. You’ll feel more full and will be less likely to want an after-dinner snack.
Temptation Be Gone!
Don’t keep binge foods at home. If you’re vulnerable to eating a lot of food at one time, try to make those foods as inaccessible as possible. Common binge foods include cookies, candy bars, ice cream, and chips.
Brush your teeth after dinner
With a newly clean mouth, you may want to avoid eating late at night because you’ll want to avoid brushing again.
Appetite Suppressants to Help Stop Eating Late at Night
Clinically proven to work naturally with your body, Meta Appetite Control helps you feel less hungry between meals.* When taken prior to a meal, psyllium fiber, the super fiber in Meta Appetite Control, forms a gel in your digestive system, slowing absorption and digestion, which aids the sensation of fullness.
Truly being hungry is rarely the cause. Very often, you might be eating out of boredom, stress, or habit. It would be helpful to take a good look at the reasons you feel the urge to crave food late at night and address them directly rather than filling yourself with too much unnecessary food.