We are all guilty of indulging in some late-night snacks once in a while, but for some of us it is a nightly habit that is sabotaging our weight and health in general. There are a lot of reasons we snack at night, but whether it’s out of boredom, a bad habit or from actual hunger, it’s important to learn to control it before it becomes a serious problem. To help you curb this problem we’ve come up with 7 ways to avoid snacking at night:
- Pay attention to what you’re eating: Many of us have a habit of munching on chips or cookies while sitting in front of the TV. The problem with this is we become so engrossed in what we’re watching we stop watching what we’re eating and before you get a chance to look down a half a bag of cookies is gone. This is called mindless eating and it’s one of the easiest ways to gain weight. If you want a snack don’t have it while sitting in front of the TV (or the computer either): eat with no distractions so you focus on what you’re eating and you’ll take in a lot fewer calories.
- Sit down at a table when you eat: This is an extension of the first tip and it will help you tremendously. Just as eating while distracted can cause you to eat more, so can eating while your standing or moving around doing things. Treat your snacks like you would a full meal: make it a rule that you have to sit down at a table and put your snack on a plate. It will encourage you to eat less when you see what you’re eating and how much.
- Remove temptations: you can’t eat what you don’t have. If you know you have a tendency to eat at late night while on the phone stock your house with nutritious foods only, so if you do eat it will be something healthy. It doesn’t have to be forever: just eliminate those foods until you get your late-night snacking under control. Stock up on fresh fruits, yogurts, nuts and other healthy snacks so you minimize the weight you’ll gain from snacking.
- Indulge-in moderation: If you want to allow yourself a nighttime snack make sure to do it once in a while and limit what how much your going to eat. Never sit down with a whole bag of chips or any type of snack food. Take out a reasonable amount then put the rest away-without going back for seconds.
- Brush your teeth: If it is one of those night’s whee you are looking to snack out of comfort or feel extremely ravenous try brushing your teeth. The minty flavor of the toothpaste will deter you from eating since sweets and other foods since it makes them taste weird. Plus, after you brush your teeth they feel all sparkly clean, making you not want to eat.
- Eat more, more often: this sounds odd but it makes sense: don’t go all day without eating, otherwise you will stuff yourself at night. Try to eat small meals throughout the day so you feel full at night and don’t have the urge to snack. Try to consume foods high in fiber and protein because that combination makes you feel full: try whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. These foods also stabilize your blood-sugar, which also tells your brain your full.
- Work out: Daily exercise helps for several reasons. First of all working out boosts metabolism, so you burn more calories, which makes you eat more during the day and less at night. Secondly, exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which make you less likely to snack because you’re sad or depressed. Eat before and after workouts to make sure you are properly fueled and feel your best.
With these tips you can learn to conquer late night snacking. Late-night eating is a learned behavior and just like you learned to do it you can be taught not to do it. If you feel you cannot control your eating speak with your physician. There may be a medical reason why you are overindulging, so let your physician examine you. Snacking at night can be managed, you just have to learn how and apply that knowledge.