Cravings for unhealthy food that strike late at night can ruin an entire day's effort of eating well. Here are some tips to help you overcome those late night cravings.
1. Eat Regularly throughout the Day
To keep your blood sugar levels stable and control hunger and cravings, eat regularly throughout the day. Don't wait more than an hour and a half after waking to have breakfast, and eat no less often than every five hours during the day. You'll be less vulnerable to evening drops in blood sugar that can lead to powerful food cravings and late night snacking.
2. Don't Keep Unhealthy Snacks in the House
You can't eat food you don't have, so fight late night cravings for unhealthy snacks by not bringing them home in the first place. If you only have healthy snacks in the house, you'll be more likely to eat them when you feel peckish at night.
3. Have a Healthy Snack at Night
Instead of indulging in your late night cravings for unhealthy foods, plan a healthy late night snack, such as peanut butter on toast or fruit and yogurt. If you plan such a snack in advance, you might find yourself looking forward to eating it.
4. Keep Busy
One of the reasons people have food cravings late at night is because of boredom. Take up knitting or crossword puzzles to give yourself something to do in the evening. When you're watching TV at night, use the commercial breaks to do something useful, like check your email, rather than getting up for a snack. Getting out of the house a few evenings a week, whether to attend a class or spend time with friends, is another way to distract yourself from late night food cravings and snacking.
5. Eat Dinner a Little Later
You can avoid late night hunger by eating dinner 30 to 60 minutes later in the evening. You'll be more likely to get sleepy and go to bed before you get hungry enough to snack.
6. Make Evening Meals High in Fiber
Foods high in fiber keep you feeling full longer without unnecessary calories. Soluble fiber, such as that found in fruit, keeps blood sugar levels stable. Insoluble fiber, or roughage, such as that found in vegetables and grains, takes a long time to digest, so your stomach will stay fuller longer. Drink plenty of water with your high fiber meals to ensure proper digestion.
7. Choose Healthy Snacks that Take a Long Time to Eat
When choosing healthy evening snacks, choose snacks that take a long time to eat. Popcorn without butter and nuts in the shell are all good examples of snacks that take a long time to eat. Eating quickly inhibits your body's ability to signal to your brain that you're full, so you're more likely to overeat when you eat quickly than when you eat slowly. Healthy snacks that take a long time to eat will satisfy your cravings without adding too many excess calories to your diet.