If eating at night is an issue for you, here are some tips and tricks to help you change this habit. Different strategies work for different people. Give some of these ideas a try and see if they work for you.
1. Healthy Treats
If you snack at night because you’re bored or stressed, try stocking your fridge and cupboards with healthy treats. Instead of chocolate, cookies, cakes and chips, give yourself access to only fruits such as apples or oranges, and nuts such almonds or walnuts. These foods have fewer calories and are more nutritious. You may find yourself wanting to eat them in lesser quantities because they’re not as sweet or fatty as other types of snacks.
2. Drinking Water
Some people eat late at night because they think they’re hungry. In reality, they may be dehydrated. If this applies to you, try reaching for a glass of water every time you have an urge to eat at night. Try doing this for several nights at least to see if it makes a difference. After drinking water, you may find that the urge to eat disappears.
One strategy that some people use is to exercise at night. You can do this, for example, while watching television. Instead of reaching for pretzels or cookies, you will feel productive if you ride an exercise bike or walk on a treadmill while watching your favorite shows.
4. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum is another way to replace eating at night. It will keep your mouth busy and fill it with a flavor you enjoy. You might find yourself not wanting to snack with gum in your mouth.
5. Adjusting Meal Time
One of the reasons that people eat at night is because they are truly hungry. Eating dinner too many hours before bedtime can result in legitimate hunger pangs. Try adjusting your dinner time. If you typically go to bed at 11 p.m., eating dinner at 5 p.m. may be too early. Maybe eat your final meal of the day at 7 p.m. This will give you enough time between dinner and bedtime, without making you endure too many hours of going without food.
6. Brushing and Flossing
Another strategy that may work for you is to brush and floss your teeth several hours before going to bed. Flossing in particular helps some people avoid snacking in the later evening hours because it’s a tedious activity that they don’t want to do repeatedly. Try brushing and flossing earlier in the evenings to see if this strategy works for you.
7. Calling a Friend
Food often acts as a pick-me-up for people. One way to replace eating at night is to find an activity that makes you feel good. When you feel an urge to eat, pick up the phone and call a friend you enjoy talking to. Just connecting with another person can make you feel better and remove the feelings of boredom or stress that may be leading to your nighttime eating.