Put the Brakes on Nighttime Overeating
For many, nighttime is the right time to overeat
Tips for Overcoming Nighttime Noshing
But even with all this working against us, experts say, it is possible to
avoid nighttime overeating. If you're a nighttime nosher, here are some tips to
help you kick the habit:
1. Get in the habit of enjoying a hot cup of decaffeinated tea at night. Tea
comes in so many great flavors that you'll never be bored. In the warmer
months, have a glass of iced tea instead.
2. Many people snack at night because they're bored. Keep your evenings
interesting, and you'll find it easier to refrain from mindless snacking. Take
a night class, plan an evening exercise session, find a new and interesting
book or hobby, etc.
3. If you've gotten into the habit of eating in front of the television, vow
to eat only in the kitchen and only drink no-calorie beverages while watching
TV. Or limit your TV eating to fruits and vegetables. Occupy your hands in
other ways -- ride a stationary bike, do exercises with an exercise ball, take
up knitting, pay bills, or write notes to friends.
4. Because evening meals and snacks tend to be the highest in fat, it's
especially important to make healthy food choices at this time. Go for foods
that are rich in nutrients, high in fiber, and balanced with some lean protein
and a little bit of "better" fat (like olive or canola oil, avocado, or
5. Though you don't want to eat too many calories at dinner, for some
people, a small dinner could lead to a late-night snacking tailspin. Eat a
balanced, high-fiber dinner. If you get hungry later, enjoy a smart and
satisfying evening snack like low-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of whole-grain
cereal, fruit with a few slices of cheese, or whole-grain cereal with milk.
6. Have a balanced, higher-fiber lunch and afternoon snack to help avoid
overeating at dinner.
7. Don't skip breakfast. "When people skip breakfast, they end up eating
more calories by the end of the day, and we know that they end up compensating
for this skipped meal with high-sugar, high-fat foods," explains
8. People who eat small, frequent meals tend to eat fewer total calories and
fat grams than those who eat larger meals less often. Try eating small,
frequent meals to see if it improves the way you eat and feel.
9. If you're in the habit of finishing your day with dessert, try having a
mini-portion. The first few bites of a food always taste the best, anyway.
Experts say a petite portion is more likely to satisfy if you choose a dessert
you truly enjoy, take your time and savor every bite, and accompany your treat
with a cup of hot coffee or tea.