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 nuts).
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 Bowman.