How to Control Night-Time Snacking

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  • By Robin Westen

    Do you get a bad case of the munchies after the sun goes down? Just an added 300 calories in the evening after dinner while watching TV, when you're probably not even hungry, will pack on 30 pounds in one year. Plus, nighttime over-eating can also be the cause of poor sleep. Here are tips to break the cycle:
  • Eat Healthy Meals Throughout the Day This way you won’t be starving when you walk through the door. A good rule of thumb is a well-portioned breakfast and lunch and two healthy snacks between meals. Also, be sure to make an evening meal that is packed with protein to avoid any hunger pangs after dinner.
  • Keep Junk Food out Of the House Why not get rid of the temptation? If your favorite high-calorie snacks are easily available, you won’t be able to stop thinking about them and eventually you’ll give in.
  • Consider a Hobby If your M.O. is munching mindlessly in front of the television, consider doing something else with your hands while watching. Knitting, crocheting or scrapbooking are all good options.
  • Get Out of the House Why not break the routine? Instead of staying home, take an adult education class, volunteer your time for an organization or shelter, join a book group, go to the gym. You don’t have to stay out late, but there’s more of a chance that you’ll come home exhausted and head right to bed.
  • Drink Water Whenever you feel the urge to snack, go to the kitchen and fill your glass with water. Of course, it won’t satisfy a sweet or salty craving but it will fill your stomach. If you want flavor, squeeze a bit of lemon or orange into the H2O. Or, plop in a strawberry or grape.
  • Brush Your Teeth Do that at least an hour before bed. Once you brush your teeth and have that "clean mouth" feeling, you may find yourself reluctant to snack more.
  • Stay With It Accept that this is a challenge from the start and make a commitment to yourself to stick to it. Remind yourself you’ll not only be healthier but lose weight. Saying the simple affirmation “I can do this!” will help.

    About the Author

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge's Medical Director. Check for her daily updates. Her latest book, co-written with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."