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How to Avoid Nighttime Snacking

Why You Snack at Night — and How to Avoid It

Late-night snacking can be a calorie-loaded diet pitfall, but if you're able to recognize the reason behind your cravings, you can curb the impulse and stick to your healthy habits. Regularly find yourself back in the kitchen shortly after dinner? Here's why you keep snacking, plus how to scale back:

  • You skimp on food throughout the day. If you aren't eating enough at each meal, your body is going to kick into hunger overdrive later. Do you skip breakfast to save time? Breeze through a small lunch because you're too busy to keep eating? It's important to space out your food intake so that the hunger doesn't sneak up on you after dinner. Make sure to stay satisfied by eating a mix of protein, fats, and carbohydrates at every meal.
  • You're sad, angry, or _____. Any and all emotions can trigger the impulse to eat. Lower the odds of stress-fueled fridge raids by staying in touch with how you're feeling and choosing different outlets. If you start to regularly unwind in other ways — by calling a friend, for instance, or taking a walk — then you'll learn to deal with your anxiety before you even think to storm the cabinets.

Keep reading for more healthy snacking tips.

  • You like to munch while watching TV. Sometimes, it's just a matter of having something else to do while hanging out on the couch. Keep your hands busy — flip through a magazine, do a crossword puzzle, or write tomorrow's to do list. It's a double win: not only will you avoid overeating, but you'll also amp up your productivity.
  • You deprive yourself. When you restrict yourself from eating the foods you love, you can find yourself mindlessly eating, trying to fill up on other foods to distract yourself from the craving. Portion control is everything, so if you want something sweet, have something sweet — just do so in moderation.
  • You're bored, plain and simple. Food should be fuel, not a time-filler. When extra minutes leave you feeling restless, assess whether or not you're actually hungry before heading to the kitchen. Learn to recognize your body's signals throughout the day, which will help you stay on track in any situation.
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