Hungry at Bedtime? Three Smart Solutions


By: , – Elizabeth Fassberg, R.D., Family Circle
  :  21 comments   :  90,024 Views

Get ready for a shocker. You may have heard that anything you eat after 8 p.m. immediately turns into extra pounds. But it’s not true. When you eat isn’t the key. How much you eat is.
Too many calories, whether they’re consumed in the morning, afternoon or night will equal weight gain. However, it is best to spread your calories throughout the day. That’s because food is meant to be used for energy—energy you need more during the day while shuttling your kids to practice as opposed to the night when you’re sleeping. Still nervous about eating so close to lights out? Follow these tips to calm your head and curb your hunger. 
Reassess Your Day
Waiting too long to eat during the day can cause binging at night. And when you’re looking for a fast hunger fix, it usually comes in the form of chips and dips, cheese and crackers or sweets—all of which have calories that add up faster than you think! Make sure to space out your meals throughout the day so you can avoid a snack attack at night.
Avoid Sleep Saboteurs
Sometimes consuming a heavy meal at night that’s full of fat or happens to be spicy can cause you to toss and turn. Caffeinated beverages can also disrupt your sleep, so skip those too.
Satisfy Your Hunger Simply
Don’t go to bed with a growling stomach—it could keep you awake. Instead, opt for a small snack such as a banana with peanut butter, a fruit salad with yogurt or a little bowl of cereal with skim milk. That may be all you need to have some sweet dreams and not add any inches to your waistline.
Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.
More from Family Circle:
 How do you avoid bedtime hunger? What is your go-to bedtime snack?

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  • 21
    I work out in the afternoons, and try to have a light dinner afterwards. I spend the rest of the evenings cleaning, doing homework and getting ready for the next day. By the time I crawl into bed I am too exhausted to be hungry! - 7/22/2013   5:39:52 AM
  • 20
    cheese stick & water - 4/25/2013   5:36:46 PM
  • 19
    If I need a snack either a handful of high fibre cereal to nibble on or a hard boiled egg for that protein fix - 11/3/2012   5:43:07 AM
  • 18
    I usually don't snack other maybe a couple sips of my hubby's wine. Now you all have me craving something to snack on. - 10/31/2012   9:58:49 PM
  • 17
    I usually just drink a glass of water. I have to do that anyway because of the bedtime medication I'm on. This way it kills 2 birds with 1 stone as the old saying goes. - 10/31/2012   4:00:08 PM
    Great tips! It's always nice to hear that WHEN you eat doesn't necessarily contribute to weight gain! - 10/31/2012   3:21:11 PM
  • 15
    My go-to grumbly bedtime stomach fixer is Wheat Ritz, one serving of 5 crackers. It's just enough and I always have them in the house. - 10/31/2012   1:23:16 PM
    kind of blew it this morning,had a sweet piece of toast(applestrudel) along with a piece of reg.WWtoast but it tasted so good and I need to enjoy little extras from time to time ,Hubby wants to take my out to lunch today so I must be careful.I always try to finish dinner by 6:00 for several reasons but found that I don't have any cravings later on,although I do have two small (5ounce)glasses of wine before bed and that takes care of my sweet needs.I am still losing weight but have to be careful all the time now. - 10/31/2012   12:30:17 PM
    I try to have dinner closer to 8PM making it easier to skip bedtime snacking. All my meals are eater later than normal starting with breakfast between 10 & 11 when possible as my eating tends to go out of control later in the day. Just shifting meals a few hours later works better for me most of the time. - 10/31/2012   12:00:34 PM
  • 12
    I have to eat a snack before bed because of a cholesterol med I'm taking - It's great to see some more suggestions :) - 10/31/2012   11:05:14 AM
  • 11
    Thank you so much. This is the worst for me. I usually end up eating popcorn. I think I'll try the cereal instead. - 10/31/2012   10:48:50 AM
  • 10
    good ideas.... i serve meals away from kitchen.. fix a plate so i don't have to look at the extras.. - 10/31/2012   10:19:52 AM
    One way that I prevent mindless snacking at night is by brushing and flossing - it's too much of a hassle to brush again after the snacking!! Does this work for anyone else?? - 10/31/2012   5:45:06 AM
  • 8
    I eat a protein before bed and that helps with my hypoglycemia so I don't wake up with a headache. - 10/30/2012   10:26:00 PM
  • 7
    I might drink some water- I generally do not get hungry at bedtime- not to mention I have probably just brushed my teeth. - 10/30/2012   9:51:39 PM
  • 6
    If I have a little protein and carb them my blood sugar does great. - 10/30/2012   8:38:31 PM
  • 5
    I try to have a snack close to bedtime that may be part of my last meal such as sugar free pudding or maybe nut butter on a tortilla and nuts. Normally I only schedule one snack per day unless I divide it. Good information. Thank you! - 10/30/2012   7:29:53 PM
  • 4
    I chew a half stick of Extra Polar Ice chewing gum. It's refreshing and it usually takes the edge off of wanting anything more. - 10/30/2012   5:07:53 PM
  • 3
    I generally plan in an evening snack, but my schedule is also such that I'm up to midnight or 1 am, so there's no way I'm "fasting" for hours before I even go to bed. The key is that it's already planned. If I don't have it, I'm just lower in my range. If I do, I'm fine.

    Typical snacks might be half a cucumber and some cherry tomatoes or a pudding. I try for light and easily digestible. - 10/30/2012   2:25:10 PM
  • 2
    I drink some lemon water. - 10/30/2012   1:25:20 PM
  • 1
    I always have green tea after dinner to beat my cravings. If I am hungry before bed I like to have a glass of milk. - 10/30/2012   6:39:28 AM

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