How to Beat Midnight Munchies

Article posted in: Lifestyle

Ah, the midnight munchies. It’s easy to succumb to these late night snacks at the end of the day when we’re tired and our willpower is at its weakest. Whether we do it to calm a craving, for comfort, or because we’re just plain hungry, studies suggest that these late night eating bouts can lead to weight gain purely based on the time of day.

According to a recent study conducted at Northwestern University and supported by the National Institute on Aging, eating at irregular time periods has been linked to weight gain. Experts attribute the extra pounds to the body’s internal clock, which may increase hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods during the evening hours. While these inclinations were good for our ancestors who needed to store fat to fit their unpredictable lifestyles, it’s unnecessary in modern society.

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So if you find yourself in front of the fridge during those tempting bewitching hours, we’ve got a few tips to stave off those cravings and stay on track:

Eat bigger, earlier. Breakfast is key to setting yourself up for success. Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia suggests that the foods you eat early in the day should be packed with protein to create sustained satisfaction and reduce cravings. If you deprive yourself of too many calories throughout the day, you will be way more inclined to overeat later to make up for the deficit.

Keep a food journal. When you track what you eat you can pinpoint and address your bad eating habits and what led you to them. The practice keeps you prepared and accountable. Need a good tracking tool? Try NuMi, Nutrisystem’s FREE online tracking tool… and your weight loss secret weapon!

Have a drink-tivity. When you feel the urge to binge, make a cup of non-caffeinated tea instead. By the time you boil the water, steep the tea and enjoy its soothing goodness, you’ll forget all about those unhealthy options. Not to mention, tea is low in calories and can be just the calming force you need to fall asleep.

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Replace the bad habits. It’s always easier to replace a bad habit than it is to kick it outright. Create new nighttime rituals like reading or meditating, as both have the ability to occupy your time in a meaningful way and keep you present and conscious of your actions. For the night owls, switch up your bedtime. The earlier you go to bed, the less temptation you will face.

Brush those pearly whites. If you brush your teeth right after you eat you will be less inclined to ruin that clean feeling with a few bites of chocolate.