Tips for Curbing Nighttime Food Cravings

Tips for Curbing Nighttime Food Cravings

Tip: Eat within one hour of rising and make sure you glycemicly balance your meals (have a healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats)

  • What happens in the morning affects what happens at night. If you don’t eat within an hour after rising or if you eat a starchy, high-carbohydrate breakfast, you’ll likely throw your blood sugar and insulin off. This will start a rollercoaster of blood sugar and insulin spikes throughout the day and will cause you to crave foods (especially sugar or carbs) at night.

Tip: Make sure that no more than three to four hours goes by between glycemicly balanced meals during the day. These meals should highlight protein, high-quality fats, and low-glycemic vegetables.

  • Many people suffer late-night cravings if the interval between meals exceeds three to four hours.

Tip: Eat fiber-rich foods, with both soluble and insoluble fiber, throughout the day. This means eating more vegetables, especially at dinner, so that your stomach empties more slowly and reduces craving. Soluble fibers keep your blood sugar stable and keep you full longer, while insoluble fibers will bulk up your diet and promote intestinal health.

  • Most people today eat fiber-depleted meals (fast foods, processed foods, and little or no vegetables). Lack of fiber will cause your stomach to empty faster, producing more cravings or hunger signals.

Tip: Find something else that makes you feel good at night. A walk after dinner, yoga, reading a book, talking with friends on the telephone, taking a far-infrared sauna, etc. One of my favorite things to do is write in a journal.

  • Emotional eating is very common. Wanting to eat something sweet may fill an emotional need for something to make us feel good when our activities during the day may have not fulfilled that need.

Tip: Drink water continuously throughout the day. Have some clean, healthy water with you at all times (not from plastic bottles). If you want to use water more consciously to help with weight loss, drink a full cup of water thirty minutes before eating.

  • Many people believe that they are hungry when they feel a certain way in their bodies. This could in fact be your body signaling you that you are thirsty, not hungry.

Tip: Don’t keep high-starch carbohydrates and sugary foods at home. The likelihood that you will eat something healthier—less blood-sugar and insulin challenging—will increase exponentially.

  • If you are having cravings you will look for something to satisfy the cravings. If you have high-starch carbohydrates and sugary foods in your cabinets you will eat them, no matter what your best intentions.

Tip: Use cocoa powder instead of chocolate, which will help you feel good but will not contain sugar and chemicals.

  • Food cravings come from many reasons. Some of them are hormonal—women’s cravings can be very much determined by their hormonal balance during their menstrual cycles. Think of how you feel right before your period occurs. Chocolate, for instance, can seem like a something you must have.

Tip: Drink green tea, which is full of anti-oxidants, instead of coffee.

  • According to some experts, caffeine makes people impulsive around food choices. And think about how often you want to pair coffee with something else—coffee and Danish, coffee and cake, etc. Caffeine may have some benefits that are worth considering, but not in the form of coffee.

Tip: Ask for support. Prearrange help with a friend, and then call that friend when you have cravings. Tell them about your desire to cut out the late-night eating, talk about the choices you are making, and ask them to cooperate by not bringing ice cream or sweets into your house. 

  • Cravings love company. When we crave things, it’s easy to indulge with a partner in eating that late-night snack.

Tip: Make sure that you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep nightly. The time you go to sleep matters as well. Between 10 and 10:30 pm is optimum for getting the maximum restorative properties from sleep. 

  • Sleep matters. Not getting enough sleep disrupts two major hormones relating to food, leptin (the hormone that tells you that you are satiated) and ghrelin (the hormone that tells you that you are hungry). Leptin levels drop with inadequate sleep, while ghrelin levels rise. Studies have indicated that obese people get about 2 to 4 hours of sleep less weekly than people of normal weight.

Tip: Do things in a different order in the evening. If you always turn the TV on at a certain time, do something else instead. Try brushing your teeth earlier in the evening. Studies have indicated that once people have brushed their teeth, they are less likely to eat again.

  • People eat things when they are in well-established patterns, especially during the evening.