6 Ways To Help You Avoid Late Night Snacking And Keep Your Diet On Track
Late night snacking can send your diet off track. Undoing all your hard efforts of the day.
You might even feel a failure and that you’ll never be able to lose weight. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Because you are not the problem.
In reality, you haven’t been given the tools and techniques needed to keep your snacking under control. So how about we change that?
Nutrition can be complicated. And piecing everything together is tough. After all, you’re not a nutritionist, so you can’t be expected to know everything. Which is why this article is your late night snacking Swiss Army Knife. The set of tools and techniques you’ve been lacking up until now.
If your evenings currently involve multiple trips to the kitchen and devouring as much food as possible, this article is for you. With these 6 tips you can curb your late night snacking tendencies, for good.
So read on and discover the practical solutions that will bring an end to your late night snacking woes.
And if you’d prefer to listen to the audio version of “6 Ways To Avoid Late Night Snacking”, click the play button below.
Identify The Cause Of Your Late Night Snacking
If you know the root cause of your late night snacking urges, finding the solution becomes infinitely easier.
There are many factors that could turn you into a demonic fridge-raider come 6pm in the evening.
No. Carbs aren’t the devil. And they don’t whisper sweet fat-filled nothings into your ear as soon as nightfall descends. In fact, your evening snack marathons might not be related to food choices at all.
Because if your calorie deficit is too low, then even the smartest food choices still might leave you scrambling for baked goods and chocolate by the end of the day.
Here’s a few possible reasons why you’re finding it difficult to control your late night snacking:
- Your calorie deficit is too large.
- Food choices during the day are not as filling as they could be.
- Your exercise programme could be excessive and leaving you incredibly hungry.
- In extreme cases, you may even have a binge eating or night time eating disorder. Note that if this is the case, you should seek professional help.
A variety of solutions exist, depending on the root cause applicable to you. So be honest with yourself. Are you pushing calories too low in an effort to make faster progress? Do your food choices during the day consist of calorie-dense options that don’t satisfy your hunger? And is your training programme too extreme and leaving you ravenous?
Once you answer these questions honestly, you can start to correct the problem.
Does Your Late Night Snacking Follow A Pattern?
You’re a creature of habit. More often than not, your late night snacking compulsions follow a similar pattern.
Maybe, after a long day at work, you head straight for the kitchen. Raiding the snack drawer for cookies, chocolate, and whatever is easiest to lay your hands on. Dinner follows a few hours later. But you mindlessly inhale it as fast as possible while watching TV. After barely registering that you’ve eaten, your mind drifts to what delights lay waiting for you in the fridge.
And so ensues the late night snacking loop you can’t seem to escape.
This is a common problem. And many people, just like you, fall victim to ingrained patterns and triggers around food. So the important thing is to recognise these patterns and disrupt them.
Do something different.
For example, instead of heading to the kitchen when you get home from work, head upstairs to freshen up and get changed. Your solution doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. Just enough to break the routine you’re in right now.
And if certain foods trigger you to eat more and more, take control of your environment (something you’ll learn more about, later).
Establish A New Routine
Establishing new routines can provide much-needed structure. Because irregular eating patterns, behaviours, and habits can affect your ability to stay on track.
For example, a lack of sleep could lead to increased feelings of hunger. And increased hunger drive may be something you can overcome during the day. But willpower only lasts for so long. This means your diet becomes a ticking time-bomb. Ultimately resulting in a late night snacking explosion of epic proportions.
Finding ways to de-stress, relax, unwind, and optimise your sleep will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long-run. So plan an evening routine that brings some semblance of structure to the latter part of your day. And soon you’ll find the call of the fridge isn’t as strong as you thought.
Bring Structure To Your Meals
You don’t need a rigid meal plan to lose weight. After all, a one-day meal plan is going to teach you little about good nutrition. And ultimately is only good for a few days. But bringing some form of structure to your nutrition has its advantages. Especially when it comes to controlling your late night snacking habits.
Planning meals, and potentially preparing them in advance, can help you make better food choices. Instead of picking up vending machine snacks in a rush, you can plan nutritious, filling meals to keep hunger at bay. And here’s 6 tips to help you do just that, without becoming obsessed with the process.
6 Tips To Structure Your Meals And Avoid Late Night Snacking
- Set a calorie target that’s not too aggressive.
- Use this online calorie calculator to set an achievable target (c.10% deficit might be a good place to start).
- Follow the 80/20 rule.
- Try to get 80% of your calories from nutritious, whole foods, ie fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy. This should help with feelings of fullness.
- Choose high protein and high fibre meals/snacks.
- Protein and fibre-based snacks have been shown to suppress hunger. Great for managing your calories during the day and at night.
- Save calories for the evening.
- Despite popular belief, you won’t get fat by eating late at night. So if you need to, save a proportion of your calories for later in the evening.
- Limit refined sugars and processed foods.
- No foods are inherently “bad”. But highly processed foods might not fill you up and could increase cravings. So it makes sense to limit them as much as possible.
- Follow a meal frequency approach that suits you.
- You can have as few or as many meals per day as you like. So if fewer, but bigger meals help you stay fuller for longer, that’s fine. Likewise, if you enjoy the ‘little and often’ approach, that’s ok too. But just remember to keep an eye on those calories.
Control Your Food Environment To Control Late Night Snacking
If certain foods trigger you to eat uncontrollably, it’s time to take control of your food environment.
Whether that’s keeping them out of sight, or only buying them when you really want them, by creating physical barriers between you and the trigger foods, you increase the likelihood of keeping your diet on track.
You don’t need to label these foods as bad. Because this is not an epic moral decision. And a cookie isn’t the nutritional equivalent of Darth Vader. But removing and controlling these external food cues goes a long way to managing your late night snacking.
Because let’s face it. If the food isn’t there, snacking gets a LOT harder!
So next time you go shopping, don’t stock-pile those trigger foods like you’re preparing for the apocalypse. Simply buy them only when you specifically want them.
Additionally, stay well-hydrated and opt to load your fridge and cupboards with filling, nutrient-dense options instead. For example, fruit such as berries and watermelon are always great choices. And greek yoghurt provides a great, high protein snack option, which is also great for late-night gains.
Be More Mindful
Finally, on this list of tips to avoid late night snacking we have mindfulness.
Having the right mindset is important in many aspects of life. And it’s no different when it comes to developing positive habits around food.
So when you feel the drive to indulge in some late night snacking. Stop and question your actions.
Are you really hungry? Or are you simply eating out of boredom?
Often it’s the latter. And if that’s the case, find some way to occupy your time so you avoid another mindless snacking episode.
But if you are genuinely hungry, don’t fear having something to eat and honouring your hunger. And when you make the decision to eat, follow a few simple guidelines so that you do so mindfully:
- Eat without distraction, ie not while watching TV or thumbing through social media.
- Take your time. Savour and enjoy what you eat. It’s not a competition.
- Eat without judgement. You don’t have to feel guilty about the food choices you make. So when you decide to eat something, do it guilt-free.
Here’s a previous episode of the podcast with Emilia Thompson PhD all about mindfulness, gratitude, and other approaches to mindset and nutrition to help you. It’s filled with practical tips and advice for improving your relationship with food.
And if you want to watch the YouTube version, click the play button below.
The Bottom Line On How To Avoid Late Night Snacking
Late night snacking might feel out of control. But you can break the habit with the 6 tips laid out in this article. Spend some time experimenting with the solutions that work for you. And soon enough, you’ll tame the late night snacking beast.
The urge to snack and never stop is common. And it’s a pattern of behaviour that many people struggle to control.
Often it feels as though all of your efforts to lose weight are undone by mindless episodes of fridge-raiding. But don’t lose hope. Apply the 6 simple strategies in this article and you CAN avoid late night snacking taking your diet off track.
You might not instantly transform your ingrained habits overnight. But with time and consistent application, your hard efforts will pay off.
Here’s a summary of the 6 Tips To Avoid Late Night Snacking:
- Identify the cause. Spend time figuring out what’s causing your late night snacking. Then you’ll be able to determine the right course of action.
- Are there any patterns or triggers? Understanding more about when, why, and how your snacking starts can help find the solution.
- Establish a new evening routine. After you’ve understood any patterns, develop a new routine to counteract them.
- Bring structure to your meals. Having a robust approach to your nutrition could help avoid mindless late night snacking altogether.
- Control your food environment. Surrounding yourself with trigger foods is probably a bad idea. Take control and be conscious of your external food cues.
- Be more mindful. Become more in-tune with your hunger and craving cues. Are you eating our of genuine hunger or boredom?
What are your thoughts on late night snacking? Has this article given you the confidence to break bad habits and build new ones? Let me know in the comments below, or drop me a message on Instagram (@iron_paradise_fitness).
Here’s The Next Step In Achieving Your Fitness Goals
After reading this article, you should feel confident about managing your late night snacking. But what about the other pieces of the puzzle? Maybe you feel my personal 1:1 coaching would help accelerate the process of achieving your fitness goals. And you’d be right!
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- How much stress and frustration is your lack of progress adding to your life?
A lack of clarity might be holding you back from living the leaner, healthier life you deserve.
Schedule A Consultation Call
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But for now, all I’ll say is, keep living the Lean Life. And I’ll see you soon.
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