Tips on How to Stop Late Night Snacking

“I am fine during the day but once I sit down in the evening I love to snack!”

Sound familiar? 
Wondering how to stop snacking late at night? 

You made it through your long and hectic day. You followed your plan and worked hard to stay on track! You feel successful, accomplished, and proud of yourself. Now it’s time to unwind and relax… 

You sit down, put your feet up and turn on the TV. You know you’ve a packet of crisps in the cupboard, or a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate or [insert your favourite snack] !

After a few minutes of mindless snacking, you’ve finished the packet .
You start to feel annoyed with yourself,  you hadn’t planned to do that. You may start to feel your efforts for the day slip away.

So you’re wondering how to manage those cravings, stop snacking at night, and avoid slowing down your success. 

Here’s a few strategies we’ve come up with to help you finish the day strong. 

1. Plan Your Late-Night Snack Ahead of Time

Sound too simple? Simple is the lowest hanging fruit so don’t underestimate it! 

Don’t pretend it’s not going to happen ! If you know you are going to want a late-night treat, plan it in advance and incorporate it into your day. Make that snack or treat part of a planned day of eating by adding it into your MyFitnessPal or food tracker app ahead of time. Then, work backwards, design the rest of your meals around this special treat.

Not tracking precisely? Consider what you have eaten earlier in the day and what you plan to eat at night. For example, if you want a higher fat treat after dinner, keep your fats lower through the morning and afternoon. 

You’ll never be disappointed that you took an extra five minutes to plan ahead.

2. Make it an Experience

Who doesn’t love a creamy and thick protein milkshake for dessert?

Sometimes, the best part of making a healthy treat is not only having it but the experience of making it and enjoying it

  • “What protein flavour do I want tonight?”
  • “Should I throw in some strawberries or stick to my favourite – banana and PB2?” 
  • “What toppings do I want to add? 10-15g of granola? 5g of chocolate chips? 10g of crushed peanuts?
    After all, no Instagram-worthy protein shake is complete without some accessorising! Enjoying the experience of planning and making it can be just as fun as eating the treat itself.

Once you have your treat in hand, make sure to eat it slowly and savour the moment. 
Put down your phone and do your best to limit distractions so you can fully enjoy your special treat. 
When we eat while distracted, it can be tough for our bodies to register being satiated….(ever eat the entire packet of biscuits and not even realise it until you reach for one more and there’s none there ?!!)

3. Avoid Associating Relaxing with Late-Night Snacking

Think about this question for a few minutes… is your late-night snacking on autopilot?

If so, try to incorporate other relaxing things in your nightly routine that better align with your goals and are not food-related like…

  • Stretching instead of sitting on the sofa ( you know how much you need to improve your mobility !! Now’s a great time for you to work on that. (Don’t know what to do – ‘GoWod’ is a great app )
  • Going for a evening walk after dinner.
  • Reading a few pages of a book
  • Planning your nutrition for tomorrow – open up your MFP app and input tomorrows meals, ahead of time.

Establishing a new habit that replaces snacking could be the key to removing the trigger that is causing you to reach for food. This new habit could be the answer to help you stop late-night snacking for good. 

4. Say Goodbye to Tempting Food – but Just Once !

If you have food in the house you have trouble saying no to, let’s not buy that food anymore!
It really is that simple.
The truth is, that willpower will only take you so far.

Pro Tip: Think about these foods as “not right now” foods instead of “never” foods! 

Depending on where you are in your journey (are you cutting weight, gaining weight, or maintaining?), what your goals are (fat loss or muscle gain?) and what life is throwing your way (are you on your cycle or feeling particularly stressed?) you may be able to reintroduce some of those foods in the future. But, when you’re trying to create a healthy habit like stopping late-night snacking, keeping the healthy choice the easy choice is key to your success.

Having to say “no” every time you open your cupboard is going to be hard – more like torture! It will be a lot easier to say “no” at the supermarket one time, than saying it one hundred times at home. 

If this isn’t an option because [insert family member or housemate name] loves to have a specific snack at home, try creating a separate spot for that food like a really high shelf or hidden spot in the cupboard. When it is out of sight (and, when you’d have to whip out a stool to reach it) you are less likely to eat it.
In other words – Set up an environment that facilitates the choices you want to make!

5. Think About The Future You

When you notice a craving or that urge to snack at night, pause for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself..

“Am I actually hungry? Or is this just a habit – built up over time?”

Visualise what you will feel like when you’re going to bed tonight, will you be annoyed with your choices/ or if you resisted the temptation to snack vs. if you gave in. 

Ask yourself, “How do I FEEL if I had this?”
“will this take me closer or further from my goals?”

What decision will you feel proud of yourself? Sometimes a small pause and considering how you want to feel can help reframe your thinking and mindset in a given moment. Turn nutrition into something you GET to do vs. something you HAVE to do. 

And lastly, have compassion and grace with yourself.

We all give in to late-night snack temptations every now and then. Moving on from this and doing your best to not feel bad or guilty is an important and necessary part of a successful nutrition journey and lifestyle. 

Make a healthy choice you’re proud of as soon as you can to remind yourself that you have the power – and remember that everything is going to be alright if you treat each experience as a chance to grow and learn.

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