When the refrigerator beckons you late at night, it can be hard to resist the temptation to make yourself a Dagwood-sized sandwich. It’s frustrating, especially when you’ve already had dinner and maxed out your calories for the day. Some simple strategies might help you manage the evening munchies, however, such as having a late afternoon snack and eating dinner a little later in the evening.
Planning, Protein, Fat and Sleep
Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch helps keep you from being ravenous in the evening. Your dinner should contain some protein, which will help hold you until bedtime. Choose an evening snack that contains some protein and fat, such as half a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise on whole-grain bread. The turkey and mayo promote a feeling of fullness -- called satiety. A study published in the March 2013 "Obesity" found that appetite tends to peak in the evening, so to some extent, eating before bedtime is normal. Speaking of bedtime, if you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to overeat, so an April 2013 article from Oregon Health and Science University recommends you get adequate sleep each night -- between seven and nine hours for most adults.
- British Journal of Nutrition: Dietary Protein - Its Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss and Health
- Obesity: Effect of Fat Sources on Satiety
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety
- Oregon Health and Science University: Study Explains What Triggers Those Late-Night Snack Cravings
- Obesity: The Internal Circadian Clock Increases Hunger and Appetite in the Evening Independent of Food Intake and Other Behaviors