Find a distraction to overcome your midnight snack cravings.
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Whether your midnight munchies are related to boredom, habit, low blood sugar or emotional needs, they can all lead to the same unfortunate conclusion -- unexpected weight gain and disastrous diet results. Although you probably know you should avoid the fudgy brownies and leftover pizza, your willpower may be no match for crazy midnight cravings. But with a few simple substitutions and habit changes, learning to overcome your late-night cravings is certainly possible.
Why it's Dangerous
Regularly indulging in extra calories before bedtime can quickly lead to added pounds. Consuming more calories than you burn leads to weight gain, while burning more calories than you consume leads to weight loss. And if you consume roughly the same amount of calories as you burn every day, you'll maintain the same weight -- unless you gobble down a few extra hundred calories after a sudden midnight urge.
Find a Distraction
If you always reach for food when watching late-night television or reading a book before bed, find another distraction until your eating habits change for the better. A simple hobby like knitting or putting together a jigsaw puzzle can occupy your mind and keep your hands busy. If you tend to snack during commercial breaks, use the time to fold laundry, flip through a magazine or even do a few calisthenics. And if you just can't overcome the urge, drink a big glass of water and brush your teeth or use a strong mouthwash -- the strong minty flavor is usually so powerful that nothing you eat afterwards will taste appetizing.
Change Your Routine
If you consistently crave a late-night snack, it might be a good indication that you're not keeping your hunger satisfied throughout the day. Rather than eating just three large meals per day, try eating six smaller meals that are spaced out every few hours. This routine helps you maintain a steadier blood sugar level, which could help prevent feelings of hunger late at night. You can also try pushing your dinner back about an hour to see if that helps reduce your midnight hunger pangs.
If you must munch on a midnight snack, choose a healthy option that's relatively low in calories. Stick to the nutritious snacks you rely on during the daylight hours. Instead of ice cream, choose low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit. If you prefer a warm slice of pie, try mixing warm fruit into a bowl of oatmeal. Skip the potato chips and snack on a few handfuls of plain popcorn with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese instead. Or, toss kale pieces with olive oil, garlic powder and black pepper, put them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until they are crisp. Other snack ideas include cottage cheese, fresh fruit or raw veggies with hummus or salsa.