5 Ways to Nix Nighttime Nibbling

Eating a late-night snack before bedtime may not only pack on unwanted pounds;  it could keep you up at night with indigestion and even set off episodes of heartburn. Here, five tips to distract you from that late-night munching and ensure that you get your full eight hours.

1. Pick a Cut-off Time

Whether you're trying to lose weight or just maintain your current weight, your best bet is to refrain from eating two to three hours before bedtime or, even better, pick a stop time for eating each night (say 8:00 pm) to make it easy to stick to a nightly schedule.

2. Drink Liquids

To quench those late-night hunger pangs, try drinking a glass of water. Not only will the water make you feel full, it will also help your body flush out toxins, which could help you better digest the foods you've consumed all day. If water doesn't satisfy you, try drinking a glass of unsweetened juice. To eliminate high-calorie snacks but still satisfy a sweet tooth, drink a cup of hot chocolate made with nonfat or low-fat milk.

3. Go for a Walk

To get your mind off food, try taking a short walk after dinner. Listening to soothing music, reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, or taking a warm bath could also help distract you from thinking about food. Just don't do anything too strenuous because it could rev up your metabolism, increasing your feelings of hunger and making it more difficult to fall asleep.

4. Keep a Diet Journal

Bedtime hunger may sometimes be caused by a poor diet. To make sure that you're getting all the nutrients you need, writing down everything you eat in a journal can help you spot any necessary food group missing from your diet, such as protein and fruits and vegetables. Including those food groups as well as whole grain carbohydrates in your evening meal with keep you feeling full.

5. Don't Eat While Watching TV

Restrict your eating to the dining room table or kitchen. Eating in front of the TV or your computer screen can encourage a habit of mindless eating, even when you're not hungry.