Try these tricks and stop snacking at night for good!

Snacks are actually a critical component of a healthy diet.

Snacking between meals keeps you from being hungry, which can help you to better control your eating at meal-time.

You’ll find that having a snack or two per day—a HEALTHY one—is an excellent way to keep your energy levels up while encouraging better blood sugar and appetite control.

But snacking at night can be a bad thing, thanks to the fact that you don’t usually need calories late at night (and thus your body turns it into stored fat rather than burns it). Of course, most people also end up snacking on something less-than healthy when going for a late night snack.

You’re better off avoiding all snacks after dinner, and we’ve got some tips that can help you curb your nighttime snacking habit:

Eat a Sizeable Dinner

There is a chance that you’re actually hungry at night, and it’s that hunger that is causing you to snack. The simplest solution is to make sure that you’ve had enough to eat during the day.

Dinner is an important meal, as it closes out your day and gives you the energy you need for the evening. A lot of people skip dinners because they’re too busy or using the time for an afternoon/evening workout, which leads to late-night snacking.

Try to have a sizeable dinner, focusing chiefly on lean protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. Reduce your nighttime carb intake, and try to steer clear of any sugars. A big, hearty salad is definitely a meal you want to have, and you’ll find yourself far less likely to snack if you’ve had a proper dinner.

Figure Out Why

Are you snacking because you’re actually hungry, or is there another reason? If hunger is the cause, the above-mentioned big dinner will be the cure.

However, if you’re snacking for non-hunger-related reasons, it’s vital that you figure out what’s driving it.

Emotional eating is a huge driving factor behind late night snacking, and it almost always leads you to eat junk food. Stress eating is another cause, as you try to eat something to settle your nerves or feel better after a stressful day.

Nighttime eating syndrome is another potential problem. If you eat lightly during the evening then consume a lot of food late at night—at least 25% of your daily calories—than you might have this problem.

Figure out what’s causing you to snack, and you’ll be able to take steps to deal with the root cause of the problem.

Go to Sleep Earlier

If there is a large gap between your dinner and bedtime, you might feel the urge to fill those hours with a little snack. The simplest solution, then, is to go to bed a few hours earlier.

Your last meal should be roughly 3 hours before you go to bed, especially if you’re having a large dinner. If more than 3 ½ or 4 hours pass between your meal and bedtime, you’ll likely feel like snacking. All you have to do is push dinner a little bit later or go to bed earlier. That way, you’ll just be finished digesting your food and still feeling satiated when you climb into bed.

Be Wary of TV and Eating

Time spent in front of the TV or on your computer screen has been linked to mindless eating. It’s very common to want a snack or treat to enjoy while watching TV or a movie, and it will almost always be something with too much sugar, refined carbs, or unhealthy fats.

You need to be aware that your TV time is going to trigger these potential desires to snack, so be aware of them every time you sit down in front of the TV. Make it a point to ignore any cravings or hunger pangs that set in at night while you’re watching TV or movies, knowing that they’re the result of your screen time.

Have a Cup of Tea

Tea makes the perfect anti-snack remedy! Fruit and herbal tisanes give your taste buds the flavor they want, but tea contains no calories and plenty of water to make sure that you’re hydrated. The result is a simple cure for any cravings or snacky desires you might be feeling at night.

If you can have your tea with no sweetener, even better! But if you need something to make the tea taste a little better, go with honey, Stevia, or a natural sweetener. Refined carbs (in the form of white sugar) will only make your late-night sugar cravings worse.

Only Allow Yourself to Eat Sitting at the Table

If you want to avoid late-night snacking, make it a rule in your house that you can only eat when you’re sitting down at the table as a family. That way, you can know that your last meal of the day will be the last time you eat. You can have a little dessert over dinner if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, but once you get up from the meal, you’re not going to eat anything else!

Eat Well Throughout the Day

This is an absolutely crucial component of not only curbing your snack habits, but having a healthy diet in general!

Your body is designed to process food every few hours, meaning if you go too many hours without eating, you’ll begin to feel hungry and the food cravings could settle in. Ideally, you should be eating every 3-4 hours, with light, healthy snacks between each meal.

If you eat three meals and two (small) snacks per day, you’ll definitely be satiated when the evening rolls around. You’ll end up far less likely to snack because you’ve been giving your body a steady stream of nutrients and calories throughout the day.