Forming a habit of eating junk food late at night can get ugly. If you do it for long, then a time may come when even if you want to stop eating junk food at night, you will not be able to stop yourself from munching on the junk food.
The best thing you can do to stop eating junk food at night is to not form it as a daily habit.
If you already eat junk food at night after dinner, then there are many ways you can stop eating junk food at night. But it’s a slow process and you need to have patience and a desire to change your current situation.
In this article, you will read about steps you can take to slowly stop yourself from eating junk food at night.
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Why do I crave junk food at night?
During the day you might have eaten good amounts of healthy food. But at night, suddenly you might have cravings to eat junk food. There are many reasons why you might crave junk food at night.
One common reason that may lead to cravings for junk food at night is stress. When you are stressed – you begin to look for things that will help you to destress. As eating junk food gives you instant gratification, you might naturally start to think about eating sugary and salty junk food when you are stressed.
The second reason you might have that leads to cravings for junk food is sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep and stress can increase the level of cortisol present in your body and it can trigger the cravings for junk food.
To stop your junk food cravings at night you have to think of ways you can destress yourself and sleep early.
If you already have a habit of staying awake late at night, then naturally you will feel hungry late at night. And when you feel hungry late at night, if you keep junk food at home then it’s most likely that you will crave junk food.
Later in this article, you will read how to stop your junk food cravings at night.
How do I stop craving junk food at night?
There are many ways you can stop craving junk food at night. The best way is to fix your eating pattern and sleep schedule if you want to stop eating junk food immediately.
Here are some of the ways and tricks you can use to stop eating junk food at night.
1. Sleep within 2 hours after you have eaten your dinner
If you find yourself snacking on junk food after dinner then this might be the best solution to stop eating junk food at night.
When you stay awake for long after dinner, naturally you will be hungry 2-3 hours after eating your dinner. So, if you have a habit of staying up late at night after dinner, then to break your junk food eating habits you have to sleep early.
If you sleep early within 2-3 hours after you eat your dinner then it’s most likely you will not feel any hunger. So, sleeping within 2 hours of eating dinner can help you to stop eating junk food at night.
But if you feel a little bit hungry before you sleep, you can eat some healthy food items like – yoghurt, dates, oatmeal, a glass of milk, frozen fruits, dry fruits etc.
But if you continue to stay awake late at night after dinner, the only thing that might help you not eat junk food is your willpower.
If you really want to stop eating junk food then you need to go to bed within 2-3 hours after you have eaten your dinner.
Eat your dinner around 8-9 pm and go to bed at around 10.30 – 11.30 pm. This will help you to avoid any cravings for eating junk food at night.
Related: How to stop eating junk food.
2. Increase the amount of protein you eat at dinner
To not feel hungry right after you have eaten your dinner, you should consider increasing the amount of protein you eat in your dinner.
Eating more protein at dinner can help you not to feel hungry all the time. Because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. So, if you feel hungry within 1 hour after eating your dinner then it’s most likely that you are eating low amounts of protein in your dinner.
To not feel hungry quickly, increase the portion size of protein in your meals. Especially you should eat more protein in your dinner if you want to avoid eating junk food at night.
3. Have some ready-to-eat healthy snacks
If you are staying awake 3-4 hours after you have eaten your dinner, then it’s common to feel hungry after dinner. If you really want to stop eating junk food at night then first of all you should fall asleep within 3 hours after eating your dinner.
But if some days because of any important task you need to stay awake for 3-4 hours after dinner then you need to have some ready to eat healthy food options.
It’s important to prepare your healthy meal in advance. If you try to prepare it when you feel hungry, then it’s most likely you will eat junk food. So it’s important to have some ready-to-eat healthy snacks.
You can have one or two cups of yoghurt with chopped dates and dried fruits, oatmeal, salad, a glass of milk, mixed nuts etc.
4. Choose activities that relax your mood
Having stress issues and boredom is linked with eating junk food at night. So to fix your junk food eating habits – first, you have to find a solution for your stress issues.
If you find yourself stressed most of the time and eating junk food afterwards, it’s time to find a solution for your stress issues.
If you have a stress issue then it’s better to find a solution than to avoid the problem.
Also, if you are facing any kind of stress, you can try some relaxing activities to remove stress other than eating junk food.
You can try the following activities to remove stress – read a book, listen to some music, go for a 5-minute walk, or talk to someone about any topic.
5. Notice what triggers you to eat junk food
When you find what triggers you to eat junk food, then it becomes easier to stop eating junk food at night.
If you eat healthy food during the day and only have cravings for junk food at night then find out what’s triggering you to eat junk food at night.
Writing down your eating patterns and other activities that you do at night for a week can help you to find out what triggers you to eat junk food.
After finding out what makes you crave junk food, you can take further action to stop eating junk food after dinner.
6. Reward yourself for eating healthy
If you are not rewarding yourself for not eating junk food then it can get boring and you might again start eating junk food.
Make a goal to reward yourself when you stay away from eating junk food for x amount of time.
Or you can also set a goal to eat a limited amount of junk food and not eat any junk food after that. And if you can do it then after one week you will reward yourself with a gift.
Rewarding yourself for your good actions can trick your brain and it can help you not eat many junk foods at night.
7. Do not keep many junk foods at home
When you keep many junk foods at home you have easy access to fast food and this might make you eat junk food whenever you feel a little hungry. Even if you are not feeling hungry – boredom and other mood changes can make you want to eat junk food.
So, keeping a stockpile of junk food means you have to depend on your willpower to not eat junk food.
At night if you crave junk food – do not keep much junk food at home.
Only purchase one or two packs of junk food or chips that is sufficient for your evening snacks and maybe keep only one pack extra if you want to eat some potato chips at night.
But avoid storing many packs of potato chips or any other junk food items at home. Having a limited amount of junk food means you will eat less junk food. And you will not eat junk food often.
If you have a limited amount of junk food at home you will automatically think twice before eating junk food in bulk.
How do I stop eating junk food after dinner?
There is a simple but effective solution for avoiding junk food after dinner. The solution is – you have to sleep within 2-3 hours after you have eaten your dinner.
When you stay awake for long after dinner, you will naturally feel hungry after 3-4 hours. So, it’s better to avoid watching movies and tv shows late at night and then eat junk food afterwards.
Slowly make a habit of going to bed early. If you have a habit of eating junk food after dinner then going to sleep when you are full is the best way to stop eating junk food at night.
If for any reason you have to stay awake late at night, have some ready-to-eat healthy food near you. So when you feel like eating some junk food you can snack on healthy snacks instead of junk food.
Also, keep a limited amount of junk food at home. Pick an amount of junk food you want to eat in a day and only purchase that much junk food for the day. If you can’t control yourself and eat all that junk food at once, then you have to stay without eating junk food for the rest of the day. Or you have to again go to the store to purchase junk food.
If you really want to stop eating junk food after dinner then only have one pack of potato chips or any other junk food.
You should not have any other junk food at home other than one pack of any junk food. Eating that one packet of junk food means you will have no other option than to stay without eating any other junk food for the rest of the night. Practise this every day if you want to reduce the amount of junk food you eat in a day.
Related: Foods that increase your body fat percentage.
What disorders include night eating?
Night eating syndrome also referred to as NES is a night eating disorder. People with night eating syndrome (NES) deal with interrupted sleep (insomnia), they also wake up several times from sleep to eat. People with NES often reason their frequent night eating patterns with the following things – eating helps them to fall back asleep and eating in the middle of the night improves their sleep.
In some cases, people with night-eating disorders eat more than 25% of their daily food intake after their evening meal. On average this type of behaviour can be seen for two days in a week and can continue for three months.
Night eating syndrome (NES) can be treated with the help of psychotherapy, phototherapy, cognitive restructuring and medication.
Tips to stop eating late at night
Many people may find themselves eating late at night after dinner even if they are not that hungry. Most of the time, this type of night-eating behaviour is linked to eating large quantities of junk food and other processed food. Continuing nighttime eating can result in weight gain because of eating more calories than you need.
Here are some tips and steps you can take to stop eating late at night:
- Make yourself accountable to someone for how much junk food you eat during the day.
- Create a food journal and stay aware of how much junk food you are eating at night.
- Identify what causes you to eat junk food and take preventive measures.
- Consider lifestyle changes like sleeping early to stop eating late at night.
- Plan your meals and avoid eating other food items that are not present in your diet.
- If you are eating late at night because of boredom or stress, then find out a solution instead of avoiding the issue.
- Include protein in most of your meals.
FAQs about eating junk food late at night
Why do I eat junk food at night?
Several factors can influence eating junk food at night. You may have junk food cravings late at night because of the following factors – you didn’t eat enough food during the day, using junk food as a coping mechanism for anger, sadness, boredom, stress etc.
What is the healthiest late-night snack?
There are many healthiest late-night snack options other than junk food. Some of the healthiest late-night snacks are – a glass of lukewarm milk, yoghurt, berries, oatmeal, dates, dry fruits and nuts etc.
What should I eat if I crave junk food?
If you crave junk food you can eat several healthy food items like – oatmeal, a glass of milk, dried fruits, dates, frozen fruits etc.
Will I lose weight if I stop snacking at night?
If you stop snacking at night then you will eat fewer calories so you might lose weight. But to lose weight you need to add the total calories you eat during the day. Depending on how much physical activity you do during the day if you have a caloric deficit then it’s most likely you will lose weight.
What can I eat at night to not gain weight?
You can eat the following food items at night if you don’t want to gain weight – plain yoghurt, dry fruits and nuts, hard-boiled eggs, edamame and fruit salad.
To stop eating junk food at night the best solution for you is to make lifestyle changes. When you stay awake late at night and watch movies, tv shows or spend time on social media it can become a daily habit unless you take action.
Naturally, if you stay awake 3-4 hours after you have your dinner you will be hungry and you will want to eat some food. If you want to stop eating junk food after dinner you should go to bed within 2-3 hours after you have eaten your dinner.
When you are going to bed if you feel hungry then have some healthy food before you sleep. You can eat one or two cups of yoghurt, a glass of milk with some dried fruits or mixed nuts, oatmeal, fruit salad, fruit smoothie etc.
After you have eaten your snacks go to bed or if you stay awake for 1-2 hours more then you might be hungry again and you may end up eating junk food.
So, to avoid eating junk food at night you need to sleep at a fixed time and say goodbye to unproductive tasks late at night. Doing this will help you not to eat junk food late at night.