5 Tricks to Prevent Late Night Snacking

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

prevent-late-night-snackingWe know that eating close to bedtime is not good for our bodies or the waistline.

The closer we eat to bedtime, the more likely we are to store those calories or eat in excess.

It can be a tough challenge to overcome, but follow these doable steps to a new you.

5 Steps to Eat Less at Night

  1. Eat enough earlier in the day. Don’t let your body clock get confused and shift to eating too much later in the evening. Focus on eating more at lunch and breakfast. Making lunch your “biggest” meal can help some. This helps to make sure that in the evening you are not feeling excess hunger, and can prevent overeating.
  2. Eat a balanced dinner. Follow the rule of half a plate of vegetables, one quarter a protein source, and the other quarter a healthy carbohydrate source. By doing this, you will feel more satisfied.
  3. Allow yourself one post-dinner snack. The trick is to eat this snack or dessert right at the end of dinner. This acts as a signal to the brain that you are finished with your food intake. Move on with the night, and focus on other tasks or relaxation that does not involve food.
  4. Choose a new nighttime routine. If you would normally grab a snack at a certain hour, replace it with a new habit or behavior that does not involve food. Start a new hobby, craft, or relaxation technique. Try doing things with your hands like knitting, journaling, or a puzzle. Anything goes!
  5. Brush your teeth. As simple as it sounds, this can be one of the best techniques. When you are finished with dinner, brush your teeth about an hour after to prevent you from snacking on more food. Who wants to brush their teeth again?

Do you have any tricks you use to stop excess snacking?


  1. Steve

    I hope I found this article a year ago when I had problems with my midnight snacking that totally made me gain 50 lbs. But I found an alternative that helped me fight it off, a gastric bypass alternative. I also found an anti craving which totally helped me so I lost around 43 lbs from using it. I’m able to manage what I eat now, especially my issue with midnight snacks. Problem solved but I will surely note this down just in case. ty!

  2. Mimi

    Brushing my teeth after dinner used to be the best way to prevent snacking afterwards but whenever there is snack readily available and whenever a family member brings home desserts after dinner I could not resist. That anti-craving from roca labs sounds interesting. I’ll research more about it.

  3. Penny

    I take a niacin pill and it makes me flush. It also causes me to completely lose my appetite.

  4. Gregory Brawn

    I really have to agree with the tip to brush your teeth. I only drink water in the evening so it makes it really easy to brush my teeth and not want to eat anything additional. I also like the idea of finding something to do to replace the snack.

  5. Jeff

    I like to eat a big meal for dinner that will hold me over until the next morning. If I do get hungry, I like a protein shake. I use premier protein shakes from Sam’s Club. They are about a buck and have 160 calories and 30g of protein so it really takes the edge off so I can go to sleep. My diet is not the most conventional but I am losing a ton of weight eating the foods I love!!

    • Jim F.

      Is this a shill for Sam’s Club?

  6. O.

    I can’t sleep on an empty stomach. But I try to eat fruit, drink skim milk, stuff like that before bed.

  7. Jim

    This is as much about lifestyle habits than about diet. Often poor sleep patterns can lead to hunger which then leads to eating at night.

  8. Spectra

    I drink decaf herbal tea and then I brush my teeth. It helps me fall asleep and I never feel like eating after I brush.

  9. Stan Starsky

    I think your best tip is brushing your teeth…It would seem to me that it is better not too eat before going to bed…However, I was flipping through the channels and Dr. Oz was on TV recommending a small nut snack just before you go to bed.

    • Jim

      Leave a jar of peanut butter next to the bed?