Nighttime Overeating: The Worst Time to Overeat (cont.)

3. If you've gotten into the habit of eating in front of the television, vow to eat only in the kitchen and only drink no-calorie beverages while watching TV. Or limit your TV eating to fruits and vegetables. Occupy your hands in other ways -- ride a stationary bike, do exercises with an exercise ball, take up knitting, pay bills, or write notes to friends.

4. Because evening meals and snacks tend to be the highest in fat, it's especially important to make healthy food choices at this time. Go for foods that are rich in nutrients, high in fiber, and balanced with some lean protein and a little bit of "better" fat (like olive or canola oil, avocado, or nuts).

5. Though you don't want to eat too many calories at dinner, for some people, a small dinner could lead to a late-night snacking tailspin. Eat a balanced, high-fiber dinner. If you get hungry later, enjoy a smart and satisfying evening snack like low-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of whole-grain cereal, fruit with a few slices of cheese, or whole-grain cereal with milk.

6. Have a balanced, higher-fiber lunch and afternoon snack to help avoid overeating at dinner.

7. Don't skip breakfast. "When people skip breakfast, they end up eating more calories by the end of the day, and we know that they end up compensating for this skipped meal with high-sugar, high-fat foods," explains Bowman.

8. People who eat small, frequent meals tend to eat fewer total calories and fat grams than those who eat larger meals less often. Try eating small, frequent meals to see if it improves the way you eat and feel.

9. If you're in the habit of finishing your day with dessert, try having a mini-portion. The first few bites of a food always taste the best, anyway. Experts say a petite portion is more likely to satisfy if you choose a dessert you truly enjoy, take your time and savor every bite, and accompany your treat with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

Published Tuesday, December 13, 2005.


SOURCES: The Journal of Nutrition, January 2004. Physiology & Behavior, 1987, vol 40. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, December 1994. Body Mass Index New Research, 2005. Shanthy Bowman, PhD, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. John M. de Castro, PhD, chairman, department of psychology, University of Texas, El Paso. Edward Saltzman, MD, energy metabolism scientist, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston.

©2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 12/13/2005


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