3 Ways to Stop Eating So Much at Night

Woman looking in the fridge in the evening

Vico Collective / Alin Dragulin / Blend Images / Getty Images

You stick to your plan all day and eat healthy well-balanced meals. Then, the evening comes and you find yourself making repeated trips to the refrigerator or pantry to eat food that you don't really need.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Nighttime snacking is a struggle for many people who are trying to lose weight. If you need help cutting back on after-dinner calories, use these tips to stop eating so much at night.

Why Do I Eat at Night?

You're normal if you like to snack and graze after eating dinner. But if you are trying to lose weight, the calories you consume from snacks in the evening could easily undo a day's worth of smart food choices. The first step to eating less is to find out why you eat when you don't need to.

For most of us, the reason we overeat is related to the fact that we are less busy at night and we are near food. We like to relax and enjoy more leisurely activities, and food is a common source of comfort. Without the distraction of work or other daytime activities, it's easy to grab nearby snacks. If you can find other ways to unwind, then you'll be likely to eat less at night.

How to Stop Eating After Dinner

The best way to curb your nighttime eating behavior for good is to use short-term strategies to break the habit. If you can replace snacking with a healthier habit, then you won't feel the urge to overeat in the evening. Use one of these tips (or all three) to change your nighttime snack habit.

Move Away From the Food

You're more likely to eat too much at night if you are always around food. As soon as you finish dinner, leave the kitchen. This might mean that you postpone clean-up tasks so that you aren't tempted to eat leftovers. Or better yet, delegate the job to someone in your house who isn't looking to lose weight. 

Another great way to get away from food is to go for a walk after dinner. Even if your walk is just 15 to 20 minutes long, physical activity helps to break up the eating momentum. It also gives your body a chance to feel the sensation of fullness, so the urge to eat is less strong.

Use a "Meal-Ender" to Curb Your Appetite

Some people use mint-flavored gum to diminish the desire to eat after dinner. Most of us don't like the taste of food when we have a mint flavor in our mouths. Brushing your teeth after dinner provides this same benefit—along with a dental health bonus. 

You can also try using MealEnders. These small candies claim to reset your taste buds so that you don't feel the urge to eat. MealEnders contain no stimulants and are regulated as a food product, so they have to follow the strict guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration (unlike many diet and weight loss supplements).

Be a Smart TV Watcher

Many people eat too much at night because they snack mindlessly in front of the television. Some researchers even believe that action shows tend to make us eat more food. Regardless of your show preference, however, you can create healthy eating habits in front of the television to eat less and lose weight.

One great way to eat less is to keep your hands active. Fold laundry or do other simple chores while you watch TV. Learn a craft. If you really want to eat, use smart and healthy snacking strategies. Also, make sure you follow good portion control guidelines if you choose to snack while watching TV.

A Word From Verywell

Remember, snacking isn't bad for you. But eating when you're not hungry is never a good plan. Learn to eat a healthy dinner and then create habits to stop eating so much at night. You'll reach your goal weight faster and keep your weight off for good.


Was this page helpful?