It’s common knowledge that late-night chowing is an unfortunate reality for college students (ahem, that freshman fifteen). Strangely enough, food somehow seems to taste so much better in the middle of the night. Anything from chips and ice cream to chocolate and ramen at night is immediately satisfying but undeniably guilt-inducing, especially when you wake up feeling heavy and gross in the morning. The following tips, however, can help curb the gluttonous, after-dinner snacking.
1. Brush your teeth.
This tried-and-true method is extremely effective. Brushing your teeth right after dinner not only makes you feel clean and fresh, but it also lets your brain know that you are done eating for the night. Plus, let’s be honest. Chocolate tastes a little funny after you brush your teeth, and no one wants to brush their teeth for a second time in one night (alas, the laziness factor kicks in).
2. Eat a satisfying dinner.
If you eat at 5:00 p.m. and know that you’ll be up until one in the morning, make sure you really fill yourself up at dinnertime. Don’t only chow down on carbs, but also load up on veggies and fruit, which are high in fiber and will make you feel full long into the night. If you eat a satisfying meal for dinner, chances are you’ll feel less of an urge to eat later on.
3. Eat breakfast.
You might be thinking, ‘What does breakfast have to do with late-night eating?’ The answer: a lot more than you think. If you skip breakfast, it’s a lot easier to fall into the trap of “making up” for it throughout the day by eating, say, another cupcake or a second helping of fries at lunch. This mindset can carry on past dinnertime, leading you to nosh at night and then skip breakfast again the next day because you’re not hungry when you wake up. Escape this vicious cycle simply by eating a healthy and filling breakfast every day.
4. Reward yourself later.
I read about this technique in a magazine a while ago, and it applies perfectly to chowing down at night. Come up with your own “reward system,” such as going out to dessert with a friend on the weekend if you keep yourself from night-snacking during the week. Better yet, recruit a friend to take on the challenge with you. That way, you can keep each other accountable and share the rewards at the end (hello, ginormous ice cream sundae).
5. Give yourself a break (sometimes).
Let’s be honest: we’re all going to fail at one time or another. When you feel that insatiable desire for a bowl of ramen, let yourself enjoy it every once in a while. It’s better to indulge periodically and reasonably than to cave in one day and gorge on everything in sight. You know what they say: everything in moderation.