7 Ways to Fight Late-Night Cravings
by Dr. Mike Israetel, Co-founder and Chief Sport Scientist |
Jan 23, 2023
Seven ways to fight late-night cravings
Let’s be honest—lots of people cheat on their diets. Even those with strong willpower can sometimes succumb to the extreme hunger pangs of very low-calorie diets. And while hunger can strike at any time, most people experience their worst hunger in the evening, often when relaxing at home.
Binge on your late-night TV shows, not your food!
Is evening hunger just something everyone who wants to get lean must deal with? To a certain extent, yes. (Sorry!) The good news is we can drastically reduce the likelihood of the midnight munchies striking by following the science of diet design.
Here are our top 7 tips to curb night-time snacking:
- Eat more chicken. Well, not necessarily chicken, but eating more protein will fill you up and keep you fuller longer. We recommend the optimal protein for body composition dieting at 1g-1.5g of protein per pound of body weight per day. If you need more, try eating more! Make sure to decrease your fats and carbs accordingly with any protein increase to keep your daily calories in check.
- Learn to love veggies. Not only are greens and other low-calorie veggies full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber—they are also incredibly filling! Try eating 2 to 3 cups of veggies with each meal to stave off those late-night cravings.
Like fruit? Eat it! Trade your bread and grains for more fruit. You get way more “bang for your carb buck” that way, and you can feed your sweet tooth without blowing your diet simultaneously!
- Move your macros. If you tend to feel hungrier at night, eat bigger meals in the evening. Keep your morning and afternoon meals to mostly protein and veggies and save more of your daily fats and carbs after meals (“mmm peanut butter toast…”).
As usual, the total daily calories still shouldn’t change. Moving your macros between meals is one of the most popular features in the newest version of our diet app!
- Enjoy a second dinner. You can eat bigger meals in the evening and space your evening meals closer together to get more food in a shorter time.
If you usually space your meals ~4 hours apart, try eating your morning meals ~6 hours apart and your evening meals ~2 hours apart. Second (or third!) dinner never tasted so good.
- Forget flavor. It sounds counterintuitive, but science shows that eating delicious food can make you crave more delicious food! On the flip side, when we eat less tasty food, we crave those less (who craves egg whites?).
Does this mean that you have to eat bland food during your diet? No. But try to decrease the tasty sauces, spices, and cheeses. The more you struggle with hunger, the blander your average meal should get.
- Skip the shake. Drinking your meals is a much easier way of consuming calories than eating them, BUT this can also be less satisfying than eating solid foods. If your hunger is bad enough, decrease or completely cut out your shakes and chew your food instead.
You lose some effect of the diet when you remove whey and glycemic carbs post-workout and casein at night, but it may be worth the overall trade-off to stay consistent!
- Wave the workout window. If you work out in the morning or afternoon, your best performance and body composition will likely result from eating most of your daily carbs before and after your workout. While effective, this strategy can lead to a lower-calorie meal in the evening, just when those munchies strike.
Consuming fewer carbs in the workout window might cost you ~ 5% missed potential for fat loss and muscle retention; however, if your overall diet motivation increases, it’s worth it!
Successfully Stop Snacking
Use any of these tips or combine them (who’s up for a second dinner of several cups of raw broccoli, egg whites, bland grilled chicken, and oatmeal, hmmm??) to decrease hunger pangs and reduce the chance of midnight snacking.
Successfully staving off evening hunger can help you fall asleep more easily, recover from your workouts faster, stay more consistent on your diet, and ultimately get you to your fitness goals.
If you need help setting up your own diet and crushing your goals, then check out our RP Diet App.