July-August 2013 | LATE-NIGHT FIGHTS




Don’t let late-night hunger get the better of you. Follow Mark Miller’s tips to knock out those cravings.

Written By: Mark Miller | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

Do the fridge, freezer and pantry call your name even though you already had a big dinner? Many of us snack at night, but do we do it because we are hungry? The desire to eat after dinner and late at night is a problem many people face as they watch TV, surf the Web or relax after a long workday. It certainly doesn’t help that late-night snacking usually means reaching for the high-fat, high-calorie snack foods you had successfully avoided during daylight hours. If you’re trying to lose weight, or just maintain it, late-night snacking is a major no-no. Our metabolisms are supposed to slow down during the evening so that our bodies can rest. Food consumed after normal meal times can’t be processed as efficiently because our bodies aren’t as active, and what energy we do have — which is supposed to be used to rest and recover — is spent on digesting that food instead. When that midnight snack is not properly processed, results can include stomach cramps, bloating and, ultimately, weight gain. Here are five simple tips to improve your late-night eating habits. 

Avoid late-night sweets
Sugary snacks perpetuate sweet cravings. Eat some lean protein instead because it digests slowly, so you’ll stay satisfied longer. Turkey is a great choice because it contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid shown to promote sleepiness.

Eat light at night
I tell my clients to start with a hearty breakfast followed by a satisfying lunch, a healthy snack and then end the day with a light and filling meal consisting of lean protein like fish or poultry and vegetables.

Fill up on fiber and protein
This combo fills you up without loading you up on fat and calories. Think veggies dipped in fat-free dressing, Greek yogurt topped with raspberries, half an apple with peanut butter or whole-grain crackers with low-fat string cheese.

Stop eating three hours before bedtime
Forget the ideal “I never eat after 7 p.m.” Every individual’s schedule is different and not everyone has the luxury, ability or desire to be in bed by 10 p.m. But by giving your body three hours to digest your dinner, the remaining energy can be spent on rest so that you can wake up energized the next day.

Indulge healthier
If your late-night weakness is ice cream, say no to the full-fat kind, and say YES to a cool, creamy sugar-free pop. Opt out of deep-fried chips and get your salty crunch fix with baked whole-wheat pita chips you make yourself.

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