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Late Night Snacking Myths and Tips

By Staci Amend
November 19, 2014

In recent years, the popularity of the “close the kitchen at 8” trend suggested that the later you eat dinner or a snack, the more likely you are to gain weight. But many nutritionists agree that calories are calories, no matter what time of day they’re consumed. So why does late-night snacking get such a bad rap? It actually has more to do with the reasons you might be eating than the eating itself. Here are few things that can trigger late-night hunger or cravings—along with ways to address them.

You didn’t eat enough during the day.
If you find yourself feeling hungry later at night, this could be a sign that you haven’t consumed enough calories during the day—or that you haven’t efficiently spaced out your meals. Jenny Craig weight loss programs are designed to help you distribute your calorie intake evenly over the course of the day, using healthy snacks and free foods to “fill in the blanks” so you don’t ever feel like you’re starving. If you’re experiencing this, make sure you’re using Fresh & Free Additions or talk to your consultant about how to manage.

You’re eating mindlessly.
As we all know, food has a strong emotional component—and most of us associate eating with certain activities, especially tailgating and television! If you’re engrossed in your favorite show, it can be easy to keep dipping into that bag of potato chips without even realizing it… and before you know it, the credits are rolling and half the bag is gone! If you find yourself in front of the TV, try sipping a cup of decaf tea, instead. You’ll probably find you were eating out of habit rather than hunger.

You’ve got a sweet tooth.
We get it…and we also understand that the sweet tooth often strikes at night. If you already know that this is an issue for you, don’t eat your Jenny Craig dessert or snack right after dinner—save it for when it can do the most good! Whether you’re a sweet (Red Velvet Cupcake, anyone?) or salty (hello, (Cheese Curls) snacker, there’s a Jenny Craig snack or dessert for you!

You’ve been out with friends.
Does this sound familiar? You were SO good all day, then you went for drinks with friends… which turned into dinner… with more drinks… and now you’re home, and everything in the pantry looks good. In addition to being loaded with sugar and calories, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, while increasing cravings for salty and greasy foods. If you’re following any weight loss program, it’s best to limit your intake to one glass, and always drink it with your dinner.

Remember, it’s not necessarily bad to have a late-night snack, if it’s a planned, healthy one. Just keep this important fact in mind: if you’re eating an unplanned 200-calorie snack every day, you’re consuming an extra 1,400 calories per week—a full day’s worth of extra food! So plan wisely and eat well to stay on track.

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