8 Reasons You’re Snacking At Night…And 8 Solutions

Imagine this, you’re focused on your goals, determined to reach them. You’re so good all day long but then, as soon as the full moon rises, the beast within you is unleashed… 
Suddenly, you’re doing it again: snacking at night.
You wolf down treats.
Double portions.
And snack until your jaw gets tired. Only then, as you lick the Cheeto dust off your fingers with melted chocolate outlining your mouth, do you realize the monster that you’ve become. 
You’ve just had a Late Night “Snaccident.”
Has this ever happened to you? 
I’m sure you’ve seen info graphics that suggest beating snacking at night with some carrots or a cup of tea. And yeah, that might work. But more importantly, shouldn’t we address the CAUSE rather than the SYMPTOMS? 
Today I want to share with you 8 reasons you’re snacking at night. 


1. You skipped meals.

Maybe you’re intentionally trying to create a calorie deficit to lose weight or maybe you just got too busy and missed a meal (or two!) but either way, if you ate less than you should have during the day, or reduced the volume of food during the day,  you might feel a pull to eat more at night. 


Ensure you’re eating

balanced meals at regular intervals

throughout your day. At the very least have lean protein on hand (canned tuna, yogurt, jerky, etc), fiber-rich carbs within reach (fruit, crackers, etc), and some healthy fats nearby (nuts, nut butters, chocolate, etc) so you can create a balanced snack/ mini-meal if you find yourself in a pinch. 

If you’re creating a calorie deficit to lose weight, do so responsibly and make sure you’re reducing your overall calorie intake no more than 10-15% at a time.  


2. The Balance is off.

Playing off issue #1, because these often go hand-in-hand. Even if you’re eating enough calories, if the macro balance (where those calories come from) is out of whack, you’re going to be starving.
You need a balance of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber.  Grabbing 500 calories worth of skittles as “lunch” will not keep you fueled, focused, and fighting through your day the same way a sandwich, wrap, or salad complete with protein, fats, carbs, and fiber will. 


Have macro-oriented snacks on hand for when you’re in a pinch OR think like a Boy Scout and always be prepared. A bit of prep-work at the beginning of the week (or day) can go a long way. You don’t need to live out of Tupperware, but keeping foods that are aligned with your macro nears at the top of your grocery list and prepped in bulk make your life easier overall.  The Nighttime Munchie Monster won’t make an appearance and start you snacking at night again if you feel full and satiated during the day. 


3. You’re restricting.

This is the time of year when people do silly things like “sugar cleanses” and give up their favorite treats and sweets for an extended period of time. But the ugly truth? We’re all still toddlers at heart. Tell us we can’t have something and we just want it all the more. When we restrict our favorite foods we put them on a pedestal. They become all we think about, all we dream about, and then like any forbidden love… when you can steal a moment away in a secret garden together, all your inhibitions disappear (Yes, I watched Bridgerton and I LOVED IT!) and before you know it you’ve ruined your honor and you’re elbow deep in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. 


Give yourself permission to eat the foods you enjoy, eat those foods in moderation and in good company. 

In fact, here’s a recent IG Post I made on how to include a Snicker’s candy bar (or any candy!) into your daily routine

snacking at night can fit into your macros!


4. You’re in your feels…

I get it. But this is a slippery slope, food will only fill the hole in your belly, never a hole in your heart. If you feel out of control in your life you’ll likely feel out of control in the kitchen. 9 times out of 10 when I work with a new client who is a self-proclaimed “sugar addict,” they’re actually just a human who’s in an emotionally trying point in their life and is using the ‘feel good’ kickback from the perfect scientifically derived hyper palatability that can be found in our favorite most “addictive” foods.* 


Address your feelings. Sit in the discomfort of feeling sad, anxious, frustrated, etc. Talk to a friend or a professional. Incorporate other ways of getting a serotonin boost– listening to upbeat music, playing with an animal, going for a walk, etc. I’m not saying don’t use delicious foods to bring you joy and happiness, experiencing amazing food is one of the best parts of existing on this planet but don’t let food be a place holder for a deeper emotional need. 


If hunger isn’t the issue, food isn’t the cure. 

mindfulness to address emotional eating

*Short tangent  before  we  continue

 No food, in itself, has been found to be ‘addictive’  this study confirms. Not even sugar. 

“To define addiction, we turn to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), in which criteria for substance dependence are defined. Sweet and fatty foods are not considered “substances” in the classical sense. Substances are typically interpreted as drugs of abuse such as cocaine, ethanol, heroin, etc.”  –Corwin RL, Grigson PS. Symposium overview–Food addiction: fact or fiction?. J Nutr. 2009;139(3):617-619. doi:10.3945/jn.108.097691

So let’s please stop misusing and misrepresenting “addiction.” 


5. You’re literally tired…

You’re trying to stay up because no reasonable person goes to bed at 9pm, right? But your body is exhausted physically, mentally, or emotionally from the day. So your body demands more energy intake in order to continue to output energy as you what…watch TV? Scroll through Instagram? FaceTime as your bestie does a face mask? C’mon now… there are no rules any more! 


GO TO BED. Give your body the rest is needs and deserves. Late night “cravings” and “munchies” can disappear *literally* over night when you consistently get an extra few hours of quality sleep.



6. It’s that time of month…

If you get a monthly cycle, there’s a good chance for 3-7 days you’re going to not just crave more calorically dense foods, you’re actually going to NEED more calories during menstruation. In fact, a 2015 study found that not only does your RMR change in accordance with where you are in your cycle but that increased appetite directly correlates with menstruation.


Honor the INSANE process your body is going through and have the snack. 

7. You’re workin’ it.

A hard workout or busy day means you likely burnt more energy than normal. If you’re trying to maintain or increase bodyweight, adding in snacks will actually be beneficial and, in fact, having a higher carb meal or snacking at night before bed can improve sleep quality and expedite muscle growth and recovery. However, if you’re trying to lose body fat and killing yourself with hard workouts… “eating back” your burned calories is a fine line to walk. 


Ditch your Fitbit or whichever device is telling you how many calories you burned that day or in that exercise session. Unless you’re in a lab and strapped into an O2 monitor it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate reading of calories burned. Your best bet? Instead of counting the calories you burn, focus on the calories you intake. Make sure you eat enough to promote recovery and fuel you’re next workout. If you’re focused on fat loss, balanced and equally spaced meals within a moderate calorie deficit  are the answer. (And don’t forget to fit your favorite foods into the plan!). This will prevent “over doing it” when you’re snacking at night.


8. Something delicious is waiting.

I don’t know who needs to hear this… but you’re allowed to eat treats. You’re allowed to enjoy treats. You’re allow to want to change your body and still enjoy food and your life. But it’s up to you to determine when one moment of joy (or gratification) is more important than your overall goal. And there WILL be times when having a cupcake or a margarita is more important hitting your macros that day.


Establish a WHY for yourself. Why do my goals matter to me? Is this moment more important than my goals. If so, why? Why am I okay with that right now? It’s not about earning your food or late night snacks, it’s about honoring your body, your hard work and effort, and creating a relationship where food isn’t an enemy or an idol, but a part of life that is important to you and makes your life better. Only you can decide that. 
Do any of these reasons for snacking at night resonate with you? Did I miss anything? Comment below with your thoughts and feels!
Xox Am

PS interested in building a stronger body and better relationship with food? Want to finally put the Midnight Munchie Monster to rest?>>CLICK HERE<<  to apply for our 1:1 Coaching Program where you’ll get individualized programming and support. 

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