Get Well

Ask NEPA: Late Night Cravings

by Kim Liu, NEPA

late night eating

(Courtesy from

What can you do to keep late night snacking at bay?

It’s 10:00 p.m., you’re studying at the library and you innocently pass by the café and realize that you don’t want, but need, that chocolate croissant. You rationalize it with the fact that since you skipped dinner, this will be your dinner for the day. Also, it turns out that it’s buy one, get one free. Score! Later, you head home and think that you’re going to bed, but somehow you get suckered into ordering wings with your roommate at 2 in the morning. What happened to eating during the day?

It’s a fact that you’re a busy college student. Between homework, classes, and studying, it is easy to forego breakfast and sometimes even dinner, which often ends up as late night snacking. Keep in mind that metabolism is slower at night. There is nothing wrong with late night snacking once in a while, but when it develops into a consistent pattern of sodas and takeout, it may lead to weight gain…or worse, the freshman 15. To keep late night snacking at bay, keep these tips in mind to keep you fit and energized.

Do try to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast tells your body that its time to get ready for the day. Great options include oatmeal with fried fruit, a fruit salad, toast with peanut butter, or simply cereal with milk. When you’re on the go, keep a container yogurt or apple on hand so that you’re prepared with a bite to eat when you find the time. Eating breakfast will help you to stay full throughout the day to keep late night cravings away.

Don’t skip meals. It does your body no good when you don’t have enough energy to go about your day. Eating small meals regularly will help keep your metabolism going. If you don’t have time to eat, grab a container to go, fill it up and leave it in the fridge for later.

Do plan ahead. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Keep small bags of cut-up veggies, nuts or fruit to avoid trips to the vending machine. Snacking will also help keep you satiated when you don’t have time for lunch between classes. If you’re planning on having dessert, have a lighter lunch to compensate. When you had dinner at 4:00 p.m., its no wonder that you’re famished by 10 at night.

Don’t be around food when you’re not hungry. I don’t know how many times this has happened to you, but it’s surely happened to me. I’ll go with my friends to Marshall thinking that since I’ve already had dinner, I won’t get anything to eat. Little do I realize, but I’m already salivating at the first waft of fresh double chocolate chip brownie. We can’t control it, but food is a stimulus whether or not you’re hungry. The sight, smell and even just the thought of food is enough to get you hungry, it’s just how our bodies work. So you have 3 choices, stay strong, give in, or avoid it.

Do get enough sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to unhealthy eating choices and unhealthy eating patterns. Those without good night of sleep are more likely to crave foods higher in fats and sugar.

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