Keep yourself from going overboard at the end of the day with this plan from general surgeon of the Florida Hospital Medical Group and heartburn expert Dr. James Rosser.
Step 1: Ask Yourself: "Is My Hunger Coming from Above or Below the Neck?"
Most nighttime eaters know that even after eating a full meal, it's easy to still feel hungry. Chances are this isn't physical hunger, it's emotional. You can tell you're experiencing emotional hunger if it comes on suddenly (as physical hunger is gradual) and if you are craving specific comfort foods. When emotional hunger strikes, feed it with BAN - bananas, applesauce and nuts. Make sure to eat these in progression, not all at once. Start with the banana, cutting it up into small pieces to satisfy that snacking hand motion. Once you're done, wait five minutes before moving on to the applesauce. If you're still hungry, eat the applesauce next to mimic that sweet and creamy consistency ice cream gives us. Five minutes after that if you're still hungry, move on to the nuts to get your salt fix.
Step 2: Occupy Your Mind and Hands
Try to distract yourself with an alternative activity, other than eating. Do something that works both the mind and your hands, like knitting or a crossword puzzle while you listen to music or watch TV.
Step 3: Brush Your Teeth
That clean-mouth feeling is a great deterrent to keep you from mindlessly snacking. Toothpaste or mouthwash changes the flavor of food, so that piece of cheese or chocolate won't taste as good after. Just be careful if you have heartburn, as mint is a trigger for it. If you do, choose a different flavor of toothpaste.
Step 4: Pick Your Poison
If all else fails and you still have a craving for something specific, pick just one thing you are craving. Whether it's ice cream, some salty chips or candy, have one single serving of it and be done.