Try these tricks to stop nighttime snacking and improve your health

Many of us can't resist the urge of nighttime snacking, but Consumer Reports warns that snacks before bed can be bad for your health. Here are the benefits of skipping that midnight meal.

Be honest -- Are you a night-time snacker? Whether it’s a cookie, some pretzels, ice cream, or a piece of fruit, most of us nibble at night. But Consumer Reports warns snacks before bed can be bad for your health.

Studies suggest that nighttime eating can lead to higher cholesterol and blood glucose levels, as well as weight gain.

“It was hard for me to stop snacking, um mentally I had to teach myself, that no, you know once you’re done with dinner and then you’re done. You’re out of the kitchen, you clean the kitchen and get out of the kitchen there’s no need for you to be in there,” said Rosemary Silva.

Silva lost nearly 75 pounds and says she feels better than she has in 20 years. She kept full by eating healthy meals during the day and replaced nighttime snacks with water.

“Our bodies do certain things better at different times of the day. Like in the morning, it does a better job controlling blood sugar after a meal than it would later in the day,” explained Consumer Reports Nutritionist Amy Keating.

A recent study indicates that people who eat an early-morning breakfast have better blood sugar control, which could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And getting a majority of your calories during the day should help you stave off nighttime snacking.

If you find yourself standing in front of the fridge, Consumer Reports has some simple tricks to ease yourself away from evening eating.

Stay aware of your nighttime nibbling by keeping a food journal. Keeping a log of what you eat can be an effective tool to help you lose weight and alter your behavior.

“A lack of sleep has been linked to overeating. Going to bed an hour earlier means you’ll have more time to sleep, and less time to snack,” Keating said.

Also, a higher-protein diet has been linked to reduced hunger. Keep full with small servings of chicken, fish, or legumes, with colorful veggies for meals and protein-filled snacks like yogurt or nuts.

Another trick: Keep your hands busy. Playing cards, folding laundry while you watch TV, or doing a puzzle at night can help keep you from snacking.

Consumer Reports says if you have the urge to snack, do it mindfully by sitting at a table and using a fork or spoon. You’ll be less likely to overeat than if you just grabbed something straight out of a bag.