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BBECKYY SparkPoints: (73)
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Posts: 4
10/15/13 1:45 P

Love all the helpful advice. I have a similar problem, working late 2 nights per week. If I don't eat something around 5-6pm, I really cannot think. Must be a bit of low blood sugar. But no matter how big or small my pm snack is, when I get home, dh has cooked a delicious meal, and I will eat full portions.

For me, a substantial snack in the later afternoon/early evening works. As others suggested, an apple, a cheese stick, or some nuts. And asking dh to just save me a plate of food, not leave dinner out for me to fix my own plate. Sounds dumb, but once I am that hungry and tired, I do not have good self control!

I started SparkPeople yesterday, because just trying to eat healthier does not work. I need some accountability!

LADYBG07 Posts: 11
10/15/13 11:12 A


I have the exact same issue. I teach dance classes at night or have rehearsal or something almost 5 days a week. On those days I am out until around 9:30. When I get home I am usually ravenous for anything I can get my hands on. I find that sometimes a cup of herbal tea and maybe that dessert left for the end of the day make me completely satisfied. That and I try to just stay out of the kitchen!!! It might also help to post a picture on the things you gravitate to. The picture can be what you are working for or maybe a picture of the old unhealthy you. Some of my older pictures are enough to keep me away from the ice cream hidden in the fridge!

HEALTHY-SPARK SparkPoints: (43,082)
Fitness Minutes: (49,983)
Posts: 1,073
10/15/13 11:00 A

I agree with what someone said earlier about the idea of emotional eating being maybe part of the problem. You might think about changing up your routine when you get home to relax after a long day of work, to dissociate the 'relaxation' part from the 'eating part'.

You might try saving something like an apple to eat before you go home, so that when you get home you aren't starving, and then try to find something else you can do to relax. Take a hot shower, go for a walk, do some stretching to relaxing music. etc etc.

KIMPARKER3 SparkPoints: (67,663)
Fitness Minutes: (49,815)
Posts: 880
10/15/13 6:25 A

Your body is probably not hungry but tired. As a result you reach for food, sugar, etc. to give you that pick me up. That always happens to me a night when I have a late workshop to give. I come home tired and reach for the easiest thing to eat while I plop in front of the tv. My solution is to be aware that it is more exhaustion than hunger. On nights I work late, I try to have a salad or carrot sticks and dip ready in the fridge to munch on. It fills me up and I don't reach for fattening late night snacks. Hope it helps.

10/14/13 3:16 P


CZERBE78 SparkPoints: (5,433)
Fitness Minutes: (1,574)
Posts: 52
10/14/13 2:27 P

I find I get the worst case of night time hungry horrors if I don't 1. Eat breakfast, and 2. have enough protein in my day. When those two points are missing out of my day, I am starving by like 8pm, and if it is not nailed down it is in trouble.

FGESCHWI Posts: 56
10/14/13 10:45 A

Hey Guys,
Thanks again for this huge amount of support! You guys rock!
I have tried the veggie snack route, as well as waiting with my dinner until class almost starts. I have also used your advice to have a snack when I come. Popcorn seems to work well so far since it has some crunch, and a little salt. :)

I haven't tried the little exercise, but it sounds like a good Idea to do something slow, to calm down.

Thanks again you guys! If I stay persistent, stick with the healthy tips you all gave me, and turn them into habits, I believe that this is a manageable problem :)

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

LADYCJM SparkPoints: (57,456)
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
Posts: 2,545
10/13/13 5:14 P

Is the late class messing with your exercise routine? You might decrease your stress and your appetite with some light exercise after class.

DELLA81156 Posts: 201
10/13/13 7:37 A

It is difficult to have enough calories at the end of day... emoticon emoticon

FEED_ME_SHOES SparkPoints: (112,942)
Fitness Minutes: (22,545)
Posts: 1,342
10/13/13 12:23 A

If its legitimate hunger and you don't have many calories to spare at the end of the day try having something high in protein low in calories such as some cottage cheese, an egg white omelette, a protein shake. Good luck trying to find something that works for you!

REBS209 Posts: 10
10/12/13 2:53 P

I know exactly what you're talking about! I have class from 7:30-10:15 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and it totally derailed me for the first month of the semester! What works for me is to take a protein bar (not one that is high in calories), and some fruit or veggies. I eat those while I'm in class, then I still have enough calories left when I get home to eat something substantial and healthy. That way I don't go over my calorie allotment, and I don't feel like I'm going to bed starving.

DANAEBOYCE1 SparkPoints: (16,145)
Fitness Minutes: (15,152)
Posts: 224
10/9/13 2:35 P

spaghetti squash with shrimp and pesto. you can have a whole plate for not very many calories and its easy

10/9/13 7:53 A

So what I like to do in this situation - because usually I like to eat heartier or at least hot food at that time of day - is eat 2 *light* dinners. For example, the quickest (i.e. no extra prep or planning required) for me to do this is to take my normal dinner serving size and split it in half and then I have half early in the evening and half later in the evening. Some things this isn't as easy to do with because the food isn't going to stay palatable (eg I love veggie burgers but I think that they get too chewy if they sit for a long time after cooking)...on those days I do what others have suggested in terms of eating a much lighter snack when I get home (instead of trying to split the dinner). It is an ongoing experiment for me to see which foods work and which don't.

GLORIAMAJDI Posts: 5,670
10/8/13 9:33 A

Many others have suggested this already, but perhaps a light snack when you get home would suffice. You might need to cut back a tiny bit through the day to accommodate the calories, but it might leave your more satisfied over all. Perhaps have a small bit of fruit, or a half a cup of cereal with a little milk when you get home. I eat six or seven times a day, tiny meals, and I always end my day with something very light that has a bit of protein, carbs and not too much fat (which is harder to digest so can impair sleep).

BUNNYLAMB SparkPoints: (52,562)
Fitness Minutes: (35,798)
Posts: 555
10/8/13 8:51 A

I have long 15-hour days 3x a week and I also find that having a specific healthy-ish snack in mind for when I get home helps me. Usually for me it's a bowl of Special K, and english muffin, or popcorn, kind of a treat but not too hard on the calories. If I've really been planning ahead then I'll have some leftover boiled eggs or baked sweet potatoes in the fridge, but personally I am too hungry to bother preparing something like that after I get home. This way, when I'm busy in the evening or on my way home, I have something specific to think about eating rather than "what's in the fridge?" or, worse, "what can I pick up on my way?"

Having a hot herbal tea to sip throughout class used to help me too, so I wouldn't be daydreaming about food during lecture so much :)

10/7/13 11:55 P

Do you happen to have a student lounge with a microwave? That way you can bring heartier food.

Otherwise, eggs help for me and other protein like beef jerky.

SERENE-BEAN Posts: 1,413
10/7/13 11:10 P

Raw veggies, already cut up, would be my go-to.

SKABELS2 Posts: 77
10/7/13 1:53 P

When I have days like this (a lot!!!), I usually try to remove one item from each meal plan and save it for another time of day (dairy and fruits are the easiest). I also try to pick the most satiating/biggest option for each (yogurt instead of skim milk, lettuce instead of tomatoes, etc) so I can get the most volume and heartiness for my calories. I also try to eat a half portion of a main entree and save the rest for a snack. I like the idea of breaking meals into smaller, more frequent meals.

ELSELTZ SparkPoints: (2,833)
Fitness Minutes: (3,538)
Posts: 49
10/7/13 11:38 A

Maybe you need to look at your overall calorie intake for the day, not just before/after class.

I find I feel sustained and not depleted, when I have protein & fat at breakfast (like eggs or cheese), and 3/4 of my daily calories before 5pm.

If I have too much of my calories allocated to dinner, then I am not just calorically depleted, but nutritionally depleted, by dinnertime. I find that when I am "medicating my hunger" with too-small portions or not enough fat/protien during the day, I rebound at the evening meal and can't stay on plan.

Your best times might be different on different days.

So for me, it's not just the day's totals but when I eat them that makes a big difference.

COOLHANDJOE SparkPoints: (30,067)
Fitness Minutes: (8,666)
Posts: 184
10/7/13 7:46 A

Other than emotional eating which I think might be a factor you have to remember that being in class burns more calories than doing nothing. I couldn't find it in the SparkPeople fitness tracker but a 150 pound person in a class burns 122 calories per hour according to the site but you can find similar calculations if you google calories burned in class. The site is
That means that if you have a three hour class you will have burned an additional 366 calories that evening so you may not be going over at all.
Fitday has the number down around 50 calories so I'm sure it's somewhere in between.

Edited by: COOLHANDJOE at: 10/7/2013 (07:50)
HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
Fitness Minutes: (12,388)
Posts: 287
10/6/13 1:30 P

I'm in the same classes are four nights a week. I always make sure to eat my work snack (serving of pretzels, yogurt, apples and peanut butter, etc) around 3 to 3:30 (I used to eat the snack in the morning) and then I always have a granola bar or some mixed nuts or something filling either right before class at 6 or during one of the breaks between or during classes. That way when I get home I don't eat everything in the fridge. I hope this helps you!!!

MISSY_MAGOO Posts: 1,517
10/4/13 12:08 P

I had this issue because I work late (5:00-9:00) and I would end up eating two dinners, one before and one after work. What I found that works for me is just knowing I'm gonna do this and trying to stay as low as possible in the early part of the day.
On days I don't work I'll usually have eggs and toast for breakfast, but on days I work I eat plain oatmeal instead, shaving about 150 calories off breakfast. At lunch I'll use the 45 calorie bread on my sandwich instead of my usual bread, saving about 100 calories for later. Snacks I'll have veggies or fruit instead of a granola bar or nuts... etc. By the end of the day I've saved 300-400 calories for after work

LULUBELLE65 SparkPoints: (36,593)
Fitness Minutes: (27,770)
Posts: 1,139
10/4/13 5:49 A

I frequently have a scrambled egg, or eggbeaters as a late evening meal. It's fast, warm and comforting, and in a nonstick pan or with some Pam, only 60-70 calories. I kind of feel like, yeah, it's emotional eating, but so what? If I can save 100 calories to use then, and it makes me happy, who cares?

10/3/13 7:29 P

My biggest problem as well. I find that if I stick STRICTLY to the daily meals and snacks (hint: go high in calories etc for breakfast) I'm ok not eating after 6pm. But it's darn tough. The last time I fell off the wagon, it was from night eating.

Ask yourself what you want more: slim and trim or late night snacks. It's all in the mind.

SUSANK16 Posts: 2,635
10/3/13 2:56 A

Can I ever relate to this post. I was exactly the same regarding controlling intake, and dinner being the main meal - same scenario exactly. I used to have two meeting a month where I might be at them until 10 to 12 pm. I think that my hunger was due to the additional stress. On most nights, I came home and relaxed and unwound. I have recently started a new class and I am finding the same again, I want to eat when I get home. What worked for me is to make a large bowl of fruit or have a yogurt at the end of the night. Even though it was late, it was a healthy choice. I am not a snack person unless I miss a meal or eat later than normal but incorporating the snack at the end of the evening and keeping in a controlled portion worked.

BLINGQUEEN:O) Posts: 249
10/2/13 11:32 P

You got in touch with a biggie that I can so relate to when you stated,
"I think the part of the emotional eating might be a big factor. Who likes to admit to having a problem, but I think you might actually be on to something there. I will try to watch out for my feelings on those nights to see if that's one of the roots. (which I am sure it is at least part of my problem)..."
That incite will go far. You are doing something that is stressful. A good stress but nonetheless, a stressor. If you are an emotional eater, well, that center of the hunger brain is one in the same.
I think a lot of the suggestions are really good. I would be very aware of how and when I do stress release. Do you eat and relax? Maybe doing some kind of relaxing movement, meditation, a shower, getting onto SparkPeople and typing or just blobbing our in front of a favorite TV show, WITHOUT EATING, to relax. THEN, if you still fell you need to nosh do the "eat an apple" test. If you eat the apple and want more then maybe you do need to tweak the calories. If you don't really want the apple, then there is something else going on.
YOU will discover what works! and let me know! :O)

SADDHU1 SparkPoints: (135,093)
Fitness Minutes: (73,123)
Posts: 194
10/2/13 6:56 P

Maybe the meal you eat at school isn't mentally "registering." By this I mean that perhaps you are engrossed with your school work (as you properly should be) and this meal gets eaten less mindfully than most, therefore your brain asks to repeat the meal when you get home. Perhaps try a light snack suck as an apple with peanut butter to tide you over, instead of eating your meal at school. Save the meal until you get home. If that doesn't work, you could train yourself only to eat between certain hours. For example, I typically eat from Noon - 8 PM. I simply do not eat after 8 PM and after sticking to that for a while, my brain and stomach anticipate that schedule. I hope you find a solutions that works well for you.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,618
10/2/13 1:20 P

I used to eat my dinner before class and bring a small snack with me to class.

FIFIFRIZZLE Posts: 2,148
10/2/13 12:16 P

I exercise two nights a week after work 6-8. When I get home I am tired and if I eat it keeps me awake, and I will eat despite not really being hungry. So on those days I have a good lunch as my main meal and make sure I have an afternoon break. There, or at about five pm I eat some protein such as a hardboiled egg, and make sur e I have a hot drink. This sustains me through exercise. When I get home I have vegetable soup, hot, filling low cal. Sometimes I will go straight to bed after that.
Maybe this strategy will work for you?

QOFHXO SparkPoints: (9,886)
Fitness Minutes: (18,235)
Posts: 72
10/2/13 12:07 P

I dance (club) several nights a week and always get home really late...... :-)
I llike to eat an early dinner so needless to say I am STARVING by the time I get home.
My lunchbag/cooler is my friend!
In it goes a snack (always protein and something crunchy like raw veggies) for the road and then have plain yogurt and fruit when I get home ....that combo keeps me from stopping for chips (or worse) on the way home and later helps me get to sleep.
Usually adds up to less than 400 calories.
I plan for it in my tracker.
Hope that helps in some way.

SANDRAPSKI SparkPoints: (28,461)
Fitness Minutes: (32,502)
Posts: 86
10/2/13 12:01 P

Getting out of class can leave you a bit "rev'd" up - maybe stress or just stimulation. Rather than trying to split what you normally eat (because it sounds like your system is pretty well trained to be hungry for a certain amount of food the rest of the week), perhaps you can squeeze in 2 10-minute walks during the day giving you a few extra calories to play with when you get home.

A low-calorie popsicle, bowl of unbuttered popcorn and diet hot chocolate, or graham cracker and half a glass of warm milk are all light and fast for when you get home and shouldn't keep you awake.

Note: I did not suggest parking furthest away at school - too dark when you get out of class to be trekking that far that late. Yes, a note brought to you by a "mom" (grin).

GIGI-NICOLE SparkPoints: (11,415)
Fitness Minutes: (5,071)
Posts: 293
10/2/13 11:25 A

I have class after work 2 days a week this semester. I have a large snack at work at 4:00 with lots of protein. I get home about 9:40 (class until 9:15) and will either make a veggie and cheese omelet or have a bowl of Kashi for the protein. I go to bed between 11:30 and 12:00 and feel full until the morning. I'd say stop having the chocolate, because that may be leading to cravings. If you're that hungry when you get home, I think protein and fiber will help you.

FLOYDIE40 Posts: 34
10/2/13 10:16 A

Try changing out the chocolate for a cup of diet hot chocolate at the last 20 minutes or so of class (herb tea would be even better). A warm tummy is a happy tummy and a little more ready for bed. You may need a different plan in the summer, but give it a try.

It settled me down when I got my degree.

FLOYDIE40 Posts: 34
10/2/13 10:07 A

Try changing out the chocolate for a cup of diet hot chocolate at the last 20 minutes or so of class (herb tea would be even better). A warm tummy is a happy tummy and a little more ready for bed. You may need a different plan in the summer, but give it a try.

It settled me down when I got my degree.

DAVIDJACKSON01 SparkPoints: (126)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 42
10/2/13 7:09 A

I am going to attempt the splitting my lunch in half trick to get me through the 1-2p.m.

HIP-WITCH Posts: 9,534
10/2/13 5:41 A

Also I find if I drink water before bed I have to visit the bathroom. I've heard a banana is good before bed. I've found it works--sugar always knocks me out.

HIP-WITCH Posts: 9,534
10/2/13 5:38 A

I'm wondering about protein and what foods have tryptophan in them which put you to sleep and also about the possibilities of melatonin.

HAPPYLISA17 Posts: 213
10/1/13 8:47 P

Such great ideas here. I am going to try the splitting my lunch in half trick to get me through the 2-4 p.m. slump.

CARRIENIGN SparkPoints: (98,310)
Fitness Minutes: (80,164)
Posts: 493
10/1/13 5:11 P

I agree with MIPCY. I would take something to snack on that's fairly healthy. Maybe carrot sticks or popcorn. Sometimes, I just need that little activity of eating and that extra volume in my belly to make my hunger subside in situations like that, and those are practically freebies as far as calories go. I use techniques like this all the time, because I work night shift and sometimes I'm up 24 hours at a time and still have to stay within my calorie range.

10/1/13 4:52 P

The suggestion of having a PLANNED 'unwind' snack for when you get home was a good one, too. :) Good luck with it!

FGESCHWI Posts: 56
10/1/13 3:28 P

THANK YOU all for helping me out here! I think you all gave a ton of good tips that I will try to incorporate in my preparation.
Even though I don't like it, I think the part of the emotional eating might be a big factor. Who likes to admit to having a problem, but I think you might actually be on to something there. I will try to watch out for my feelings on those nights to see if that's one of the roots. (which I am sure it is at least part of my problem)

I am a very regular eater, and my brain stops functioning when I am super hungry, so waiting until I get home is no option, but the more protein might be a good route for me to go. I often bring whole wheat pasta since stuff like that is easy to heat up. I could add tofu, or chicken like you guys suggested.
I am excited to tackle the problem, and I really appreciate all your input :)

Thank you everybody, I'll come back and update on what worked and what didn't :)

emoticon emoticon

JMOUSE99 SparkPoints: (189,927)
Fitness Minutes: (97,474)
Posts: 6,223
10/1/13 2:39 P

I like MARF226's suggestion of having a healthy snack ready for you when you get home. Be sure to enter it all into your nutrition tracker so you know you are not going over your calories for the day. Remember that if you know it is going to happen, you can PREPARE for it.

Also, I would up the protein in your dinner. Since I started taking tofu to work for lunch and snacking on walnuts (7 walnut halves = .5 oz = 92 cals) I have no problem lasting until dinner without being starved.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
10/1/13 2:14 P

If you would be okay with the same foods if you ate them at home vs at school, what you are experiencing on the nights you have classes may not truly be hunger. It may be a stress response due to the extra long days, the inability to go home at a normal time and unwind and so this may be a case of emotional eating.

Also something to consider:
Do you normally go home and relax with dinner in the evenings? If so, you may have an association going between food and relaxing/unwinding from your day and this may be what leads you to want more food on those nights where you eat at school (not a relaxing situation). In other words, you get home and want to relax. You associate relaxing with food (or maybe even feel like you need food in order to relax/unwind). Even though you've already eaten and aren't really hungry, you feel the need to eat so you can relax/unwind from the day.

What time do you normally eat dinner? Would if be possible to wait to eat until you got home? If not, you might try making food those nights which is higher volume for the calories, then splitting dinner, taking 1/2 to school and saving 1/2 for home.

MARF226 Posts: 208
10/1/13 1:53 P

I agree with BAPSANN – I can eat the same amount of food but if I’m distracted (reading email, watching TV) or wolf it in because I’m in a rush, it won’t be as satisfying. Maybe find a few minutes of quiet time before class to eat. And have you tried drinking water during class and/or when you get home? If I have long days at work, sometimes I skimp on water so I don’t have to worry about potty breaks but that can leave me feeling hungry later. But if nothing else works, maybe have some healthy foods prepped or pre-portioned for when you get home and just can’t resist another snack.

BITSNPIECES38 Posts: 981
10/1/13 1:36 P

I used to have a similar situation. What I did was split my lunch in half those days. Then I would be hungry before my usual dinner time, and I'd be able to eat my normal dinner meal before I left for work. I'd have the other half of my lunch to come home to. I'd still be eating later than I wanted, but at least I would be eating calories I carved out of my day earlier, and not additional calories.

BAPSANN Posts: 1,448
10/1/13 12:12 P

Slow it down and focus

HACK_HACKER SparkPoints: (16,150)
Fitness Minutes: (29,163)
Posts: 54
10/1/13 11:41 A

Maybe you can divide your dinner into two portions? You'd eat one before class and one after. It wouldn't necessarily have to be the same thing before and after, but spreading out what you eat might help as long as you're eating enough to stay focused during class. Even eating a filling salad--spinach, nuts, dried fruit, cheese--before class and a slightly smaller dinner after might prevent you from getting too hungry during class.

MIPCY1 Posts: 582
10/1/13 10:50 A

Try bringing something that feels munchy but isn't so bad. I used to bring fruit and cheese (like a sharp cheddar) that would really satisfy me. OR you could try something like oatmeal when you get home. I find it very filling with relatively few calories. Class tends to make you want more because your schedule isn't really the same. And you're sitting for a while.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
Posts: 2,744
10/1/13 10:40 A

What's the nutrient make up of the dinner you have at home vs what you bring to night class (ie protein, carbs, and fat)? If the dinner/snacks you bring to school have a higher percentage of carbs than what you have at home, then this makes sense because fat and protein make you feel fuller longer than carbs do.

FGESCHWI Posts: 56
10/1/13 10:23 A

Hey Guys,
I need some advice, tips, tricks, or whatever else you have up your sleeves! :)
I always do pretty good with my calories if I have my regulated days, often even during the weekend, BUT here is my problem: Three days a week, I have night class from 6 to 9.20. I hate those because they are right around dinner time, which is the most important meal of the day for me. Anyways, I ALWAYS bring my food to class. ( I am to cheap to buy stuff, and I like it whenI am in control of what's in my food) Often, I bring a sandwich, or something to heat up there. A few snacks, and maybe a little chocolate for dessert. Sounds like I should be doing fine then right? Well, I don't....! By the time I get home, I am often starving, so I need additional food. If I had what I bring to school on one of my regular days, I would be fine and full until I go to bed. What's up with that? Even if I am not starving, I crave stuff, but only on those dang school nights? Why why why? I always destroy my good habits with that myself! Urgs!
I hope you guys have some tips that could help me tackle my schoolnight starving/craving habit/problem :)

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