Outsmarting the “Evening Binge”…

“I eat great all day, but when I get home. I blow it.”

I’ve heard this phrase, even said it myself far too many times. You’d think that, being a Personal Trainer and Gym Owner who eats, sleeps and breathes fitness, I’d have this issue conquered. The fact is that I (just like everyone else) have to continue to be diligent and disciplined about what I eat in the evening. I could easily eat a days worth of calories after 5:00pm by simply grazing.

Here are are few strategies to combat overeating after 5:00:

Make sure that you’re eating enough during the day.  A smaller framed adult should be eating meals with at least 300 calories per meal and a mid morning and mid afternoon snack of 150-200 calories. Larger framed individuals might try shooting for around 500 calorie meals and around 200 calories for snacks. You may need more food on days that you’re highly active and less on days that you’re less active. Just remember that eating balanced meals and snacks every few hours will help keep your blood sugar stable and make it easier to avoid overeating later. Hydrate throughout the day.

Have a substantial 3:00 snack including a 16 oz. bottle of water. Stop thinking: Eat less, weigh less and have a good snack! It’s a lot easier to say no to temptation when you’re not hungry. Ideas:

  • 2-3 Clementines (love these b/c they’re “piece-y. You can pop them in segments and they last longer.)” and half a cup of cottage cheese
  • Deli Turkey wrapped around a cheese stick
  • Caramel Rice Cake with Crunchy Natural Peanut Butter
  • Apple and 12 almonds
  • Kind Bar
  • Quest Bar (these are all the rage). We sell them and you can find them at most grocery stores. I like all of them I’ve tried so far EXCEPT the PB&J.

Assign a special cabinet for your kids treats, and then vow to stay out of that cabinet. Of course, if it isn’t good for you, it probably isn’t good for your kids. But anyone who has children knows that you have to have quick snacks around to keep up with their growing metabolism. So, if you tend to snack on their treats even when you’re not hungry, this truly helps.

Pre-plan your weekly menu. See Quick Meal Ideas below.

Limit your carbohydrates with your evening meal. Have a serving of protein, double up on non-starchy vegetables and limit your starch to 1 serving of about 20-50 g carbs (smaller framed individuals would stay closer to 20-30 g).

Avoid snacking after dinner. Most of us that find ourselves snacking after dinner are actually just tired. A great way to combat this very strong pull to the fridge is to define a few items ahead of time that would be acceptable for you to have if you’re truly hungry. Aim for protein and fats and avoid the carbohydrates as they can cause your insulin levels to rise. Ideas:

  • 1/2 C. low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 12 almonds or 4 walnuts
  • 1 C. Skim milk
  • Low carb protein shake
  • 80 calorie Greek Yogurt
  • Herbal Tea (no caffeine…sometimes you just need something warm in your stomach to make it feel full)
  • None of the above look good to you? You’re probably not hungry, GO TO BED!


  • Arnolds Sandwich Thin or Bagel Thin with 1 T. Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, 1 T. jam, 12 oz. skim milk
  • Thomas Bagel Thin, High Fiber English Muffin or Arnold’s Sandwich Thin with 1 piece 2% Kraft Cheese (try pepper jack, cheddar or Swiss), 2 oz. Canadian bacon or deli ham microwave for 45 seconds, add an apple-SUPERFAST!
  • 1 C. egg whites (abt 4 egg whites) microwave in 30 sec intervals (put this in a big mug sprayed w/cooking spray) add Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Link and a piece of Kraft 2% cheese and put it on a toasted Thomas Multi-grain English muffin with 1/3 daily fiber.
  • Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage, Egg White, and Cheese Muffin
  •  Boost your nutrition: Add a cup of berries and/or cup of skim milk
  • Parfait-1 C. plain non-fat Greek yogurt with 1 packet of truvia and dash of cinnamon, ½ C. banana (or use berries for more fiber and less calories), ¼ C. Special K Low Fat Granola, 100 cal pack of almonds and/or walnuts. This is a perfect meal or snack to leave you feeling FULL!

 Green Monster Smoothie

2 C. baby spinach

½ small ripe frozen banana

1T. natural peanut butter

½ C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Silk or Almond Breeze)

1 C. Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt

1 packet of stevia, truvia or 1 t. agave nectar (agave not included in calorie count)

 Blend in a blender until smooth. Be brave! The green can be a little intimidating, but you can’t taste the spinach. Mom’s: give your kids a blind taste test and see what they think. You could add the whole banana instead of half then add about 50 calories; 15g. of carbs and 1g. protein.

 Options: Make it a “Purple Monster Smoothie”. Instead of banana and peanut butter, try a cup of FROZEN          raspberries or blackberries for a filling breakfast or snack! (This changes the nutrition stats, it lowers the sugars/carbs and increases the fiber.) You can also sub out the Greek Yogurt for Whey Protein Powder. I’m loving Proto Whey Protein, tastes like a malt.

Do you LOVE good old fashioned cold cereal? Try this trick from Hungry-Girl.com:

Add a Cup of Arrowhead Puffed Rice Cereal (50 calories-Hy-Vee Health Market under $3) with 1 C. unsweetened Silk Almond milk 35 calories.(This equals 85 calories and adds bulk to cold cereal). Remember to add 3-4 egg whites to get your protein in as well.)


“Ultimate time saver”….All it takes is a little planning ahead and buying a little extra of whatever lean meat you’re making for dinner.…

Make lunches for the next two days at dinner time while the kitchen is already messy. Plan most of your dinners to be LEAN PROTEIN + DOUBLE SERVING OF VEGETABLES + ONE STARCH. Plan ahead and prepare two extra servings of protein-think: lean ground turkey or beef, chicken breast, or fish. (You can season it differently for variety.)Then, when it’s time to clean up after dinner, throw together your lean meat PLUS:

Bed of Salad Greens. Flat Out Wrap, Whole Wheat Pita or Low Carb Tortilla

Top with 2% cheese slice, onion, cilantro, bell peppers, lettuce, Ken’s Steakhouse Light Honey Mustard Dressing or any low fat condiment. (If you’re making a salad, put the dressing on the side so your veggies don’t get soggy.)

Add baby carrots and a 100 calorie chocolate chip granola bar.


Lean Deli Meat”

Look for lower sodium brands like Columbus (Trader Joe’s and Costco) or DiLusso’s Reduced Sodium Deli Meat. Add 2% Pepper jack or Swiss on a Thomas Bagel Thin (zap in the microwave for 30 seconds)-or layer the deli meat and cheese on a big piece of romaine for a lettuce wrap. Have this with a cup of chopped cucumbers dipped in Kraft Light Ranch or Light Italian dressing and a 100 calorie Light Yogurt like Weight Watcher’s cherry cheesecake or key lime pie flavor.


Pantry Staples”

Flavored refried beans like Hy-Vee brands low fat green chili flavor, on corn tortilla with 2% shredded cheese, onion and cilantro (zap in microwave 30 sec. when ready to eat), 2 T. plain nonfat Greek Yogurt mixed w/2 T. salsa for dipping, and side salad with light ranch dressing


“Meal on the Fly”

This may not sound like a meal, but it has enough calories to keep you feeling full and it’s perfect when your starved for time: I always keep 4oz. of low fat cottage cheese in small containers, add a Chobani or AE Greek Yogurt and 100 calorie pack of cinnamon roast or cocoa roast almonds and you’ve got a balanced meal.


Flavored Tuna Pack

Try the Star-Kist Flavored Tuna Packs even if you THINK you don’t like tuna. They’re delicious! Add them to a wrap or a salad brought from home or to a salad from the cafeteria. Add a cup of your favorite berries. I love bringing a cup of berries and having them with a 100 calorie yogurt. YUM!



Grilled Cheese and Soup”~inspired by www.hungry-girl.com

Broth based reduced sodium soup (150 calories or less) PLUS:

Grilled Cheese made with 2% Kraft Cheese Single + Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese (try a flavored one!) made on 45 calorie bread with a thin layer of Brummel and Brown. Spray your skillet with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Add a salad from a bag with Panera Asian Sesame Dressing.


“Crockpot Chicken”

Take boneless skinless chicken breast straight from the freezer and place in the crock pot. Cover with water and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove from crock pot and shred with two forks. Now that you’re protein is cooked, let the fun begin! Ideas:


  1. Make Chicken Pizza– Build a pizza using a thin pre-made pizza crust, high fiber English muffins, 80 calorie sandwich buns or Brownberry Italian Seasoned Pita Thins (Costco, Dahl’s and Hy-Vee). Add pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce), Hormel Turkey Pepperoni, chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, 2% cheese and onions. Bake at 350 for about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Make Quesadillas-Season chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper then layer it between two 50 calorie low carb tortillas like La Tortilla Factory Brand, add 2% cheese and toast in a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Serve with salsa and veggie sticks
  3. Make Salad-Season chicken to your liking and make a big salad. Make your side a bowl of blueberries topped with half a carton Weight Watcher’s Lemon Cream Pie Low Calorie Yogurt.
  4. Make Enchilada Pie-Season the chicken with garlic, cumin, salt and pepper (Or simply use low sodium taco seasoning if you prefer). In an 8 inch baking pan, place a small amount of enchilada sauce, then a small corn tortilla-use a knife to spread the tortilla with a tablespoon of seasoned refried beans-then add about a half a cup of seasoned chicken and sprinkle lightly with 2% cheese and chopped onion. Continue the layers until you reach the top of the pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cut yourself a slice and serve with Light Sour Cream and a side salad with Kraft Light Ranch Dressing.
  5. Make Chicken Nachos using Tostitos Baked Scoops (or toss chopped up corn tortillas sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkled with sea salt into a 400 degree oven for 3-6 minutes), add seasoned, low fat refried beans, onions, tomatoes and a sprinkle of 2% shredded cheese. Microwave for 10-15 seconds and serve with salsa and light sour cream.


Pork Sirloin Roast in the Crock Pot

This is as lean as chicken, and you can do a lot with the leftovers. Rub the roast with 2 T. each of cumin and chili powder, drop it in the crock pot over a bed of carrots, celery, potato and onion, pour a 16 oz. jar of salsa verde over the top, cover with water and let cook on low 6 hours. If you don’t have veggies, you can cook just the meat, but the veggies add flavor and make a great easy meal. I chop the carrots and celery roughly and use small red potatoes, don’t even need to cut them. Use the left over meat to make BBQ pork Pizza

BBQ Pork Pizza

Use Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas-toast at 400 for about 4 min. Add BBQ sauce (easy on it, it’s high in sugar), shredded pork, onion, red bell pepper, cilantro and your favorite full flavored cheese. (I say use what you like just use portion control). Bake for about 5 minutes, serve with a salad. VERY FILLING.


Eggs for Dinner”

Take whatever veggies you have in the fridge, chop them up and let them cook in a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 3 minutes; add egg whites and Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage links. Top with a sprinkle of 2% shredded cheese and serve with a Bagel Thin.


“Grill It!”

Take lean protein (think boneless skinless turkey or chicken breast, mahi mahi, tilapia, or shrimp) and marinate in Light Italian Dressing. Always grill extra meat for tomorrow’s lunch! Make a veggie pack with asparagus, cabbage, green beans or your favorite combination of veggies drizzled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. Grilled pineapple or grilled pears drizzled with nonfat light yogurt makes an awesome dessert with this.


“Late Dinner”

Ever have a night where your dinner is running so late that you’d almost rather just go to bed? Your muscles need to be fed, don’t skip dinner! Try this recipe from www.hungry-girl.com:

½ to ¾ C. low fat cottage cheese + dash of vanilla extract + dash of cinnamon + truvia packet + 5-6 crushed walnuts + diced apple (if you have an orange or orange zest handy, add some orange zest to brighten the flavor. It’s delicious!)

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