Skip to content

This Is the #1 Worst Nighttime Snack for Your Waistline, Says an Expert

This treat might seem innocent when it calls your name, but a registered dietitian says it's time to get real.

Some foods help fuel your summertime weight loss, like these 30 diet gems, along with three metabolism-boosting drinks. Some foods, however, will derail your fitness goals even when it seems like they're perfectly innocent. A Cleveland Clinic dietitian has pointed out what she says is the ultimate worst food to snack on, especially at night, if you're trying to get in shape and be healthy. It's not one that often gets named, and it's also followed by a close second.

Julia Zumpano, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. For the well known hospital system's blog, Zumpano has highlighted two foods that, she says, are among the all-time worst latenight snacks you can select.

Keep reading to learn the worst nighttime snacks for fitness, and get more from The Worst Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline, Say Dietitians.

Watch the clock.


First, Zumpano says, it's important to establish disciplined parameters around the hours you eat. She says that if you're invested in being your best, it's ideal to finish your last meal of the day before 6 P.M.

 This Is Gisele Bundchen's Exact Diet and Exercise Routine

Meditate on your motivation.

Woman Taking Out Bottle From Open Refrigerator

If, past dinnertime, you're struck with a craving, consider whether you're truly hungry… or if you're simply longing for something to stimulate you. Zumpano says that many nighttime noshers get the impetus to munch not because they're hungry, but simply because they're bored. She suggests this is one of the worst reasons for eating.

If this sounds like you, the sudden urge to snack could actually be a prime time to do something constructive, like read, fold a load of laundry, or even throw in a few minutes of exercise—like this 5-Minute workout that melts belly fat the fastest, according to a trainer.

However, if none of that takes your mind off eating…

Avoid starchy, salty snacks.

baked potato chips

Zumpano says many go-to snacks that have a way of satiating boredom or calming stress are loaded with calories, fat, and not much else. Plus, she points out, eating salt has a way of triggering a powerful sweet tooth, which just leads to more trouble!

 What Happens to Your Body When You Eat a Bag of Potato Chips

The ultimate worst nighttime snack is…

eating cereal

Zumpano says that of all the guilty-pleasure foods you may reach for when it feels like you can't resist, one is the absolute worst: It's cereal. Zumpano says it's important to face the fact about cereal. It's usually sweetened, which means sugar is a main ingredient—and you already know that sugar has a lot of implications not only for your weight, but also for your health. Plus, Zumpano says, the milk that we add to cereal pours on extra calories, carbohydrates, and often, fat. (How does your favorite cereal stack up? Do not miss Every Cereal Brand in America in 2021—Ranked!)

Consider this possible solution.

heart shaped measuring cups

For nights when you just can't seem to quiet that craving, Zumpano says you should consider having a low-sugar, high-fiber cereal onhand. She adds that it's worth taking the conscientious step to measure your portion of no more than one cup. Then, for that cereal effect you love, the Cleveland Clinic's blog lists natural, unsweetened milks like almond, flax, hemp, soy, or coconut milk as preferred complements to your cereal bowl.

 7 Best Oat Milk Brands to Buy, According to Dietitians

For more, check out:

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy
Filed Under