Q: What can I do to prevent binging in the evening?
– Jeanine in San Francisco

A: The number one reason why people overeat at night is that they have skipped meals and not eaten enough during the day. For example, people who skip breakfast are much more likely to overeat later in the day, in fact, they typically eat more food from afternoon until bedtime than does someone who has taken 5 minutes to eat a nutritious breakfast. A cycle is set up where they skip breakfast, overeat at night, are not hungry in the morning so skip breakfast, and battle a weight problem as a result. My first suggestion is that you eat breakfast, combining a little protein with unprocessed carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereal with nonfat milk and a large glass of OJ or a whole wheat toaster waffle topped with peanut butter and blueberries or fat-free sour cream and fruit with a glass of nonfat milk. Then, eat high-quality mini-meals and snacks throughout the day, not letting more than four hours go by between meals. That allows you to eat when you’re comfortably hungry, not ravenous and helps keep you in control of your food intake, rather than being at the beck and call of your hunger. Finally, overeating also can just be a plain habit that needs to be broken. Try breaking the pattern by doing something else in the evening, such as exercise or writing letters or doing your nails…something that keeps you busy and keeps your hands busy. It takes about three weeks to break a habit. -Elizabeth Somer