updated 4/13/2007 1:50:41 PM ET 2007-04-13T17:50:41

Low-fat yogurt. Tortilla chips and salsa. Red wine and papaya. Fat-free croutons. Grapes. Applesauce. Sugar-free popsicles.

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Wow. You people sure know how to snack after the sun goes down!

Many readers sent in messages in response to Lisa C. Cohn’s most recent Chew on This column, which ran with the headline “Why raiding the fridge at night is a bad idea.” Readers confessed about their struggles not to munch too much at night, and they shared plenty of practical ideas about how to curb the urge to splurge after dark.

Even more readers responded to our survey , which asked the question, “What snack do you crave late at night?” Here’s the breakdown of how people responded: ice cream, 19 percent; chocolate, 11 percent; chips, 11 percent; popcorn, 11 percent; cookies, 8.8 percent; all of the above, 15 percent; none of the above, 24 percent.

Plenty of you “none of the above” folks wrote in and shared your tales of subsisting on nothing but cold water or decaf iced tea after dinnertime. Others detailed the low-calorie intake they rely on to make it all the way through the night. Still others, such as Jeff from Toronto, begged for advice about snack foods that might actually do the trick.

“The late-night avoidance motto is so easy to say but hard to do,” Jeff wrote. “I have tried over-drinking decaffeinated diet soda (plain water is so boring), every low-fat or high-fiber alternative (e.g. bags of low-fat popcorn), but nothing breaks the automated, stomach-to-brain, non-satiated ‘message’ at midnight without some FAT going down by esophagus. Olestra potato chips do help, but the calories aren’t low when you need a cylinder full to qualm the munchies. What imaginative/non-routine options are out there?”

Well, Jeff, we’ve put together this sampling of readers’ responses just for you, and for anyone else out there who’s been plagued by the same question. Here you go:

If I’m desperately famished after I eat my last meal, I keep tortilla chips and salsa on hand. It satisfies my hunger and doesn’t make me gain weight. The trick is to take just a handful of chips and then heap on the salsa which has almost no calories.
— Danae

I usually eat a cup of low-fat (not non-fat) yogurt if I am hungry before I go to bed. If I missed dinner, I will eat a small bowl of Wheat Chex or Shredded Wheat ‘n Bran before bed so that I sleep better.
— Karen

I’ve been a midnight snacker for the past 13 years. The weight I gained and the dislike I had for my reflection when nude forced me to put my foot down with myself. I no longer midnight snack and it’s helped greatly with my weight loss. If the urge becomes overwhelming I get up and get a drink of iced tea (decaf) sweetened with artificial sweetener.
— Heather, Warrenton, Va.

We try to eat dinner by 6 p.m. unless it is a special occasion. I do not eat anything after dinner. I don’t get hungry. This may just be habits left over from childhood. We did not snack much at all and never at night. However, my husband thinks he needs something to eat every night around 9 p.m. Not healthy stuff either — ice ice cream, cereal or sweets.
— Cindy, Tulsa, Okla.

I work full time and usually don’t get home until around 6. There is homework sometimes I have to help my son with, which pushes back dinner time. I don’t buy fast food or take out, I prepare all my meals homemade every night that way I know what I am feeding my family. Dinner is usually one serving each of veggies, protein and carbs. Dinner is usually done around 7:30 then I hit the treadmill for about an hour. After that workout I may be thirsty but never hungry and sleep really good. Before this routine I’d be snacking after dinner.
— Debby, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Yes, I am a midnight snacker. I am an all-the-time snacker! But, I am 5-foot-9 and weigh 129 pounds (aged 42) so I can lay waste to whatever I want, whenever I want. Alas, I am one of the lucky few but as a general rule I will eat until I am not hungry instead of until I am full. It’s called “being sensible.” (This rule does not apply to fried seafood, red beans and rice, spaghetti or pork lo mein — I do live in New Orleans, y’all!)
— Mark, New Orleans

I’m a night binger who progressed to a day binger and then a purger and starver as well. I eventually weighed 430 pounds, then kept the weight off for almost 10 years by attending spiritual support groups three to five times a week and praying or calling others with bingeing problems when I wanted to eat, no matter what time of day or night it was. I treat this problem as the life-threatening disease it is.
— Joy, Everett, Wash.

All I have to do is put on my bikini to remind myself why I don't need a late night snack!
— Kaylee, Hanford, Calif.

I get up in the middle of the night and eat and it has always been a horrible habit of mine, one that I share with my mother and sister. I am currently on a diet. I have gone from 215 to 197 in the past two months, I still get up in the middle of the night and eat but I eat things like grapes, or a fat-free pudding cup or a cup of applesauce or a handful of fat-free croutons.
— Megan, Mankato, Minn.

I like non-caffeinated herb-tea like Sleepy Time and if it’s hot outside, I drink the iced tea version of that flavor. I also like the low-cal frozen desserts like Weight Watchers brand ice cream bars, or Italian ice cups.
— Anonymous

I drink a lot of water at night until I’m full, like 500 milliliters. I do not watch TV; it is most likely going to get the munchies out.
— Kim, New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada

I buy 16-ounce red plastic cups — portion control. When I awake in the middle of the night, I drink 16 ounces of skim milk. It fills me up, satisfies my hunger and helps put me back to sleep.
— Beverly, Carson City, Nev.

After dinner with the family, which is way too early for me, but is a time we have together ... this is what I do. I relax for a while and talk with to my husband about whatever has happened during the day, then after a couple of hours we pour ourselves a glass of red wine and munch over some cheese and berries or papaya with lime while cleaning up the kitchen. Afterward, you feel satisfied, relaxed and able to enjoy a movie or read ... for a couple of hours. By then, believe me, you are ready to go to sleep non-stop and get a restful sleep.
— Annie, San Juan, Puerto Rico

I have three sugar-free popsicles at 15 calories each, and right before bed I drink a hot glass of water with lemon juice and one artificial sweetener to help me sleep.
— Sherry, Aurora, Colo.

This sounds strange, but I brush my teeth after dinner and the only “food” I allow myself is cold water — not just plain tap water, but “cold” water.
— Anonymous

I try to keep cut-up veggies ready for my p.m. snack attack. I am truly a night eater. I can go all day without eating and then I turn in to a hard-core muncher. I also try to be creative with my p.m. meals, i.e., tasty.
— L.C., San Diego

As a rule, I try not to eat after 7 p.m. If I do, I normally grab some soy nuts, an apple or some yogurt. I don’t like to go to bed on a full stomach because the next morning I have a hard time motivating myself to go running.
— Jessica, New Bern, N.C.

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