You know those nights when you've just finished eating dinner… but you're already hungry again. Or that sweet tooth hits and you're immediately doing a mental scan of your fridge, pantry, cupboards, your kids room, your boyfriends car...trying to remember if you've left chocolate or sweets somewhere?
Yea we've all been there, and it can get desperate at times, but there are some things you can do to help curb those cravings!
I’ve worked with a lot of clients who struggle with cravings and they shared their tips to help overcome that drive to eat like... chew gum (ummm it's not chocolate though??), brush your teeth (whyyyy??), go for a walk (hell nah, it's raining and cold), read a book.........(crickets)
I even had one client who sad she "gets naked in front of a mirror to realise how much she doesn't need a snack"
Ummmm, just NO!!
So I immediately went into overdrive in prepping some realistic steps that will help reduce those late-night cravings so you don't have to resort to these questionable "tips"
1 - Eat enough dinner - duh.
It might seem obvious but a lot of people skimp out on dinner because they ‘already ate a lot that day’. But then you end up wanting more later because you're just not satisfied. This leads to high calorie, low nutrient snack options and an insatiable appetite that you're going to give into.
2 - Get your protein at breakfast.
Studies have shown that when women get 20g of protein at breakfast, their appetite, mood and cravings are more stable throughout the day. Think eggs, greek yogurt, milk or a smoothie with some protein powder.
3 - Balance your blood sugars throughout the day.
If you are constantly spiking and dropping your blood sugar, then you're going to get another spike after dinner. Try to include fat, protein and fiber every time you eat. Check this blog post for more.
4 - Eat as needed throughout the day.
Listen to your hunger cues! If you keep putting off eating, it's going to hit you BIG time at night.
5 - Drink enough fluids!
Sometimes the body uses hunger as a drive to make us drink more fluids. Some foods have high water content and we often drink something when we eat too. So your body tells you to eat, in order to get more fluid! Try staying hydrated throughout the day, and have a big drink of water if you think your hunger may actually be thirst related. If you have a drink and you're still hungry 20 mins later...it wasn't thirst and you should EAT!
6 - Be mindful.
Start with being mindful during your dinner. Are you enjoying it? Is it satisfying? Are you present for most or all of the bites you take? If you eat quickly during dinner you might "miss" the recognition of actually eating. The mental part of food is real! Secondly, be mindful of your feelings post-dinner. Are you hungry or is it something else? Are you bored, self-sabotaging, mindless eating, stressed, or some other emotion? Try to identify what you are feeling! Finally, was your dinner satisfying in terms of taste? Maybe if you'd ended dinner with a bite of chocolate, you'd satisfy your taste too and won't crave later.
7 - Plan for the craving.
Especially if you eat dinner early and go to bed late. Go easy on yourself and snack smart. You may actually be hungry because your body simply needs more! Choose something nourishing and that sounds good! What is your snack-type? Sweet, salty, crunchy, warm and comforting? Have some things on hand or prepared that will hit the spot before you go into snack overdrive.
8 - Get enough sleep!
Not sleeping enough causes cravings of sweets and starches. The brains preferred energy is carbs! So if you are not sleeping well and don’t have enough energy then you’ll crave sugar! Get your 6-8 hours every night.
Let me know which tips you try and what works for you. If you want to learn more about feeling out of control around food, check this post here!