Does this scenario ever sound familiar?
You wake up, determined to make the healthiest of food choices throughout the day. Maybe you’ve done your meal planning for the week and you’re feeling on a roll. You’ve stuck to your diet plans, made it through dinner and it’s almost time to hit the hay. But then, late-night hunger cravings kick-in. What do you do?
We All Experience Late-night Cravings, but Why?
Cravings are natural, and they don’t mean anything is wrong with you. If your body is lacking a certain nutrient or food ingredient, you may even be experiencing cravings as a result. On the other hand, your cravings may be a result of boredom, stress or another kind of emotion. Many people report that they struggle with food the most during the evening hours when the day’s activities are done. No wonder they’re so hard to deal with!
How do I Kick My Cravings?
The good news is that late-night eating doesn’t always lead to weight gain. It all depends on the number of calories you consume per day, not when you consume them. However, most people who give into their late-night cravings follow poor habitual eating patterns and don’t choose the right foods. These go-to foods are often high-fat, high-sugar and full of carbohydrates.
Struggling with late-night cravings? Develop a plan of action.
- Keep Your Kitchen Stocked with Healthy Snacks – This way, if you’re craving a specific taste or texture, you have healthier options to choose from. Examples include fruit, no-butter/no-salt popcorn, chickpeas, granola, frozen low-fat yogurt and crunchy veggies.
- Distract Yourself – Many cravings can be cured by a simple change of pace. Are you on the couch watching television? Take some time to tidy-up, go for a walk or do some in-home exercises.
- Close-off Your Kitchen – A lot of people find success by setting a kitchen “curfew.” Pick a time like 8:00 or 9:00 pm and “close-off” the refrigerator, pantry and snack counter.
- Connect with Someone – Human interaction can be a great distraction. Maybe call up a friend, family member or go online to social media.
- Drink Water – Your body always needs water, and it can be a great appetite suppressant.
- Stay Mindful of Your Goals – Sometimes, all it takes is a quiet moment of reflection to think about your goals and how you want to manage your weight. Try shifting your thoughts to what you’ll plan for tomorrow and the following days, or think ahead to a healthier future.
The next time you experience late-night cravings, don’t panic! Keep in mind the strategies above to stay happy, healthy and satisfied.