The clock strikes 9:00 P.M. Suddenly, you go from being perfect on your diet all day long to sitting lazily in front of the television with a bag of Cheetos watching Modern Family after what seems like the longest day in history.
Why am I eating this? You may ask yourself that very question as you’ve given in to these cravings before and know you’ll regret devouring the fattening but oh-so-fluffy treat the next morning.
This is where I hope you’ll feel a little bit better, because you know what? – you are not alone. Nighttime cravings are a very common problem, especially when you’re trying to eat healthy because it becomes more apparent.
The sad truth is, you can sort of blame it on history. Our hunter gatherer ancestors did not know when food would be availabe, so after long days filled with hunting and gathering, they would fill up at night with what that day brought to them for bounty as a survival mechanism
Don’t Ruin your Healthy Day
Even though we might be programmed to give into cravings late at night, there are ways to stop late night cravings and not sabotage your weight loss goals.
10 Tips to Stop Cravings
- Eat breakfast. This is a no brainer. Having a well-rounded, healthy breakfast will help moderate your eating for the rest of the day.
- Eat dinner 2 hours before bed. Your body only needs 1-2 hours to digest a meal.
- Eat a healthy nighttime snack. A cup of berries will provide you with an easy-to-digest healthy snack. If you need more, try a hard boiled egg white or little bit of turkey breast. I also enjoy mixing frozen berries into plain organic greek yogurt if it’s warm out.
- Wait ten minutes. Don’t give into your cravings immediately. They generally pass within a short amount of time. Have a glass of water..you may just be thirsty.
- Brush your teeth after your last meal or snack for the day. This is really weird, but it honestly helps tell your brain it is time to stop eating for the night.
- Have an extra, healthy fat at dinner. This will keep your body feel full longer.
- Rid your house of the junk food. If it is not available, you can crave it all you want, but you will not be able to give in. Instead, you can forage the cabinets and fridge for something healthy.
- Don’t deprive yourself during the day. A sweet tooth at night could be easily erased by a small piece of dark chocolate during the day.
- Have a cup of herbal peppermint tea. Peppermint has been shown to to suppress appetite. Plus, it’s a tasty treat if you don’t mind peppermint. I think it’s a great sugary food replacement.
- Have a plan. Fighting night time cravings can be like going to war, so make sure you prevent cravings by having a nighttime action plan. I find it’s the best way to stop giving into cravings.
How to Create a Nighttime Routine to Crush Cravings
For most people, nighttime is their only free time. Unfortunately, free time can easily turn into snack time unless you have a nighttime plan.
Creating a plan is the best method I’ve found for people who can’t beat their nighttime cravings. And don’t worry too much, because your plan does not have to be rigid.
Here’s how to make a plan:
- Write it down – Whatever you are going to be doing or eating, make sure you write it all down.
- Plan your time to relax – This includes your reading, tv time, scheduling in your snack, etc. If you plan things ahead of time, you tend to stick with them more. When you have your nights going on a whim, you tend to get yourself into trouble.
- Follow your plan for 21 days – It is said it takes 21 days to form a habit, so once your routine becomes a habit, you are all set. Please note: for some, forming a habit can take up to three months.
My Own Nighttime Plan
Here is what a common week day night looks like for me.
- 7:00-7:30pm: Sit down for dinner.
- 7:30-8:00pm: Walk with the dogs.
- 8:00-9:00pm: Snack on frozen blueberries or strawberries while checking in with Challenge Groups and responding to comments.
- 9:00-10:00pm: Pick out my clothes for the next day and pick up around the house.
Above All Else – Remember This
Don’t worry if you give into a nighttime craving every now and then – it is definitely not the end of the world. When I have my super cravings that I can absolutely not resist, I still will give into half of a dark chocolate cashew turtle or a taste of full fat ice cream. The trick is to not make those days too often. And don’t beat yourself up over it…we’re only human.
Just try your best each and every day – it’s all you can do. Before you know it, you won’t even be able to remember what night time cravings were for.
What food do you get night time cravings for?