As a nutrition consultant and fitness instructor, everyone assumes my diet is perfectly clean all of the time. I try my best, but I am human. I would describe my diet as 90-95% clean, which I think is pretty good. Throughout the morning, afternoon, and right on through dinner, I eat like a saint. But when my kids go to bed and I have some time to myself, well that’s my witching hour. Anyone else get cravings to eat in the evening? I know I’m not alone in this. Here are my best strategies to conquer night-time snacking.
The first thing is to recognize why you are getting these cravings in the evening. Are you truly hungry? For me, it is definitely not about hunger. We will have eaten a healthy filling dinner not that long ago. For me, it is just about time for me to do what I want, and snacking has just become a part of that habit. Once something is a habit, it can be really hard to break.
1 – DRINK TEA
Make a big mug of herbal tea with fresh lemon juice right after dinner, and sip it slowly. This extra liquid will help fill your belly up even more. Usually the thought of putting anything else in my stomach after a big cup of tea is that it would just be really uncomfortable. Also, eating anything after the flavor of the tea would be kind of yucky. There are so many flavors of tea, you are sure to find one you like. The stronger the taste, the better it will work to keep you from eating. Think peppermint or cinnamon.
2 – PAINT YOUR NAILS
After giving yourself a beautiful fresh manicure, the last thing you want to do is ruin it. Trying to open a package or box of snacks would smudge those nails. Sit down and paint your nails, then read a book or watch TV. And don’t use quick-drying nail polish. You want to have to sit there and let them dry pretty much until the craving is gone or it’s time to go to bed.
3 – CALL A FRIEND
As adults, our friendships can definitely take a back seat to family and work obligations. The only way we usually catch up with each other is on social media, which just isn’t the same. So in the evening, pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. The nonstop chatting should make you forget all about the bag of candy in your kitchen cupboard.
4 – BRUSH YOUR TEETH
When a craving strikes, go brush your teeth immediately with a really minty toothpaste. Nothing tastes good after minty toothpaste.
5 – DO SOMETHING
Rather than just sitting on the couch watching TV, find something to keep you busy physically, especially something with your hands. If you like to knit or sew, start a new project. If you are artsy, paint a picture or mold something out of clay. I love to color in those adult coloring books . It is so relaxing and definitely addictive. When I start one of those intricate pictures, I don’t want to do anything else until it’s done. And they take a really long time to finish.
6 – PRE-PORTION SNACKS
If you really can’t get your mind off of that snack, sometimes it’s better to give in a little rather than driving yourself so crazy that you just end up bingeing on a whole block of cheese or bag of chips. Pre-portion out your snacks into little bags or containers. That way you have a single serving of pretzels, nuts, or cheese ready for when those snack cravings strike. Try to keep the servings to around 100 calories. A 100-calorie snack is not going to ruin your diet, and you won’t feel deprived.