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3 Easy Ways to End Your Late Night Sugar Cravings for Good


Sugar Cravings

As you wind down after dinner, feeling content and satisfied, a sudden craving for something sweet hits you out of nowhere. Despite having eaten to your heart's content, the desire for a sugary treat lingers in your mind. It's late and you've settled in for your nightly Netflix binge, and this intense craving takes over.


Before you realize it, you've devoured a pack of Oreos or finished off a pint of ice cream. You feel defeated and disheartened about your healthy eating goals - especially when you've been making strides with your fitness journey and adopting better eating habits. Now, this late-night sugar craving looms, posing a threat to all your hard-earned progress.


Sound familiar?


If you've found yourself trapped in the cycle of late-night sugar cravings, fret not! I'm here to share three simple yet effective strategies that helped me bid adieu to those midnight snack attacks for good.



Understanding Sugar Cravings


Cravings often stem from our brain's desire for a "reward," rather than a genuine need for food. Personally, I advocate for balance in diet rather than strict elimination of food groups, as this approach is more sustainable and prevents binge-eating tendencies. I vividly recall attempting to cut sugar from my diet for a month, only to find myself craving sugary treats intensely by the second week. It felt as though I was hallucinating about donuts!


This experience made me question the sustainability of extreme dietary restrictions. Where should we draw the line when it comes to food habits?


Moderation seems to be the key. If you can enjoy a small indulgence without spiraling into a binge, then it's perfectly fine to satisfy your cravings in moderation. However, if you find yourself consistently overeating sugary foods whenever the opportunity arises, giving in to these cravings might not be the healthiest choice.


 

That's where the following tips come in handy -


01 - Curb Cravings with Nutrients


The first step? Avoid skipping meals, which can slow your metabolism and trigger those late night hunger pangs. Keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day is crucial for managing cravings.


While monitoring calorie intake is important, prioritizing the nutrient density of your meals is even more crucial. Opting for foods that are rich in nutrients ensures that your body receives the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. Among these nutrients, protein plays a key role in managing appetite and promoting satiety.


  • Add high-protein foods like Greek yogurt, chicken, fish, tofu or roasted chickpeas to your meals. Protein is the MVP when it comes to appetite control, helping to curb cravings and maintain stable energy levels. By crowding your diet with these satiating options, you're less likely to find yourself mindlessly munching on sweets come evening time.

  • Avoid skipping meals, as this can slow your metabolism and lead to late-night hunger pangs.



02 - Satisfy Sweet Cravings Mindfully


Another game-changer? Having a healthier sweet treat on hand for when those cravings strike. I love indulging in a square or two of dark chocolate or a slice of homemade banana bread in the evening. The key is finding options that satisfy your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride.


  • Don't always wait until you feel hunger pangs to eat. It's essential to proactively address hunger rather than waiting until it becomes overwhelming, as this often leads to binge eating.

  • Make it a ritual to enjoy a nourishing dessert or snack about an hour after dinner. This can help diminish stronger cravings later at night when your willpower is at its lowest.

  • Sip on warm, soothing teas like mint, ginger, or chamomile - the natural sweetness and aromatherapy can work wonders for taming sugar cravings.



03 - Hydrate and Wait it Out


Understanding the connection between hunger and thirst cues can be pivotal in managing late-night cravings effectively. Often, our bodies can misinterpret signals, leading us to perceive thirst as hunger. When faced with nighttime hunger pangs, consider reaching for a cup or two of water first. Hydrating your body can provide instant relief and alleviate those initial cravings.


  • Reach for a glass of water when a craving strikes. Dehydration can sometimes mimic hunger.

  • Wait 10-15 minutes and see if the craving subsides. If it doesn't, it may be a true sign that you need to eat more.


By redirecting your attention away from the craving and opting for a nourishing alternative like water, you may find that the desire to indulge in sugary treats diminishes on its own. Surprisingly, I've discovered that the majority of the time, my cravings dissipate once I've properly hydrated myself.


However, if despite hydrating, the cravings persist, it could indicate a genuine need for sustenance. In such cases, it's essential to listen to your body's cues and consume a balanced, nutrient-rich snack to satisfy your hunger appropriately.


 

Out-of-Sight and Tummy


Adhering to the principle of "out of sight, out of mind" can be a powerful strategy for curbing the desire to indulge in junk food. By simply keeping unhealthy snacks off your grocery list and out of your home environment, you significantly reduce the temptation to consume them. Personally, I've adopted a strict rule of not stocking junk and processed foods in my pantry. This means that if I find myself craving a particular unhealthy snack, I'm forced to either whip it up using the ingredients I have on hand or make the effort to walk to the nearest store to satisfy my craving.


Interestingly, the act of having to work for the indulgence often serves as a deterrent in itself. The inconvenience of having to leave the house or put in the effort to prepare the snack can be enough to dissuade me from giving in to my craving. In this way, my laziness becomes an unexpected ally in my quest for healthier eating habits.



Finding the Balance


Of course, on the rare occasions when nothing else works, it's important to give yourself grace. Remember, on the rare occasions when none of this works, it is OKAY to give into your cravings. You're only human and having an extra slice of extra chocolate cake with icing isn't the end of the world. This is all about understanding the balance and trying to do what's best for your body and mind.


The bottom line is that cravings are a natural part of the human experience. Trying to eliminate them entirely is not only unsustainable, but can actually backfire and lead to unhealthy patterns. Instead, the goal should be finding healthy ways to manage those urges so they don't derail your progress.


That's where the three strategies I've outlined come in handy. By keeping your body nourished, having go-to sweet treats on hand, and employing a few simple mind-body tricks, you can start to regain control over those pesky late night cravings. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for you, but I promise the effort is worth it.


Just imagine how empowered you'll feel when those 9 pm sugar cravings strike, and you're able to respond with a healthier alternative that truly satisfies. No more feelings of defeat, just a sense of calm and confidence in your ability to make choices aligned with your goals. It's a liberating place to be, and I'm so excited for you to experience it!


 

So the next time you settle in for your evening Netflix session, be prepared. Keep some dark chocolate or a warm cup of tea nearby, and don't hesitate to reach for a glass of water if the cravings start to creep in. With a little patience and consistency, you can break the cycle for good.


Your health (and tastebuds) will thank you.


Love,

Rae




Image Credits - Jojo Yuen

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