11 Ways to Crush Nighttime Cravings

By , SparkPeople Staff
It's 8 p.m. You should be getting ready for bed or at least winding down your day, but all you can think about is how much you want to sink your teeth into that chocolate-covered peanut-nougat candy bar in the kitchen drawer. Or how good a bag of crunchy potato chips would be right now. Or how it would feel to swirl your spoon through a big bowl of butter pecan ice cream and lick up every last drop.

You know you shouldn't…and yet, the craving is all-consuming! Your mind engages in a tug of war so strong you feel like your will power might just be yanked out from under you.

What if we told you that there was a way to end the battle? If there were a way to silence the voices in your head. If there were a way to crush nighttime cravings once and for all—without feeling hungry or deprived.

Good news: There is! Here's how to crush those nighttime cravings once and for all.

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If You Crave This Try This
Apple Fritter Donut
(300 calories)
Apple Turnover Yoplait Light  
(90 calories)
Deluxe Nachos
(760 calories) 
Easy Tostada
(129 calories)  
Top a corn or whole grain tortilla with 2 tablespoons low-fat shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons black beans, then broil. Add chopped onions, peppers, cilantro and 1/4 cup salsa.
Candy Bar
(270 calories)
Boston Cream Pie Yoplait Light
(90 calories)
Loaded Pepperoni Pizza
(290 calories per slice)
Crunchy Pizza Bites
(98 calories) 
Top 3 whole-grain crackers with 1 tablespoon pizza sauce, 3 slices turkey pepperoni and 1 tablespoon shredded mozzarella.
Frosted Cupcake
310 calories 
Red Velvet Cake Yoplait Light
90 calories
Potato Chips
(210 calories)
Microwave Potato Chips
64 calories
(257 calories)
Raspberry Cheesecake Yoplait Light
(90 calories)

But what is you're really not hungry even though you're craving something? When you feel a craving coming on and you know you're not physically hungry, the secret to crushing it is distraction. This works well at night if you tend to mindlessly munch 'til bedtime. If you're truly just emotionally "hungry" (feeling bored, lonely, stressed or sad), try these craving busters:
  • After eating, brush your teeth. The minty flavor of your toothpaste will make the prospect of eating anything seem unappealing.
  • Keep your hands busy. Idle hands have time to keep reaching for food. Crocheting, knitting, crafting, playing cards or even doing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle are great ways to avoid nighttime snacking.
  • Close down the kitchen. As soon as you've finished eating your evening meal, put away any leftovers, wash the dishes, wipe down the counters and then turn off the light. Get in the habit of making the kitchen off limits until morning.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Research has shown that emotions only last about 90 seconds. After that, you have to "feed" them again. Employ the same tactic for cravings. Set a timer for 90 seconds, and find a quiet spot to sit with your eyes closed. Focus on the breath and clear the mind of any thoughts.
Whether you outsmart your nighttime cravings with better choices or you ignore them completely, we think you'll crush them in no time!
How do you deal with nighttime cravings in a healthier way?

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