If you find yourself craving something sweet after dinner each night - chances are, you’re not alone! A lot of us fall victim to that niggling ‘need’ for sugar in the evening, and for some of us it can actually be our undoing when it comes to our health and wellbeing goals.
The good news is, there are some simple ways you can prevent those cravings from happening in the first place, as well as strategies you can adopt for when they do strike.
Eat a high protein, high fibre meal for dinner - This will not only ensure that your meals are more satiating (therefore keeping you feeling fuller and less inclined to need a treat) but it will also balance your blood sugar levels and in doing so, prevent those pesky cravings after dinner from even arising.
Get into the habit of having a tea after dinner - Establishing good nighttime habits and routines is a powerful way to make sure you ‘stay on track’ even when your willpower isn’t at it’s strongest. Engrained habits will help you stay on autopilot with your health goals, so that you don’t even have an opportunity to think of doing something that would counteract them. For example, getting into the habit of drinking herbal teas after dinner will mean you’ll reach for that first, before opening up the pantry looking for snacks. With a belly full of hot tea after dinner, it’s unlikely you’ll still feel the urge for a snack afterwards.
Ensure you’re eating enough throughout the day - It’s easy to fall into a cycle of restricting your intake throughout the day, only for it to backfire at night when your body is desperate for food, nutrients and energy. Make sure you’re eating regular, balanced meals throughout the day to keep you full and energised, and to give your body what it needs when it needs it - so that it doesn’t all catch up with you at night and you’re left in a frenzy of nighttime over-eating.
Check in with your emotions - Most cravings for sugar stem from our emotions and a deep need to ‘fill a gap’ that’s actually an emotional one rather than a physical one. We’ve become accustomed to associate sweet treats with happiness and a reward, so it’s easy to think that they’ll make us feel better when we’re a little sad, anxious or restless. Unfortunately, a block of chocolate isn’t going to address the real need you’re craving - whether that’s inner peace, comfort, love or happiness. Try to establish a longer-term tool for navigating your emotions, such as journalling or meditating. Clearing your head with a few minutes of mindfulness after dinner may be all you need to fill a gap - more than any treat could fill it!
Don’t keep high-sugar packaged foods in the house - When all else fails, and you can’t fight the cravings - making sure you don’t have anything to ‘blow out’ on at home is the easiest way to prevent you from doing much damage to your diet and health. Keep your fridge stocked with fresh fruit or prepped low-sugar desserts so that you if you want to indulge a little - you can, and without the sugar crash or excess calories. Check out our Recipes for endless ideas for low-sugar treats you can easily make at home to have on hand and to keep your health your priority - no compromises needed.