Step away from the fridge: Handling your late-night cravings


Late-night snack

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When it comes to watching your waistline, you focus most of your attention on starting the day off right. If you make good choices right from the get-go, you’re bound to stick with that healthy mind-set all day, right? Not so much. Even if you’re able to ward off our not-so-nutritious cravings throughout the day, and even into the evening, those late-night munchies often get the best of you. Let’s face it, ladies, if you’re up at midnight and headed toward the kitchen, you’re not in search of a light, nutritious snack. Next time you feel those late-night cravings coming on, take a look at these helpful tips to keep yourself on track.


It’s probably not about hunger

During the day, we often become overwhelmed by work, chores, errands, errant children, unresponsive hubbies, and the all-encompassing stress of being a mom. We don’t have time to indulge in a lot of unhealthy cravings, especially if we take the time to pack healthy lunches and snacks. At night, however, when all the chaos has subsided, our minds are focused fully on that bag of potato chips we didn’t eat for lunch, or that pint of ice cream we stuck in the freezer.

It’s easier for us to condone unhealthy slip-ups when we’re exhausted, and there’s no kids or obstacles standing in our way. Food becomes a reward system for the stress we put ourselves through. We had a tough day at the office so we deserve that cupcake. We spent an hour and a half working the concessions stand at the kids’ soccer game so we earned that sleeve of cookies. Food becomes a way for us to unwind and de-stress. It becomes a coping mechanism.


From habit to healthy

These late-night snacks are just reflections of what our bodies have grown accustomed to; they are not necessarily reflections of what our bodies need. Those cravings for something sweet, or for a glass of wine, or for that bag of Cheetos you’ve hidden on the top shelf of the pantry aren’t there because you need them — they are there because you have subconsciously coached yourself into using them as a way to alleviate stress at the end of the day.

In order to overcome these habits, you’ve got to overcome the mental rationales behind them. Check out this list from Weight Watchers for some ideas:

  • Connect with someone. Try calling a friend or relative instead of hitting the fridge. You may find out that you were really hungry not for food but for a chance to rehash your day.
  • Take a walk. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood with your spouse, or make a regular walking date with a pal. Not only will you burn calories instead of consuming them, but you’ll also get farther away from the fridge. For 4 ways to rev up your walking routine, click here.
  • Think ahead to a healthy tomorrow. Instead of hitting the kitchen for a late-night snack, hit the kitchen to prep tomorrow’s healthy breakfast and lunch.
  • Treat yourself. Work a small splurge into your day, and you’ll be less likely to overdo it at night. Try an ounce of dark chocolate or half a cup of frozen yogurt in the afternoon.
  • For the full list from Weight Watchers, click here.

These cravings won’t last forever. Once you train your body to deal with stress in different, more productive ways, those late-night munchies will subside. Learn to trick your cravings with healthier foods here.


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