We all share similar struggles when it comes to trying to find balance and moderation in a healthy lifestyle. One challenge that comes up over and over again? Nighttime munchies! You know, the clock hits 9pm, you’ve had a full dinner a few hours ago, but you could really go for that pint of ice cream or an extra snack.
When it comes to these cravings, the good thing is you have options – and what works for you might not be the same as what works for your friend, S.O., or co-worker. To summarize, we’ll cover three options today:
- Replace the behavior,
- Replace the food/portion
- Re-evaluate your calorie needs.
Now let’s talk about what these options mean!
Replace the behavior
Ever heard that thirst can be mistaken for hunger? Yep! We’re here to remind you again. Try out a hot cup of tea, sparkling water, or water flavored with a hint of your favorite fruit juice. Then, re-assess if you’re truly hungry 10-20 minutes later. Note: This is not to say that you should mask true hunger with tea or other beverages, simply try hydrating first, then honor your hunger, or lack of hunger!
What are you feeling? Are you avoiding a person, task, or emotion? Is that cookie craving even stronger when you label it as “bad”? These are all great questions to ask yourself. Start with asking yourself a few questions, or free flow your thoughts! Journaling is all about what best helps you. So whether your journal is for venting, naming three things you’re grateful for, or typing out your goals for the week, you can benefit from this practice! Getting to the bottom of your emotions will help you understand your craving triggers.
Mindful meditation or stretching
Mindfulness is yet another way to look within and assess our true feelings, and it benefits people in a variety of ways. It’s calming for some, helps others come to terms with their feelings, and can also help you practice gratitude. Not one for sitting still? Try yoga or a regular stretching routine instead. If you’re new to mindfulness – check out A Week of Mindfulness for some great examples of how to incorporate mindfulness into your life!
Replace the food or portion size
If replacing your craving doesn’t work, it likely means you’re truly hungry! Your options from here are: have an alternative or indulge in a small portion of your food of choice. We’ll use the cookie example again. You can choose to have a moderate portion, say 1 small cookie, or replace it with something else entirely, like fruit!
If you’ve tried the above, and these tips don’t seem to help, it’s time to re-evaluate your day. Is your calorie goal appropriate for you? Did you meet your calorie goal that day? Undereating can cause us to crave at the end of the day because… well…We need that food to make ATP in our bodies, e.g. energy! Have questions on whether or not your calories are appropriate? Ask your Noom Goal Specialist!
Let’s emphasize again that we are ALL different! You might find Replacing the Behavior works for you, and your friend chooses to Replace the Food with a healthier option. The third option, Re-evaluate, is best if used if after you’ve exhausted the first two options. Remember that all foods can fit – it’s simply a matter of balancing.
Author: Katie Horrell, MS, RDN, CPT