24 Mar Beat Afternoon and Evening Cravings With These Simple Strategies
By Mary Sheila Gonnella NC, BCHN
3 ways to Overcome Afternoon and evening cravings and Set Yourself Up for Success
This week I found myself at Costco at lunchtime.
Even though I was hungry, I wasn’t worried about shopping while hungry, and buying extra “trigger foods” because I brought my lunch with me.
Before I left for a morning of errands, I packed up my lunch and my dog, and headed out for the day.
When I got into the parking lot, I put on some good tunes, pushed my seat back, put a napkin on my lap, and enjoyed a delicious salad of roasted chicken, marinated beets, nuts, seeds, arugula, and a delicious tahini dressing! It was perfect, satisfying, and relaxing!
My clients often tell me how hard it is when they get home from a long day and eat more than they should, and wish they had made different choices.
I totally get it, and find myself in that position too sometimes!
However, when I start asking questions and dig into what they ate during the day – before they got home and ate everything in sight, I find they just didn’t eat enough during the day and were not prepared.
Maybe they ate a bar, or a protein drink, or a handful of nuts and seeds, or nothing at all, and clearly, it just wasn’t enough.
Fuel Your Day Right and Avoid Evening Hunger Pangs
How do you set yourself up for success during the day, so your food cravings don’t get the best of you in the afternoon or at night?
- Front Load your protein during the day – I always say this when I’m teaching about nutrition, and I stand by it! Make sure all of your meals, but specifically your breakfast and lunch have adequate protein. Protein is a blood sugar stabilizer, and also provides the building blocks for serotonin, an essential neurotransmitter that helps to keep your cravings at a minimum.
- Take real food with you – Grab some leftovers rather than a “packaged snack food”. Snack foods that are marketed to us as the only option while on the go are usually high in carbs, and don’t always hold you over like a real meal would. It helps to cook extras so it’s easy to grab leftovers to take with you. Investing in a lunch box, a small thermos for hot soups, and a few extra blue ice packs to keep your food cold on hot days can make all the difference in the world!
- Have a plan – If you’re not into bringing your own food, or you just don’t have time, have a plan. Know where you’re going to stop and get a meal, and most importantly make sure you carve out time to eat it, so you’re not eating while driving, which is unsatisfying and unsafe!
When you’re in the habit of doing this – you’ll have less days of “why did I just eat that” , and more successful days, which means you’ll be feeling better.
You’ll probably sleep better, because your metabolic hormones have stayed in their rhythm throughout the day, rather than cortisol spikes and high and low blood sugar swings.
And you’ll feel successful at the end of the day, knowing that you treated yourself with loving kindness, choosing healthful nourishing foods!
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