Five Ways to Get Rid of Afternoon Cravings
Like clockwork, I have the least self-control every day around 5 PM.
Around this time every day of the workweek I officially declare myself exhausted from a long, hard fought battle at work. I’m drained from the 45-minute car ride home. My mind has been at attention all day and I’m finally ready to relax a little bit.
To make matters worse, I’ve also usually gone several hours without eating.
At 5 PM every day, I want food. My defenses are down and I’m looking for something to pick me up. It’s tempting to snack on several hundred calories while waiting on dinner to be ready. I may even snack and downplay the amount of calories I’m eating by going “Oh, it’s only a handful.” But the calories in those “handfuls” of snacks can add up quickly.
Here are several ways you can try to get rid of afternoon cravings:
– Drink more water and eat filling foods throughout the day. This include things like protein, fiber, and whole grains like fruits, veggies, beans, oatmeal, beef jerky and sweet delicious popcorn — hold the butter. The list goes on.
– Plan a daily snack mid afternoon. Take 100 or 200 calories away from your lunch and consume them as a snack instead around 2-3 PM. This way you won’t feel like you’re starving by the time dinner rolls around and you’re less likely to have cravings.
– Keep the sweet/salty snacks out of the house. Shocking revelation, right? It had to be here. This depends on your living situation, of course (does your three year old like cookies?), but if you have the option to keep the chips and cookies out of your house then consider it. However, if you can’t go without these type of calories in the house…
– Purchase “calorie controlled” snacks. Some people dislike them, but I’m a huge fan of individually packaged calorie-fixed snacks. I’m talking about miniature bags of chips, the 100-calorie bags of sweets, etc that have a fixed number of calories. This way if you do snack you can easily keep track of the calories you’re eating. An endless super-sized bag of potato chips is an easy way to eat 300 calories without flinching.
– Eat dinner early. This is the single biggest thing I do to help get rid of my afternoon cravings. This all depends on your schedule of course (or the one belonging to the person you eat with), but the sooner you can eat after you get home the better. I personally get home around 5 PM and try to have dinner by 6:30 at the latest.
Sometimes my wife and I feel like a couple of old folks trying to get to the buffet for the early bird special, but it does help stop me from snacking.
Find out what works for you and get a control over your calories.