Be Skinny,Lifestyle,Think Healthy

Managing Cravings and PM Snacking

So if you’re an evening snacker – I hope you know you’re not alone. Managing cravings is a struggle amongst dieters everywhere.  Calories consumed after 7pm are typically unnecessary and plentiful! If you have a PM routine that involves winding down on the TV with a snack or five – then this post is for you! Learning to manage cravings and PM snacking is a skill that is more sophisticated than willpower. When your focus runs thin, you need to have real solutions in place.

Managing Cravings Tip #1 – Develop Better PM Habits:

If your nights end with some down time in front of the tube, this can be a trigger to start snacking! To get a handle on this before you’re up against the wall with cravings, focus on building healthier habits that keep the munchies at bay.

  • Call a friend – relationships take time. Spend some time on the phone, e-chat, emails or even a hand written note for the mail. Think about the people who aren’t a part of your daily circle and send them some love! This will fill you with love and appreciation instead of empty calories.
  • Get in a first or second workout at the gym. Not necessarily at 8 at night, but if you go at 6 right after work, it will push the rest of your evening “must-dos” down and it will be bedtime before you know it. And you’ll have burned 300+ calories instead of consumed.
  • Read something. I don’t care what you read, but reading will make you smarter. It makes your brain work actively, instead of passively taking in TV images.  You’ll come out way ahead if you pack your brain full of knowledge instead of your gut with junky calories.  At a loss – let me shamelessly plug my www.www.eatdrinkandbeskinny.com blog 🙂

Managing Cravings Tip #2 – Keep Your Hands Busy:

If your life mandates downtime in front of the TV and you must zone out, then figure out how to keep your hands busy so you can’t snack.

  • Try knitting, clipping coupons, manicure/pedicure or crossword puzzles. Anything that keeps your hands busy so you can’t take the time to put anything in your mouth.

Managing Cravings Tip #3 – Create Snacking Barriers:

There are things you can do that make putting unnecessary food in your mouth much less appealing. Try these little tricks on for size:

  • Chew sugar free bubble gum. Can’t shove anything else in there while you have gum in your mouth!
  • Brush, floss and use the most antiseptic mouthwash you can find. Once you have a clean mouth, the last thing you want to do us put anything unnecessarily sugary in there.
  • Drink lots of water or hot tea. This will still fill your belly, but with zero calories and will help you keep hydrated, which always serves you well. Flavored soda waters, crystal light, fancy herbal teas all offer great flavor and variety.

Managing Cravings Tip #4 – If you must snack, then try these:

  • Air popped pop corn. Go get the disco 1970s air popper and pop your own corn. It’s super cheap and you can snarf down 3 full cups for under 100 calories and get in nearly 4g of filling fiber while you are at it.
  • Hot, broth based soup loaded with veggies. These can be as low as 100 calories for the whole can and offer a great amount of satiety. If you’re looking for something to comfort you, this will warm you and give you a good nutrition kick with the extra veggies.
  • Edamame. You can get the little steamer bags at Costco and 1 cup has only 75 calories and 8 grams of satisfying protein.

Managing Cravings Tip #5 – If all this fails, try this:

If you fall victim to late night or anytime unnecessary snacking, track it! Whether it’s on paper, an ap, an excel spread sheet, I don’t care. It’s helpful to include a “why I ate this” section to help you understand what you are looking for in the snack. Sometimes you are legitimately hungry – eat! Sometimes it’s something not nutrition related at all, and you could save yourself hundreds of thousands of calories in the long run by understanding what it is you are looking for in that box of crackers.  Understanding your patterns will help you understand how to “repattern” in healthier more productive manner. Also, just the act of being accountable to recording it can improve behavior.



Are you a night time snacker? What have you done to keep cravings at bay?

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  • Betsy

    Funny to be reading this this morning since last night I was in dire need of a snack after my kids were in bed. We ate an hour before and for some reason I needed something sweet before heading to bed myself. It’s a gross habit to get into. I look at the warbles on my butt and thighs and realize something needs to change; so I signed up for your 30-Day Challenge.
    I’ve always had strong abs but with my pear shaped body, I have issues with my hips and bottom. I figured doing the lunge challenge is perfect. Looking forward to starting!
    Thanks for posting and giving me options for my cravings at night!

    • Teresa

      Hi Betsy! I love your note, but maybe you’re being too tough on yourself? It’s not a “gross” habit, it’s just a habit worth looking into that will save you tons of calories in the end 🙂 I’m so glad you found the challenge and I’m sure you, your warbles and everybody else you know will love it! Please keep me posted on how it goes 🙂 We Can Do This!!

  • Sheila

    So true – I had lost 15 pounds in the spring before going on a cruise where food was unlimited. We ate & drank a LOT, but noticed that we didn’t snack in the evening, mostly because snack food wasn’t readily available – no pretzels or nuts at the bar or shows. We kind of missed the snacks, but when we got home I found my weight had not changed, even though I overdid the eating and drinking in general. The only difference was no snacking after dinner!

    • Teresa

      Sheila that is awesome! Mindless munchie calories are the worst! It’s so great you were able to enjoy our vacation and not undo all your hard work. Being smart about your calories always pays off 🙂 Keep it up!

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