Whisper Sweet Somethings

Trick or treat, ate my meat, now where’s something sweet to eat?

I suspect I’m not alone on this one.  I eat a meal… am comfortably (or UNcomfortably) replete… but I want something more.  Specifically – something sweet.  Anything sweet.  Call it dessert.  Or call it a conditioned response.  Or call it “all in my head” and just one more voice to ignore.  But my mind starts thinking while my mouth is waiting for that little taste.

I’m not still hungry.  I’m just looking for that taste to finish the meal.  The sweet capstone.  The culmination.  The climax.  Closure for my meal?

It might be just an apple.  Or my almost nightly cup of sugar-free pudding.  Sometimes I satisfy the craving with a piece of dessert-flavored gum.  Or maybe I stave it off with a cup of chocolate cocoa flavored tea.  But whatever it is that I end up ingesting, or NOT ingesting, it drives me just a bit crazy that I always WANT something.  That sweet ending.  Almost like a palate cleanser but there’s nothing clean about it!

I suspect it comes from years of ending a meal with a true dessert.  Like cookies, cake, ice cream.  Store bought or homemade.  Immediately or after a bit of digestion.   “What’s for dessert?” seems a question that naturally follows the end of a meal.  No matter how healthy the meal.  Or how unhealthy.

As for the other “standard” question – “Did you save room for dessert?” – Well, who needs room!?  It’s not about room.  It’s about taste.  And sweetness.  And completion.  Or satisfaction.

Is this a habit I need to break?  Maybe.  Because even if I’m making healthy choices, I’m still eating when I’m not physically hungry.  (The crux of all food issues for me!)  Or I’m relying on some crutch (like gum or tea) to avoid eating when I WANT to be eating.  Maybe that’s okay?  Or maybe I need to recondition my mouth and my brain so that I eat my meal and that’s that.  Period.  Exclamation point.

One thing that helps, if I can find motivation to get up off my post-meal sweet-desiring butt, is to brush my teeth.  Breaks the taste sensation.  So why don’t I do it more often?  Laziness, I guess.  And the simple fact that I would rather eat the apple than scrub some mintiness around in my mouth!

So, my desire for sweet endings is just one more thing that I’m thinking about nowadays.  As I am often wont to do.  In my typical over-thinking fashion.  But then, what would I blog about if not my internal musings?!

What about you?  Do you crave something sweet after a meal?  What do you do to satisfy or abate that?  Is your happy ending a sweet one?




Filed under cheating/overeating, food

59 responses to “Whisper Sweet Somethings

  1. ALWAYS!!!! My sister and I call it a palate cleanser. After lunch I have to have a small piece of chocolate at least. If I haven’t stopped by now I never will, why fight it. I am a big fan of hot chocolate as well, made with almond milk, a little brown sugar and 1T of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa.

  2. I’m exactly the same and always crave something sweet after dinner. I agree that it’s probably a habit from a childhood of nightly desserts.

    In fact my parents (well, now my mum) still has dessert every night.

    If I’m being healthy I try to just have a low fat chocolate hot drink (like cocoa)… Of course if I’m not… then… well, let’s not go there!


    • You are the second one to mention cocoa. Good idea! My mom would probably laugh at this post, and the notion that I blame “her” for this. I don’t:)

  3. Sometimes I do, and I usually have (unsweetened) coffee or tea instead. It works most of the time. ^^

  4. I don’t really crave something sweet after a meal, and I’m a bit relieved that I don’t .. that would make this journey even harder! :p

  5. How interesting that this is something I’ve never even THOUGHT about, so no, thankfully, I don’t or never have craved anything sweet after a meal. I suspect you are on to something in that it’s a holdover from childhood memories of dessert following a meal. We never had dessert after a meal and rarely, had it at all. Probably a big reason sweets are not my biggest problem. Now, my spouse on the other hand….that’s a different story. Only it’s right before bed. They ate ice cream EVERY night. It was a ritual that MIL continues to this very day.

    Another great thing about BlogLand….sometimes it reminds me that there are “issues” others have that I don’t and to be grateful for that! Of course, I could write a similar post about the BREAD/ROLLS/BISCUITS/CORNBREAD we had with every meal. Now there’s my cravings!!!

    • Well, you know how I feel about bread stuff! It is interesting to think back and consider which food “issues” came from our past. Or which we created somewhere along the way.

  6. Miz

    Im a SALT person.
    and in a bigbadBLOATy way 🙂
    So I always save room fer the salt 🙂

  7. Yes, as I grew up, we always ended with dessert – sweet desserts or should I say desserts! I was fat! So, yes, Karen, I still want to end that way. Since I eat mini meals & even at dinner time, I am not super full from what I eat & I have planned into my day for that treat per se in the early eve. IT is not a real treat like my weekend cookies but I might have like a portion size of these animal cookies/crackers they have at Costso – the Disney ones. Not a lot of calories or fat for the portion size.. I think 13 or 14 cookies & I can crunch on them for a bit & that makes it all good for me. Then I brush my teeth! 🙂

  8. KLA

    I know what you mean. I talked to my CB therapist about the need for something sweet after a meal (especially on weekends when dessert was more expected). So, thereafter if I had a need to taste something sweet, I would suck on a hard candy.

    For months I did this. The need for something sweet decreased and I haven’t bought hard candy from the grocery store since October.

    Now, when the need for something sweet arises after dinner, I am now open to eating fruit whereas before I wanted to eat a dessert, such as ice cream, cookie and such.

    • That’s interesting. I would think sucking on the sugary candy would only reinforce this. Hmmm. I will often do fruit myself now. But, what gets me thinking is I’m not hungry, physically, just want that “finish.”

  9. I definitely like something sweet to sort of round out the day. I don’t crave it at lunch or breakfast but always in the evening. Much of this is natural instinct… seeking sugar for energy is in our genes. We can circumvent those things to a large degree, but it’s absolutely natural to want to pair savory and sweet… or salty followed by sweet. Professional chefs make a living determining what goes best together. It’s all about planning… planning for those calories in the day.

  10. I think this post was secretly written for me. I am and always have been the one who seeks out something sweet at the end of dinner. Breakfast? No, thanks. Lunch? Nope. Dinner? Completely different story. Of course, I don’t just think about it, because if I did I wouldn’t think of anything else. So, I get out the Ghiridelli chocolate chips from the freezer and suck on a serving of those. That seems to do the trick….sometimes.

    • I’m picturing that now and smiling. And it makes me think of my grandmother who kept chocolate chips (but the cheap kind, not Ghiridelli) in her freezer. She’d pull them out when we visited to put on top of vanilla ice cream. Showing love with food. I don’t think I could keep chips around. Oh they would be calling my name.

  11. Usually, I do like that “bite of something sweet” after most meals, but it doesn’t have to be a full-out dessert. A hershey’s kiss or something along those lines usually does the trick!

  12. I didn’t always have dessert growing up. It just wasn’t what our family did. For a while as an adult I would abstain from sweet wonderfulness after dinner, but life is so much better without it.

    Sometimes I can convince my body that adding dried cranberries to high fiber cereal counts. Normally I go for something in the “Skinny Cow” arsenal, which does satisfy and doesn’t send my waistline back to scary numbers.

    • Now don’t get me started on skinny cows! When those ice cream sandwiches first came out I ate them a lot. And by a lot, I mean more than one in a sitting! I don’t buy their stuff anymore:(

  13. When I was growing up we always had dessert but it was nothing exciting. It was usually a few canned peach slices, jello with fruit cocktail or a couple of canned plums. When I got married and started preparing my own meals, we never had dessert. Now dessert is usually a holiday thing. When we eat out, we never “save room for dessert.” Honestly, I’m way too thrifty to pay the price of dessert at restaurants. 🙂

    • We are the opposite! When we go out with our friends about every 6 weeks, it is a decadent meal from start (appetizers) to finish (always dessert but sometimes shared).

  14. I definitely crave something sweet after a meal, no matter how large or small. I’ve tried all of the tactics you mentioned including brushing my teeth. For me that works the best too, but I don’t automatically do it.

    Like you, I’ve struggled with the eating when I’m not hungry part of the issue too. Once I let my guard down in that area, things can really get ugly fast.

    I hope one of us comes up with a good solution soon. In the meantime, I’m going to try and brush more. I’m sure my dentist won’t mind.

  15. YES!!!!! I am the type of person that needs to end my “day of eating” with something sweet. I tried to avoid it for a long time but then I’d over eat on sweets. I realized that I will always want a dessert of some kind so I work it into the day. I save some calories for dessert and I choose something small to give me the taste without being indulgent.

  16. Always need something sweet…and I’ll rummage around the fridge waiting for something new to appear that will satisfy me. Unfortunately the magic fridge has stopped working 😦
    (so I go for the chocolate in the cupboard)

  17. Jan

    I’m just typing out loud, stream of consciousness style while the house is in a dull roar…

    I can’t decide to focus on your question or on your post because they are so intertwined. The word “ritual” comes to mind with dessert, different from a habit because of the rite associated with the social and often celebratory nature of food. Dessert was not a ritual growing up but a very special occasion often eaten at restaurants or at Dairy Queen-like places with all 6 of us sitting and laughing in the summer evenings. Might partially explain my former drive-through urge for carbs and desire to eat sweets when lonely.

    Enjoying sweet food seems like part of humanness. (Why else have those receptors on our tongues?) Ending a meal with something sweeter and healthy does not seem like a problem. These days I often will eat grapes or an apple. If I just want the taste of something sweet hot peppermint tea works.

    My question for you is if you are maintaining and eating something sweet does not spin you out of control or, or…. What is at the heart of your internal musing? (Besides getting us all to think about our eating patterns, which was well done!)

    • Well, I guess I’d say a couple of things in response to what you ask. The first is that it is just something I was aware of and thinking through and thought would be interesting for a post. But second is that it CAN spin out of control. It is rather like my eating as a whole that way. Some days I’m cruising along, eating well, no cravings. Some days – bam. And when I start a long period of “struggling,” with more cravings and more giving in to cravings, there is often more “sweet” stuff there.

  18. I do crave something sweet after dinner on occasion, but thankfully not every single night. If/when I do have that desire, I usually satisfy it with a small orange or maybe half a pear…some sort of fruit. On a *very* rare occasion I may have a small piece of chocolate (like a single “midgee” tootsie roll or a bite-size york peppermint patty).

    My children; however, are a whole other story! They want dessert *all* the time! After breakfast they will both look at me and ask, “Can we have something sweet now?” My four-year-old daughter is worse than my seven-year-old, but both drive me crazy with that stuff. Even before I was on a journey to health we did not have sweet stuff 24/7. We did not have dessert every night after dinner (maybe a few times a week), and I certainly did not give them “dessert” after breakfast! LOL – Not sure where that came from, honestly.


    • My boys are much older. One hardly eats sweets at all! (Of course he doesn’t eat veggies either.) The other is a candyholic but snacks on it sometimes, not like me as a response to meals, I think. He’s skinny. I wonder what I’d think and do if I could eat anything and not have a weight issue with it.

  19. I like my something sweet after lunch. After dinner… not so much.

    Tell me more about this chocolate tea?????

    • Check out Republic of Tea. You can find them on their own site and some of the specialty stores here carry them. The one I like is “coconut cocoa” herbal tea. They also have a chocolate strawberry and a chocolate peppermint and…

  20. Hmmmm…There are times when I do want a little something sweet after dinner, but not usually RIGHT after. And I’ve gotten to the point where I have to actually be hungry for it, too. I have found that if I eat too much (and “too much” has changed over the years) sweets after dinner, I don’t sleep well, my anxiety kicks in, I have night sweats, and so on, so it’s not worth it unless I really do have a hankering. These days, all it takes is a small bit of whatever. And it has to be really good quality whatever or else it’s not worth it. The other night my hub and I went to his company holiday party and the dessert was really not that great. I took one bite and thought, “this really isn’t that great.” I took a second bite to make sure, and that was it. I was done.

    • I soooo need to do that! The part about not having something it it isn’t great. I tend to think “I never have this at home so I should take advantage and have it here.” Funny thing is my sweet is often NOT good quality. Although the Jello people might disagree:)

  21. Roz

    HI Karen. I’m fortunate I guess, I don’t really crave sweets after meals. But I crave cheese. ALOT. Before meals, in meals, after meals…. Have a wonderful Monday.

  22. I do crave something sweet once in awhile. A date or a fig is a sure cure for that craving!

    • My husband eats a lot of figs. The dried kind. He buys big bags at Costco. I haven’t tried one because I’m afraid I’ll like them too much and eat a lot!

  23. How many of us always had sweets available to us or heard, “If you eat…you can have dessert.” It’s no wonder so many of us crave a sweet ending.

  24. I always have a snack sometime after dinner, usually a piece of fruit or sometimes some popcorn 🙂

    I have also started eating a tiny bit less at dinner so that I can allot for those calories 🙂

  25. Oh my gosh!!! I feel like you wrote this for me. I am always wanting something sweet after I eat! Never after my breakfast, but always after Lunch and Dinner!

    This is one of the reasons I gave up the Coke Zero (aspartame) and white flour foods because it makes me want, want want! I think I am in such a mindset now that I feel like I always need something.

    Perhaps it will go away …. what a blessing if it did.

    • I have read about artificial sweeteners causing sweet cravings in people. When I tried to cut them our I really missed them! Maybe I need to try to recondition my tastes again.

  26. I always eat dessert. Usually a SF Klondike Bar. At least now I don’t usually eat dessert with lunch, just dinner. Except for this time of year, when I bring a Christmas cookies or two to enjoy mid-afternoon ….

  27. yep. and this time of year, with all the dinner invitations and neighborhood parties and family get togethers – it’s murder. By sugar. By caffiene. I don’t know what to do about it except make a change in january. usually when i get that needing something sweet after dinner – i let myself – just enforce some portion control. Lindher balls? they’re the best. so sweet and chocolaty and one “ball” does it. Now – any suggestions to stop my need for popcorn each and every night???

    • LOL – I don’t have that problem at all because the darn popcorn gets caught in my dental work. That’s a big deterrent and I haven’t eaten it in years!

  28. I do like something sweet after I eat, but not always. Sometimes the food is enough. I get by (and keep moving forward on losing weight) by have just a taste or a bite of a little something most of the time. Although I do budget in and plan for bigger sweets or treats that come with special occasions.

    I learned that trick about brushing (and flossing!) your teeth when you crave something years ago from weight watchers. I do it even more now!

  29. I think it is conditioned response. I have a theory about the difference between a craving and an urge….I would say the urge to eat something sweet after a meal is more based on circumstance than true longing. An urge is like going to the movies and getting popcorn — even though you aren’t hungry — because of the smell or the experience. Cinabon does it too…..

    So the gum or a hot beverage is a great trick – -if you are trying to not eat when you aren’t hungry. I just recognize it for what it is — an impulse based on an irge.

  30. On the bright side you are able to satisfy it with relatively few or no calories.

    That also explains your guests exclaiming “pudding!” when they peeked in your fridge.

    If you included the apple or what not in your dinner you would not feel angsty about it I bet.

    It is hard to get such satisfaction with so few consequences as your choices.

  31. Dawn

    I use to think I needed a treat after each meal…its a habit I picked up from my husband when we got together. I stopped that but had the same issue with soda….I’m a very picky drinker and would only drink soda or water…that’s it. Now it’s just water

  32. Ah, yes. Dessert. My grandmother had dessert for every meal of the day. I kid you not. So, of course, we had dessert with every dinner. (My mom is a fabulous baker.) And I can’t seem to end a dinner without craving something sweet either. Gotta love family ‘traditions’! Sweet CAN be healthy and delicious though…I MUST remember that!!

    Good luck this holiday season!

  33. I feel like a meal’s not complete until I’ve had dessert! I think I’ll always feel that way – I try to find healthier alternatives, like dried fruit, but for a sit-down meal, I want to finish it with dessert!

  34. Always. Except now it’s limited to a sugar-free pudding, or a Skinny Cow or Weight Watchers ice cream, or a 100 calorie pack of cookies. I must confess though, to having a few bites of fudge and whatnot that’s been littering every available counterspace at work. Thank god the holidays are ending soon!~

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