There are several reasons why we have cravings for sweets after meals:
Habits are develop over time and are hard to break. The best way to break a habit is to make small modifications. If you are used to 1 full cup of ice cream, the next time you grab the ice cream container, reach for 3/4 cup instead and gradually reduce it to 1/2 cup. If you are used to rich, full cream ice cream, try to get a healthier option such as low fat or frozen yogurt.
2. We are still hungry
The size of our stomach is about 4-6 cups. If we eat foods that are big in volume (water rich food such as rice & noodles), soups, vegetables and fruits, we will be stuffed and have less cravings for dessert. When the stomach is full, the small intestine will shut off and produce a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) that sends a message to the brain to stop eating. This is the reason why buffet restaurants still make money :-). No matter how large is our appetite; our stomach has a limited capacity.
3. Our meals are boring.
One of the reason why people love to go to buffets (other than to get value for their dollars) is because the variety of the foods served. Our palates love variety. When we are bored with our meals, we tend to look for "variety" in desserts. This is the reason why a strict diet usually doesn't work in the long run.
In Asian Slim Secrets, I discuss about the foods that made you full (even stuffed) with low calories; thus you will have less temptation for sweets.
Asian foods are rich in water, fiber & resistant starches. They make you stuffed and prevent you from overeating. That's why most Asian restaurants don't sell dessert. Okay...in the US, they give you fortune cookies...:-)