While the evening is the time when our metabolism begins to slow down, it’s also the time when our chances of snacking or eating a cheat meal are greater than at any other time of the day . Many of us eat religiously until lunchtime, but sometime around 4 p.m. the cravings strike and we are tempted to tuck into junk or unhealthy foods for ready availability for solace in the high-calorie after a hectic first half of the day Eating out at work or out of sheer boredom. So for many of us, what we eat at night could have a big impact on our weight loss and the reason for that unexpected weight gain, despite eating healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Also read: Work-from-Home Snacks: Popcorn with Roasted Chickpeas; 7 Healthy Recipes for Those Cravings)
“A common problem faced by most of my clients is that they can stick to the diet very well up to lunchtime, but 4pm snacking is usually the time they get off the board and the effort of the whole day seems to be in vain,” says Avantii Deshpaande, gut health expert and nutritionist, in an interview with HT Digital.
WHY WE BREAK RULES AT 4 PM
Avantii says one of the many reasons 4 p.m. snacking is unhealthy is boredom, especially when you’re in the office and delicious food seems like a perfect break and often a reasonable food selection may not be available while the choice is being made unhealthy foods or junk food becomes easier.
“Sometimes around 4 p.m. you feel very hungry, and that can be a time to eat a big meal and keep dinner light,” says the nutritionist.
Avantii also suggests the 3 worst and 2 best foods to eat as an evening snack when you are plagued by hunger pangs.
EVENING SNACKS TO AVOID
1. Junk food or high carbohydrate foods
Junk food like samosas, puffs, or other baked goods are readily available at the tea stalls, along with high-sugar tea or coffee. If you’re at home, too, grab fried snacks or low-calorie foods at 4 p.m. Baked goods contain trans fats, which raise triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a powerful carcinogen, not to mention the high calories that come from saturated fats with virtually no food. Even fried snacks like Namkeen, waffles, or cookies consumed with tea are virtually nutrient-less and are actually high in empty calories and fat. It is best to avoid these around 4 p.m.
2. Only fruit or fruit juices
Of course, fruits are nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. But let’s not forget that fruits are high in the simple sugar fructose. High fructose is known to affect the digestive system and can also lead to high levels of uric acid in the body. It is best to combine fruit with nuts or nut butter. This way the fructose is slowly absorbed as protein and the good fats from the nuts slow this process down. Another way to consume fruit is by making a nut milkshake or then eating fruit with unsweetened yogurt.
Many people only consume fruit juice at 4pm as it is readily available, or then as a substitute for tea. Fruit juices raise blood sugar levels immediately and contain no fiber. Fruits like watermelon also contain sugar. So it’s always better to have a whole fruit with vegetables and then prepare a juice like carrot, watermelon, and spinach juice with chia seeds.
3. Tea and coffee only
Many people drink simple tea or coffee at 4 p.m. Often it can cause acidity, especially when it is strong. Another thing is that if tea and coffee have added sugar, that could be another reason that is causing insulin levels to spike. In that case, pair the tea or coffee with healthy snacks like makhanas, khakhras and nuts, or then eat it with a nut butter chapati roll or just an open sandwich.
EVENING SNACKS TO EAT
1. Protein-rich snack
Many people feel extremely hungry at 4pm and would like to have a large snack and keep dinner light. That’s actually a brilliant idea. You can choose to have a small meal or repeat the breakfast selection at 4pm. Be sure to eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates or just a protein snack. For example egg sandwiches or rolls, oatmeal or breakfast cereal and milk, idli, dosa or dal dosa. A paneer paratha or sandwich is also a good idea.
This works well if you can’t have a salad portion at lunchtime or are missing it at dinner anyway. Be sure to add a protein serving along with the veggies in the salad, e.g. B. Paneer, eggs, soy nuggets, nuts, chicken or fish. Eat about 250g to 300g of the salad portion.
HOW ABOUT SKIP ON DINNER SNACKS?
“A lot of people have done this. There is no right or wrong if you want to follow that. Just think of these things – keep lunch balanced and make sure dinner isn’t late, which could lead to hypoglycemia or overeating at dinner. Many people eat lunch and have an early dinner without a 4 p.m. snack, which in itself is a good idea. This ensures you have an early dinner two hours before bed. But make sure that dinner isn’t very late,” says Avantii.
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