One of my cherished childhood memories with food is the evening snack! On the way back home from school, I used to think about what would be today’s snack? I remember relishing traditional options like Poha, Upma, Thalipeeth, Uttappa sometimes a healthier version just a mix fruits with sprouts, roasted corn cob, boiled groundnuts etc.
While we are all aware of the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the evening snack is equally important. We often take good efforts to have a healthy, sumptuous breakfast but, more often than not look over the evening snacks. The well-known saying is “Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dine like a Pauper”. But, how is one supposed to eat like a pauper if feeling very hungry at dinner time? The answer is – we should naturally feel less hungry at the dinner time. And for that, we must have a small meal 2-4 hour before dinner. It is completely ok if you do not feel that hungry for dinner after having evening snacks. In fact, that is the main purpose of it. You can cut down on the dinner portion size.
My common observation with my players has been that most have a long meal gap between lunch & dinner. It is as good as 7-8 hours. Having frequent meals is extremely crucial when it comes to maintaining weight. It has a series of health benefits. Yet evening times slips out of our hand because of some or the other reason.
Reasons for skipping evening snacks:
- Lack of time
- Lack of Appetite
- Not habitual
- Unaware of its importance
- Running out of options
Out of this only, the 2nd point is valid. If you really do not feel hungry by evening time, you may skip it. But otherwise, we must have it on a regular basis. It is better to keep fix timing for it. This can be 3 to 4 hours post lunch.
Reasons for having evening snacks:
- Lowers a gap between Lunch & Dinner
- Helps sustain till dinner time
- Controls acidity, bloating and other digestive problems
- Keeps blood sugar level maintained
- Keeps energetic for 2nd half of the day
- Helps controlling portion size in lunch
- Helps in having lighter in dinner
- Keeps BMR high
- Mentally relaxes at the end of your work
- Provides required nutrients if exercise is in the evening
If your exercise session is in the evening; it becomes mandatory to have your evening snacks. As it is your pre workout meal. Working on an empty stomach will not give desired results. The next question could be what to eat at this time? The choice of food is equally important.
It can be similar to your breakfast options: Poha, Upma, Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Vegetable or egg/ chicken sandwich, Whole wheat roll or Frankie, Sukha Bhel, boiled sprouts etc.
Not that hungry? The try a mixture of fruits, dry fruits, nuts, roasted peanuts, corn cob, sprouts, boiled eggs etc.
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So what are you waiting for? Try it & see how different you feel.
P.S. This is a prequel of my blog Why dinner should be the lightest meal of the day?