Do you feel low on energy in the evening?
Do you go for an extra serving of rice for dinner?
Do you keep staring at the clock for the lunch break despite eating a king-sized breakfast?
If the answer is a yes, it’s time to make a small change in your eating pattern: eat mid-meals.
Have two snacks along with your main meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and within weeks, you’ll feel lighter, happier and brighter. An in-between snack goes a long way to keep you in perfect shape and in good spirits.
Without further ado, let’s understand how this slight tweak can reap big benefit.
You hit the gym so that you burn the extra flab. Similar to exercise, digestion is a calorie-burning activity on its own. For every calorie you eat, your body needs calories to digest it. Snacking between meals gives your body an internal workout; you are making your body work constantly and burn calories to digest food. This activity gives a huge boost to your metabolism. And an increased metabolism results in weight loss.
Also, your body is working 24*7 and needs a regular dose of energy. With long intervals between meals, your body goes into fat storing mode and breaks down muscles – instead of fat - for energy. This decrease in muscle mass and increase in fat percentage lowers your metabolic rate. Snacking between meals reduces muscle wastage and keeps fat burning at its peak – a full-proof plan to lose the extra weight!
Tab on Overeating
When you eat lunch at 2 and dinner at 10, with only cups of tea or coffee in between, it’s impossible to resist eating an extra roti, namkeen or mithai at dinner. Such a long gap between two meals triggers uncontrollable hunger pangs and expands your appetite.
In-between snacks reduce the portion size of your main meals. By grabbing a tea-time snack, you are less likely to overindulge at supper. After all, those butterflies won’t be growling in your stomach. And along with the extra calories, you’ll be inviting acidity, bloating and indigestion problems.
Sugar Levels and Cravings in Control
When you eat a large portion of food at a time, your sugar levels increase. So the pancreas releases massive amounts of insulin to move that extra glucose into your cells. With all the excess sugar diverted towards the cells, your sugar levels fall; you need an instant pick-me-up. As a result, you crave for something sugary. Smart snacking balances your cravings, insulin, and sugar levels beautifully.
Grab Your Nutrient Quota
Healthy snacks like roasted chana with peanuts, hummus with pita bread or a paneer wrap are loaded with taste and health. With an ideal combination of healthy fats and proteins, these munchies curb cravings for junk food. Besides eating too much protein at a time isn’t a good idea since proteins are difficult to digest. Through mid-meals, you can evenly distribute and meet your protein requirement. What’s more, when you eat a small portion, it’s easier for your stomach to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Long intervals between meals cause peaks and dips in your sugar levels. After the immediate post-meal sugar high, you’ll experience an almost immediate energy slump. You feel lazy, fatigued, irritable and dizzy. But by chomping a mid-meal, your body gets its steady supply of glucose that keeps you bursting with energy all day long!
While snacking is integral to weight loss and increased productivity, you should make healthy choices to gain maximum benefits.
Here are Some Nutritious Options
Mid-morning snack: A light snack such as fruit with a handful of sunflower/pumpkin seeds, milkshake, buttermilk and roasted chana or a bowl of sprouts will boost your metabolism and promote satiety.
Evening snack: A wholesome snack such as paneer roll, sprouts bhel or idli sambhar will keep your dinner light.
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(As a nutritionist for Dish Hospitality, Vishruta has chalked out menus for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Morgan Stanley. As a blogger, she focuses on teaching the art of eating smart. Love food, love life - that's her mantra.)