Thinking of Skipping Dinner? Think Again!
Optimise your dinner: Here are ways to get the most out of the last meal of the day.
One really terrible mistake a lot of people are making these days is skipping dinner or at least trying to.
This is how it pans out usually:
By the evening you realise that you are having a bad calorie day, thanks to endless munching while gazing at the screens (after all kitchen and cabinets are just a few steps away), entering one webinar / online meeting after another absolute inactivity, all thanks to working from home - and you still have to tackle dinner.
Now to make matters worse it’s almost dinner time and you are hungry, very much so (because junk eating does not mean that you are satiated, nor can it take the place of a main meal).
Raise your hands in you are part of the club.
(Do it, no one is judging you.)
So should you brace yourself (or even chain yourself) and skip the dinner, or is there a less punishing way out?
Well the good news is that your body gives you second chances; it’s not absolutely rigid or unforgiving. All you have to do is be smart about it, and not a shirker. Please understand that after a long day full of work / activities / stress, your body needs to fuel up. Not eating is as bad as eating too much at this meal. Besides a good, healthy dinner is linked to good sleep, and compromising on your sleep is the easiest way to bust your wellness quotient.
What you need is a three step approach to tide over a day like that!
First what not to do. Don’t please skip the meal! Skipping will put your metabolism on back foot, may even bring it to a grinding halt, and you’ll feel deprived. Basically it’ll do more damage than good!
But you can’t obviously gorge on a calorie fest here, so the next step is to have a light dinner, choosing foods judiciously, so that the meal is filling and satisfying!
Just nibbling on an apple might (will) not work, but having an interestingly put together salad with a bowl of soup will definitely do the trick.
Or you could simply boil two eggs, spread atop salsa (or mint chutney if that’s what you prefer), atop a nice thick satisfying slice of brown(or better still sourdough) bread and wash down with cold soup!
You’ll sleep well that night for sure.
Days like this will happen – just recall how many times over the last fortnight, huge lunches or excessive munching have taken away a sizeable chunk of your daily calorie quotas?
So it’ll help to get out of denial and stay prepared instead.
Make a list of five such low cal, high fibre, satisfying dinner menus (sandwiches, meals in a bowl, salads, whole-wheat pasta dishes, etc) and keep it somewhere handy.
Maybe pasted on your kitchen cupboard or refrigerator.
Make sure you add at least one happy ingredient to each of your menus.
Could be a dribble of low fat cheese spread, sprouts, egg whites, cottage cheese or even pineapple chunks – if that’s what makes you really happy! This will ensure compliance – without which the whole idea goes kaput!
Now we come to the third step.
You will have to step up the exercise to make up for the bad calorie day.
No skipping this step! Burning extra calories will help balance out the extra that you have wolfed down.
Go for a 20 minutes stroll after dinner, walk extra or walk twice the next day, or simply dance to your favourite (music) noise for 30 minutes next afternoon! Whatever!
Take your pick, but make up or balance as quickly as possible.
Research shows that when families dine together, they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits and fewer fried foods, soda, and foods with trans fats.
So making dinner meal a communal one with the entire family sitting together and eating (instead of in separate rooms gazing at screens) might actually be the best step to help you (and your family) stay both healthier and thinner.
Family dinner is actually about nourishment—physical and emotional. It’s about connection. It’s about family. So I suggest make dinner your family’s daily connection zone that provides nourishment, both physiological and emotional
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
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