What can I eat for dinner? Should I even eat dinner? Maybe, I should eat a ‘nocarb’ dinner… Don’t these questions perplex most of us? Especially those who believe that ‘food = calories’. Food is the magical fuel that not only nourishes us to live a satisfied, accomplished and happy life but is also the reason you and I are alive. But fearing food is the best way to lose the plot.
And this fear of food doubles when we think of eating at night. Why? Do you believe that when the sun sets, your breathing, circulation or vision reduces? No! This beautiful human body is constantly working, even through the night when we are sleeping. The pumping action of the heart, the breathing through the lungs, the excretory system – all work 24*7, a feat no machine can ever match. Thus, fuelling this body is essential, be it before or after the sun has set.
Don’t sleep on an empty stomach
agree dinner meals should be smaller as compared to our breakfast or lunch; only because our activity gradient reduces as the day progresses (unless you are working night shifts). But dinner is also an important meal, which must never be skipped. Skipping this meal will result in a very large gap between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day.
This can cause ravenous hunger, severe acidity, nausea, blackouts and a disturbed sleep to name some of the most basic sideeffects. Skipping a meal as important as dinner can also be the reason you give in to temptation and crave ‘something sweet’ at night. This happens because you have not filled your bowl well through the day with the right calories (read carbs) and thus will reach out and fill it with the wrong ones (read desserts) – instincts of survival, remember?
What’s the right time to eat?
The earlier you eat your dinner, the better it is, only because you are awake longer and perhaps, a little more active than you’d be too late in the night. When we are awake, our body works at BMR (basal metabolic rate) but when we sleep, its slows down to RMR (resting metabolic rate).
The longer you are awake, the more your body will be able to burn versus burning lesser at rest. But as I said earlier, dinner is an important meal and it should not be skipped. So, definitely eat a light dinner and stay awake for at least two hours post that. Yes, sacrificing your sleep may be the price you have to pay, but you can’t win everywhere.