We all have those hectic days when eating takes a back seat. Not eating for hours literally causes us distress, both to your mind and body. Gobbling your food down when you finally sit to eat is not the solution, snacking between meals is. Small portions of food between meals give you a chance to introduce ingredients like dark chocolate and turmeric into your diet. A little snack, does in fact go a long way, explains Anupama Menon.
1. How to tell when you are actually hungry vs. thirsty or bored?
The representation of hunger is more of a habit than anything else so if you’ve eaten and hour back and feel hungry again, drink a glass of water first, before you reach for something to eat. If you are used to constantly eating, you will feel hungry every hour. It is always mind over matter, so if you decide to eat your dinner at 7:30 and don’t eat anything until 8 the next morning, within 3 days or a week, your body will get used to it.
2. What can we eat as alternatives to instant foods that we crave?
When you are tired and working long hours, that is when you crave instant food. Popcorn and murmura work wonderfully because they’re crunchy. You can have a hot cup of milk with dark chocolate in it as it tends to awaken your mind and improves the serotonin uptake in the brain. Once in a while, if you give in to an instant food craving, it’s not such a big deal. When I say once in a while, I mean once a month or once in two months. If you eat healthy 80 per cent of the time and 20 per cent of the time you do give in eat something that is out of the healthy framework, your body can ride over it.
3. Are packaged foods that claim to be healthy actually healthy?
For me, no. Ultimately they have preservatives since they have to be made in large quantities and packed. Remember Sam's Friend Simon that is sugar, fats and salt, you will find processed foods to have one these ingredients in a high quantity.
4. What can we do to cut down on snacking?
If you are have three meals in a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner, remember between lunch and dinner there might probably be 7-8 hours, so don’t cut back. Pick on fruits, nuts, things that you can carry easily. Healthy eating is a like taking up a sport, are you going to be a professional in a few days? No, so what do you do? You keep practising it until you really get good at it. Healthy eating is just like that, it’s a matter of practice and habit.
5. How do we break the habit of snacking at midnight? If I absolutely have to eat something at 12 am, can you give me 5 snack options?
Ideally, you should not be awake at midnight but if you must eat, then have things that will not raise your insulin levels too much. Ghee roasted makhanas, murmura, peanut butter and dark chocolate bits or a hot cup of haldi milk work well. Drink a quarter of a cup at a time and always remember to drink water after and see how full you feel. Small quantities of food work best, since it might just be a craving and not hunger.