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Usually, snack time or the 4 pm to 6 pm slot is considered as a permissible time to eat unhealthy street food. The reason is that between 4 to 6 pm you are usually in office or college and don't have access to homecooked food (unless you carry homemade snacks with you). Many also wrongly believe that it is okay to cheat during snack time if the other meals are healthy. Did you know about the calories in Indian street food? If you find yourself munching on samosas, vada pavs, biscuits and farsan during snack time, you must read celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar's take on snacks. She says that you must have a wholesome meal between 4-6 pm in the evening. Here's why you need to eat healthy and what you should eat for snacks.
Our hormone cortisol follows a natural cycle, it rises in the morning allowing you to start fresh with clear bowels, and drops in the evening, to allow for a restful sleep in the night. Waking up fresh and quality of sleep is important because it has an impact on your metabolic health, your immune response, your hormonal balance and your response to stress.
When we don t eat anything in the evening or kill our appetite with chai or coffee, our body works at producing more cortisol instead of reducing it. This will lead to -
Overeating at dinner
PCOD/ thyroid issues
Insulin insensitivity (leading to diabetes and many other lifestyle diseases)
Some meal options for your 4-6 pm meal whether you are at work, on a train, in college-
1. A handful of groundnuts and chana - regulates appetite, prevents bloating and overeating at dinner time. Do this if you eat early dinners, before 8 pm. Very good meal for diabetics, for those who have PCOD and those with low energy levels in the day.
2. Jaggery, ghee and chapati - if you stay active, work away from home, eat dinner post 9 pm and struggle to sleep well, suffer from constipation or have low haemoglobin levels.
3. Poha/ Upma/ Dosa/ Egg toast/ homemade khakra or mathri/ homemade Goond or Besan laddoo - If your workload increases post evening or you have a party to attend or if you have frequent headaches, leg cramps, low immunity this is a good meal. And if none of the above is possible even a grilled vegetable and cheese sandwich.
4. Chaat / Samosa/ Street food - This is a good time to have it, but only once a week. The worst time to have chaat or street food is dinner.
In all cases, expect dinner quantity to naturally drop over the next 4-5 days. This is normal and an expected outcome.
Most important note The 4-6 pm meal only happens if it s planned in advance. Plan for your whole week today itself.
Start your mornings with these diet tips from Rujuta Diwekar.
Image source: Shutterstock
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