Evening meals- Good or bad?

Evening meals- Good or bad?

Evening mealsInnumerable myths revolve around weight loss. But such myths only fail the purpose, than help. One very common query from my clients is about eating late evening. “What do I eat in the evenings so that I do not gain weight?” or “Should I stop eating after 6 pm?” or “What is the right time to eat dinner?”

Skipping meals have never helped in weight loss. Skipping dinner has become very common assuming, that it is one of the best ways to lose weight. This ends up being a short lived stint for few days, and end up getting back to eating dinner and maybe eating more calories. This only hampers the metabolism.

Dinner just like breakfast and lunch is an important meal and it is required to eat enough so that we cover our daily requirements, inclusive of energy requirements. There is no substantial proof that eating a very low calorie meal such as soup and salad will suffice. It can only trigger late night hunger pangs and refrigerator raids.

How can you not gain weight by eating in the evening?

  • Divide your meals through out the day. See that you do not more than 1/3rd of your daily energy requirements. Eat the same amount of calories spread throughout the day.
  • Plan your dinner timings better. If you want to eat your dinner at 6pm, plan for a healthy bedtime snack, so that you do not binge.
  • Late dinners, later than 10pm too is not recommended.  The ideal time to eat dinner is between 8–9 pm. This aids digestion and helps to sleep better. Sleep controls our hormones such as leptin which suppresses hunger, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and fat production. When there is sleep deprivation, ghrelin levels increase and this pushes you to uncontrolled snacking and binging. Sleeping on time as well as waking up on time can help yo keep weight in check.
  • Plan your meals in advance so that you are not tempted to order home delivery. Being mentally prepared on what to cook can help you make healthy meals at home.
  • Eat your dinner atleast 2 hours before bedtime
  • Keep healthy snacks in stock such as fruits, nuts, diet soda etc
  • Read books, listen to music, keep the television out of the bedroom so as to keep a cool environment.
  • Exercise can be scheduled in the evening. I have client who prefers to eat dinner by 7pm, hits the gym after 9pm and after a post exercise snack, hits the sack at 11pm. Talk about discipline.
  • Exercising daily too help you to sleep earlier and better.
  • It is always best to stay away from a night cap as alcohol can add on to the calories and hamper sleep as well.

Lastly, It is important to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks within your calories requirements.So it is very safe to eat dinner in the evening. No more pained look at the dinner table!! Eat healthy and exercise daily!!

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *