Stays awake in the night munch? Everybody loves to be the Batman, eh? Early to bed and early to rise has been long forgotten and I think it’s confined to the books only nowadays. Staying awake till late is very common, especially among the youth. Late night calls, chatting and of course, YouTube and facebooking have become more like a trend. Some of us have night shift jobs and others, some important work or study to do! But one thing that comes along is midnight snacking- I know you can’t help it! However, if midnight snacking is a regular part of your nocturnal routine, you are in for an unnecessary weight gain! Moreover when there is irregularity in your sleeping time and duration, you can experience peculiar health swings!
A group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have recently concluded that people who sleep late are much more likely to consume more calories compared to others, and pile-up the pounds faster. A study on controlled sleep at the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus has revealed that people who are sleep-deprived for a week tend to eat more fatty after-dinner snacks.
When hunger strikes at night, the first instinct is to grab something from the refrigerator to kill the pangs. While you are watching television or reading a book or getting busy with night-chores, your mind stays active and needs fuel to function continuously. That’s where hunger strikes. Though not really hungry, sometimes people are drawn towards food before they hit the hay because it busts stress and comforts them. This fact was stated by dietitians of Bombay Hospital.
Fatty foods comfort you but being hard to digest they interfere with your sleep, ultimately causing an uncomfortable sleep and digestion disorder. Heavy snacks like nachos and pizza slices cost a lot of energy to get digested. Light snacks, preferably the ones rich in roughage, are a better choice.
None of this means that you have to starve yourself when you are awake till late. Here are some tips to make midnight snacking much healthier!
Having eaten all your meals during the day, your body doesn’t need additional calories which come from your night-spree. Simply put, midnight snacking makes your calorie intake much higher than the actual need. This excess results in weight gain eventually. If you’re in the habit of gulping a tub of ice cream or a plateful of instant noodles every other night, don’t hate yourself for that! Bad habits die hard! What you can do is, substitute those fatty snacks with nutritious foods. This way you will feel satiated without risking your health.
If you feel hungry before bedtime, grab a wholesome food that does not hinder with your quality of sleep. Avoid fried, spicy or creamy stuff which can give you a heart-burn and are not easily digestible. It is best to eat low-calorie foods containing tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which accelerates the production of feel-good hormones like niacin and serotonin. Bananas, chicken, oats and honey are some of the most effective serotonin inducers. Switch to roasted snacks instead of fried ones.
Right Source of Sugar:
Make yourself a fruit salad with loads of chilled yogurt and honey, instead of hitting on a cup of ice-cream. Both ice-cream and fruits are sources of sugar, but ice-creams add fats along, so better opt for fruits. Your longing for something salty and spicy should be met with a batch of plain popcorn sprinkled with salt, pepper and chili flakes, instead of a packet of potato chips or French fries.
Smoothies & Shakes:
Being enriched with fruits milkshakes and smoothies are very refreshing, quick to make and a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Blend yogurt with fresh fruits like pineapple, mango, strawberry, kiwi, and orange, and ice in a normal grinder to make a smoothie. To make a milkshake substitute the yogurt with skimmed milk in the same. If you are intolerant to lactose or find it difficult to digest milk at night use soy milk to prepare these items. You may feel lazy to prepare these items yourself and may prefer to buy them from a store, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Milkshakes and smoothies from stores contain fatty ingredients like synthetic syrups.
Give Liquid Diets a Chance:
Sometimes when you are not able to control your desire to snack just before nap-time, you can at least make sure that you eating right. Rushing to the nearest fast-food diner and grabbing a burger should be the last among your thoughts. Oatmeal is the best solution for a situation like this. Boil a bowlful of oats and mix it properly with milk and sugar and eat it. And liquid diet is not just for the old and ill. As a matter of fact, liquid diets are one of the most preferable items to be included in a healthy diet. These diets taste good, make you feel full and get easily digested. Apart from that, they also lower the level of bad cholesterol significantly.
Snacking at midnight is becoming increasingly common as more and more people are getting involved in night-shifts. They do have their dinner at office but still feel the need to stuff their stomach with oily snacks. This can prove harmful in the long run. It adversely affects the metabolism of the body and causes the cholesterol level to go higher. All of this together, not only triggers obesity but also increases the risk of health problems. You should try your best to avoid midnight snacking. If you can’t, make it a point to eat something that gets digested easily without disturbing your sleep.
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