How to make Midnight Snacking healthy?
It’s midnight… and are you craving for food? Do you feel like having a pizza or a burger or a couple of donuts or maybe a few momos? In today’s fast-paced world everyone is busy chasing their dreams and are struggling for their survival. We are working through day and night to become successful. But, do you ever think about what we are losing in the process of getting successful? Are we indirectly hampering our health due to our stressful lifestyle?
Early to bed and early to rise is rarely practised these days
This unhealthy lifestyle of getting late to bed is not only common with adults, but it equally affects urban kids and teenagers. Today, children prefer playing with their gadgets over playing outdoors. Most of them are gadget freaks who spend hours watching movies and playing games on their I-Pads or other tablet devices accompanied with a big bowl of chips, maybe even a few rolls or chocolates till the wee hours of the night.
People like you and me are either staying awake streaming their favourite movie or binge-watching the latest season of the Game of Thrones or cheering for their favourite EPL team or it could just be office work which is making you a nocturnal creature.
Midnight is the time when most people feel a craving for snacks. Even if you’ve had dinner at 8, you’ll again start feeling hungry if you are awake late. Most of us end up eating junk when this happens. Especially for all the health-conscious people, this is one thing which is very unhealthy. Unhealthy, because this does not necessarily mean that one is hungry, it could just be due to boredom or due to being awake or a habit that one has developed over the years.
Health hazards of such behaviour are many – from weight gain to bloating to acid reflux to triggering stress hormones and much more. Taking these health issues into account, let’s see what people usually crave for and what could be a healthier alternative if one can’t control these midnight hunger pangs.
Ice Creams: When you open your fridge and find out a tub full of ice- cream, you would obviously eat it. Who wouldn’t, right? However, instead of gulping down on store-bought ice cream, how about making your own? Just take some ricotta cheese and blend some berries and nuts – your homemade ice-cream is ready!
Craving salty snacks: It could be chips, nachos, fries or a thousand other things – but do you know what all of them have in common? It is full of saturated fats and oodles of salt which can result in an unwanted increase in blood pressure and metabolism, which can lead to stroke and weight gain respectively. So how about having some roasted makhanas, puffed rice, wheat or millets with rock salt and black pepper instead? You can also try having avocados with some yoghurt – this is not only healthy but is absolutely yummy!
Cookies/ Brownies: Cookies and brownies are one of the many indulgences which most people enjoy, especially children. However, these can wreak havoc on the body’s blood sugar balance, spiking it erratically. Instead, have some fruits / homemade brownies/ squeezed sponge Rasgulla (a Bengali sweet) or simply 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate to control that temptation.
Fried Nuts: Rich in trans fats, packaged fried nuts can easily hamper our blood pressure levels, trigger a heart stroke and cause fatigue. Instead, have something sweet with a crunch – mix half a cup of crunchy cereal with a small container of fat-free Greek yoghurt rich in both dietary fiber and protein. Even some fruits like dates, pomegranates can be had along with some nuts and a few pieces of dark chocolate, satisfying the temptations for both sweet and nuts.
Pizza: The all-time favourite pizza, with loads of cheese and bread, can significantly spike up the sugar levels. Instead, one can go for his/her own multigrain toasted pizza at home with a good choice of fresh vegetables and some healthy cheese.
What other options do we have for the midnight binge?
Here I have jotted down a list of healthy snacks which you could binge on at midnight. These are snacks especially for teenagers or youngsters who seldom like eating fruits.
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas/ black grams (Channa)
- 1/2 cup protein mix (a mixture that is easily available with nuts and seeds)
- 1/2 cup roasted wheat (it’s a snack that is available just like puffed rice)
- 1/2 cup roasted Mung beans (Moong)
- 1 medium bowl popcorn (without butter)
- 1 glass of milk (saffron, cardamom can be added; coffee can also be added once in a while but in moderation so as to prevent functional disturbances like sleep issues, irritability and nervousness)
- 1 bowl papaya/ cucumber/ pomegranate
- 2 boiled egg whites (sprinkle rock salt and black pepper over it)
- Boiled Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
- Crunchy Muesli + milk
- Amaranth pop mix
- Wheat Rusks (2)
- Green Tea / Black Coffee / Black Tea with roasted 5-7 almonds
- Sprouts salad (with olive oil dressing)
- Boiled black gram (kala-chana) salad with olive oil dressing
- Homemade Snack Mix (made with roasted nuts and cereals/ grains)
- 1 veg multigrain bread sandwich (2 multigrain bread slices with coleslaw)
Take your last bite before 9 pm to be fitter and healthier. However, if you need to have something late at night go for any of the healthier choices listed above to avoid weight gain and other health issues.