Balance Your Dinner  


Most people today are confused about what to eat or how to eat at dinner time. Some starve all day and overeat at dinner, some skip dinner, some have only soup or salad, some eat at 6 pm and some don’t eat at all. The big question is what’s healthy and what’s ideal?

In today’s circumstances where most of us go to bed between 10:00 or 12:00 midnight eating a dinner at 6pm is not a good idea as you may be tempted to snack late at night or you may not be able to sleep out of hunger. The ideal I would say is to eat at least 2 hours before bedtime, so 7:30 to 8:30 pm would be ideal. In 2 hours most of the carbohydrate in the food would be digested i.e. the chappati, bread, rice, potato or other vegetables and fruit digestion would be complete.

It is very dangerous to skip dinner or any other meal completely as you will stimulate cravings to eat large quantities of food at a later point. e.g. You may go to bed O.K but you may wake up at 2 AM and be so hungry that you go and munch some cookies or raid the fridge of desserts or chocolates and that will cancel all the good work of dieting and exercise you may have done all day.

In my diet counseling the greatest offence one can commit is to skip a meal. Feeding yourself with good, nutritiously balanced meals and fruits and milk throughout the day is the biggest weapon in fighting the Battle of the Bulge. As you eat regularly, the cravings for sweet and fried snacks disappears in a week or two. All those who have come to me saying I can’t live without chocolates or chips rejoice in victory in a couple of weeks when they can see others eating and simply turn away. The only secret is never miss a meal. Even if not so hungry just eat regularly.

Just a soup or salad for dinner or lunch is totally wrong. In a day a person requires calories or energy to function normally and work. However it is not only calories that one needs but also certain balance of nutrients that come from a variety of food. The total amount of nutrients one requires for one day can never be properly absorbed and used if eaten only at one or two meals. I believe that God made the human body to be fed throughout the day at regular intervals. We see that right from birth where the babies feed at very regular intervals all through the day. Therefore I would say that you need to eat balanced meals with different foods at each meal. So when you eat only soup or salad you are getting only one food group i.e. vegetables and that is not a good meal.

Every meal should contain carbohydrate or cereal food like bread, chapatti or rice, etc. along with a protein food i.e. dhal/pulse, milk/milk products or egg or non-veg.Besides this vegetables and fruits can be added. Therefore I strictly say fruits alone or vegetables alone cannot make a meal.

The ideal dinner for me would be dry chappati or phulkas, with dhal or channa, rajma, etc. and a big bowl of salad with curd dressing. Whole-wheat toast and a thick vegetable soup with sprouts or channa or baked beans and a bowl of salad is also good. The sprouts must be cooked to make the protein available.

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