The What And When Of Eating

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert..

Does it matter what time you eat a particular food? Is there a list of foods that must you indulge in throughout the day for optimal health and performance?  Well yes, food timings are important for good health, simply because foods are information and medicinal tools for the body. What you eat has a great impact on how you feel, function, and store calories in the body.

The foods eaten during the day have a significant impact on the body’s metabolism, activity levels, and the calories obtained from the food eaten. For example - metabolism is the highest in the morning and slows down until night, hence it is prudent to indulge in higher caloric, nutrient-rich food in the first half of the day to give you optimal energy throughout the day. 

When should you eat fruits?

Foods like fruits that are high in natural vitamins, antioxidants and fibre must be eaten at the right time for the best results. Fruits contain a natural sugar called fructose which can be easily converted to fat in the body when consumed post 2 pm in the day. Hence, the ideal time to eat fruits is in the morning or as a mid-day snack. It is best to avoid eating fruits with a meal to prevent high blood sugar levels. Avoid eating fruits over a meal as it can cause indigestion.

What to eat before morning workouts?

Let’s look at few instances when you may be a little confused about what to eat and also understand how you can help your body perform its best! The most common question is, what to eat before a morning workout. The usual practice is going empty stomach before working out in the morning. Exercising an empty stomach is like expecting a car to run without fuel! Hence pre-workout meal is imperative. It is equally important to give the body the right nutrients to exercise well. The ideal pre-workout meal must consist of complex carbohydrate such as red rice poha or dalia along with lean protein like eggs. If you find it difficult to eat in the morning, you can indulge in fruit like apple/ pear with walnuts and eggs.

 What is the right breakfast while trying to lose weight?

The next question is - what to eat for breakfast when trying to lose weight. An ideal breakfast will help kickstart the metabolism and help with stabilized blood sugar levels, sustained energy levels and prevent cravings throughout the day. Examples of good breakfast are moong dal – besan chilla with eggs or paneer or stuffed paneer paratha.

How to deal with midnight hunger pangs?

The next most common question is what to eat at night when you are hungry. It is important to understand that the body metabolism is the lowest at night and it is important to choose foods wisely. A quick question to ask yourself before eating is, what am I going to do in the next 3 hours? Usually, the answer is sleep or relax; this is the time you do not need extra calories! Good food options to eat a night are moong sprouts, peanut salad, eggs, raw nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower with milk.

Remember, ideal meals must consist of complex carbohydrates such as red rice poha, vegetable paratha, dalia along with good quality protein such as dals, paneer, fish, chicken and eggs, and good fats that come from ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and rice bran. Good fillers are nuts, seeds, veg juices, salads and high fibre fruits. Maintain a balance and eat the right foods at the right time to stay healthy.

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