iconimg Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Petrina D’Souza, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 09, 2012
We all know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a growling stomach. After dragging ourselves to the fridge, the first move is to grab anything that looks filling. Though at the back our minds, we know that the carb-loaded chicken burger isn’t the best idea, we tend to go for it. But if you want to satiate your hunger and not wake up the next morning feeling guilty about binging, then pick that bar of dark chocolate instead or keep a strawberry shake handy.

“It is very essential to eat the correct food items at night. There is no physical activity during sleep, so no calories are utilised. All the calories from the food consumed at night get converted and stored in the body as fat, which leads to weight gain,” explains Mitali Doshi, dietician.

Here are a few options you may want to stock up on in order to binge right:
Milk
“Milk is low on calories and fat content. Plus, it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you sleep well,” explains Doshi, adding, “Calcium and vitamin D in the milk are added bonuses, they are healthy for your bones.”

Vegetables
Veggies may not seem like the most appetising midnight snack, but they are a great solution for diet-conscious bingers. “They are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that your body uses to heal and nourish itself overnight. They are also have high water content, so you tend to feel less dehydrated when you wake up,” explains Doshi.

Popcorn
Whole-grain popcorn (cooked without butter) is the go-to snack if you’re feeling like eating something light. “Not only is popcorn a good source of complex carbohydrates, it’s also low on calories, if you skip the butter,” says Doshi. And yes, for those wondering how popcorn will retain its flavour without the use of butter or salt, there is a solution. “Raid your spice cabinet — use lime powder
to make it tangy, spice it up with cayenne pepper or use a dash of cinnamon to add some sweetness,” says nutritionist Jyothi Sawant. 

Nuts
“Nuts are rich in antioxidants and full of fibre,” explains Doshi, adding, “These nutritious nibbles also help regulate blood sugar and
promote serotonin production in the body.”

Other healthy options
Chocolates made with at least 70 per cent cocoa contain less sugar and more antioxidants than milk and cream.
Sprouts have lesser calories than most carbohydrate and fat-rich foods.
Herbal tea helps fill your stomach and curb hunger pangs. It also works as a relaxant.
Strawberry shake made using blended yogurt, strawberries and a teaspoon of honey works perfectly as a high-protein drink. It also contains digestion-enhancing probiotics.