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The Mid-afternoon Craving - A Dangerous Time For Dieters

Sunday, March 27, 2011
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It was 2.30 pm and Jenny a staff writer with a leading newspaper had been working nonstop for the past seven hours on an article due for submission in 30 minutes! Her brain felt fried, stress was palpable, the wrenching feeling in her stomach needed soothing and the coffee was doing nothing to assuage her nerves as the words just weren’t flowing “A Donut! Will someone get me a loaded donut,” she yelled out.

As she finished editing and reviewing her last sentence – she told herself - it’s finally time to chill! She suddenly felt hungry as the donut had whetted her apetite for more. Turning to her good friend Sarah, she asked if they could order a Big Mac and milkshake each! Time to de-stress after a tough day! For a split second the guilty feeling hit home. What was she upto? She was supposed to be watching her weight and eating healthy.

The low down - Improper meal times, unhealthy drinks, inadequate food intake, skipping meals, overindulging are some of the endless ways of sabotaging your diet.

Recently researchers for the Atkins diet in Britain surveyed 1250 people to find out why they failed to stick to their diets. Interestingly, they found that 62% of them deviated from their prescribed diets in the mid afternoon as compared to 16% in the morning and 22% late at night. Mid afternoon seemed to be the most dangerous time of the day for persons trying to abide by their diets.

Why does this happen?

  • 56% blamed it on stress
  • 26% blamed boredom
  • 8% quoted afternoon treats by colleagues as the reason for them to give up their “good intentions”

Often a dip in energy levels in the afternoon could add to a craving for the wrong foods in the afternoon. At other times, food could simply be used as an emotional crutch.



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User Comments

05 July, 2011 | Faiza Abbasi | Reply

Faiza Abbasi I fully agree that one should not walk too hungry to the next meal and avoid this by taking a healthy snack. It also keeps away the feeling of deprivation and contributes to the success of the diet plan. i want to add some options of healthy snack particularly suitable for mid-afternoon accompanied with green tea. I tried mixed dal idli with green chutney, bhel without poori, boiled chana with cuchumber salad, safed matar ki chaat and kachalu (slices of boiled potato tossed with katha meetha seasoning or tamarind cutney). One can also try stuffed uttapam spread with minimal oil on a non stick pan. The Dhokla and Khandvi can also be served if the tempering is spared.

06 July, 2011 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Hi Faiza, some good snack suggestions indeed - most of the time if people remember to keep the snack portion small and appropriate to a snack serving they should be fine - its when one has a couple of servings in between meals or has a larger portion - that the snack becomes a problem. Thanks for your post.

31 March, 2011 | Swapna Raghu | Reply

Swapna Raghu I work for almost 12 hours a day with lots of meetings and calls to attend. Can you please suggest some snack that I can carry to the meetings and also not feel embarassed about eating in front of my team.

01 April, 2011 | Parul Bhatnagar | Reply

Parul Bhatnagar Hi Swapna,
Green tea, Sprouts Chaat, small vegetable rolls made of whole wheat stuffed with some veggies, Fruit pancakes, mini vegetable idli are few more snack you can take in addition to what already suggested earlier.

01 April, 2011 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Hello Swapna,
You could have a handful of roasted nuts, roasted gram, fruits, a slice of cheese, a granola bar, a cup of yogurt, a glass of buttermilk, a glass of coconut water,salads or a sandwich. All of these make healthy snacks and can also be eaten with the team. Infact you can start a trend of everybody eating a fruit as a mid morning or mid afternoon snack, so that no one is tempted to order fried savouries or snacks, especially during the mid afternoon.

30 March, 2011 | Parul Bhatnagar | Reply

Parul Bhatnagar Taking mid morning and mid afternoon snack daily also gives you chance to add good serving of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Butter milk and yogurt with herbs like mint helps to decrease acidity and abdominal gas.

30 March, 2011 | Poonam | Reply

Poonam I couldn't agree more with Sangeetha and Vijaylakshmi. I would also like to add that everyone MUST start the day with a filling healthy breakfast followed by a small healthy snack every 2/3 hours in addition to an adequate lunch and dinner. This ensures a stable blood sugar level throughout the day and thus a sustained supply of energy to the tissues. This will cut out the risk of cravings, which are usually the cause of unhealthy snacking.

29 March, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar I agree with Sangeetha that its the large gaps between meals that lead to cravings. Its best to ensure that every 2-3 hrs people have a small or mini meal such as a few fruit slices, a fistful of nuts, 1/2 a cup of yogurt, a glass of lassi even a couple of high fibre biscuits with some tea or coffee. These foods not only increase your metabolism, but also help to avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks.
Large gaps cause collection of abdominal gas leading to a lot of discomfort, which can also be avoided.

29 March, 2011 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Many people who are watching their weight do not understand the importance of mid morning and mid afternoon snack. These snacks are what keeps us from over indulging during our lunch and dinner.

Fruits, Sprouts, low fat milk shakes and smoothies (without sugar of course), home made spiced poha/puffed rice, corn cob (1/2 cob) steamed or roasted are good snack options.

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