Based on the observations contained in many internet portals, advice on dietary articles, and advice on different channels, one would assume that there is no healthy dinner as such. Depending on the information in the media, it seems much better to skip the evening meal. Whether that is actually the case, we tried to find out.
People are mainly concerned about the fact that the food eaten in the evening accumulates only as a layer of fat on our hips or abdomen. In fact, this is not the case. One of the most important and important benefits of maintaining nutrition and health is the regularity of meals. Skiping a meal will certainly not bring good weight or health. However, it is true that too much or too much carbohydrates can be stored as fat because the body does not consume it for energy. So just make good choices in the evening.
“It is necessary to eat three basic diets and 2–3 small snacks a day in a healthy and balanced diet,” said Siiri Krümann, a nutritional adviser and member of the Estonian Nutrition Advisors Association.
“If you miss dinner, your blood sugar will fall too low during the night and you will feel tired instead of getting out in the morning,” Krümann said, adding that the time of dinner depends largely on when a person is used to going to bed. Hence, counseling after 18:00 is no longer sensible for a person whose daily rhythm tends to stretch out at night and goes to bed only at midnight.
Dinner a few hours before the night
In fact, dinner could be eaten about two to three hours before going to bed. “In the case of too late dinner, the body will not consume the energy it receives, and the body will store it for itself,” Krümann explained.
Of course, it all depends on the meal you eat. Since meat is slowly digested, it is wise to wait for three hours after going to bed. Lighter vegetable food allows you to enjoy a night’s sleep in about an hour. Fruits and berries can also be eaten for about 20-30 minutes before falling as they are fast digested.
“It is certainly not sensible to go straight from bed to bed,” the nutritionist confirmed. “A strong dinner before going to bed badly affects sleep quality.” Too dull and big dinner breaks the sleep, too, because a full stomach compresses the heart and lungs, and some foods produce gas in the gut. Uncooked food remains in the stomach and causes discomfort to sleep.
If you eat a strong meal or a meal before going to bed, it will stimulate the activation of stress hormones. But stress sends a different kind of message to the body instead of a restful rest, the body wants to fight or escape from stress, and it has been damaged by a good night
Stress hormones become active when the blood sugar gets too high. A small piece of chocolate or one sandwich with blood sugar does not light up to such an extent, but a rich meal or a sweet meal.
Therefore, you should not take a large meal just before you go to bed. In addition, a strong dinner can lead to a situation where, after waking up overnight, the stomach is still full and the breakfast remains uneaten. However, too much time between the last meal and bedtime can lead to morning fatigue. It may also be difficult to sleep on an empty stomach.
High quality carbohydrates and light proteins
In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, it is also worthwhile to have a fast absorption of carbohydrates (such as sweets, bakery products, sweetened dairy products, sweet drinks, pizzas, pastas, burgers, etc.), as the blood sugar levels rise very quickly after their consumption. The organism then tries to balance the situation itself, leading to hypoglycemia, or the blood sugar level falls too low.
In response to hypoglycaemia, adrenaline and cortisol are produced by the adrenal glands to raise blood sugar levels again. Excessive cortisol causes anxiety, nocturnal awakening and sleep disturbance.
For the production of sleep hormone melotonin, the body needs tryptophan ammonium acid, which needs complex carbohydrates in the body to get into the brain. That’s why in the evening there are good whole grains and proteins. Because meat is difficult to digest, fish or legumes can be preferred as a source of evening protein. Vitamins and minerals are essential for the production of melotonin, group B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Melotonin levels are also increased by vegetables, so it is good to prefer them as an evening meal.
It is worth remembering a little bit of wisdom that starvation prevents the sleep hormone melatonin from falling apart at night because the body does not get enough glucose from too low a day’s calorie. Likewise, too much evening food may cause sleep disturbances, or moderation is the key word.
What should a healthy dinner include?
There is also a common understanding that carbohydrates are not included in the dinner and should be consumed in the morning. Certain truths are in such recommendations, but not so black and white. Energy is needed in the morning, especially because the body has used up the reserves of stored carbohydrates overnight and needs supplementation. The energy you get from a meal that has been eaten after awakening stabilizes glucose levels in our blood, muscles, and liver. Ideally, the energy from breakfast could be about a quarter of the day’s menu.
According to dietary recommendations, carbohydrates should be covered by 50-60 percent of the daily energy consumed. Carbohydrates are the body’s main sources of energy and supply body cells with glucose. Our entire body, especially the brain, needs constant glucose supply. When a body develops a carbohydrate deficiency, the body begins to synthesize glucose from body proteins in the absence of fat deposits, and this leads to a reduction in the body’s defenses. However, carbohydrates should be consumed at every meal, but it is important to limit their amount and make as healthy choices as possible.
“For dinner and lunch, the easiest way to observe the plate rule is : ¼ of the plate could be made up of protein foods, ¼ of the plate of carbohydrate-rich foods, and half of the plate of vegetables, half of which could be fresh salads,” advised nutrition adviser Siiri Krümann. At the same time, he added that following the rule of the plate, it is worth thinking about the size of the claim used.
“For carbohydrate-rich foods, ¼ of a plate could be about 100 grams. Healthier choices definitely include whole grains or products made from them, such as buckwheat, cinema, wholemeal or carrots. Fish and chicken fillets or vegetable protein-rich foods such as lentils, beans and chickpeas should be preferred to protein foods at dinner, ”Krümann explained. By combining food in this way, we keep our body in balance with blood sugar.
Drink water or herbal teas in the evening . Coffee, cocoa, soft drinks and also black tea contain caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. The effect of caffeine lasts about 4 to 6 hours, stimulating neurons in the brain, the pituitary gland perceiving it as a threat, and giving the adrenal glands a signal to release adrenaline. Adrenaline also releases the body if it does not get enough glucose from the food. However, adrenaline does not help the body not to rest, but keeps it vivid and anxious.
Replace your habit with a healthy one
Leaving aside the followers of modern dieting tips and dinner skippers, the second major part of the family, who in the evenings after a long day of work and school, are just looking for the opportunity to cover the table with minimal effort. However, this often means that there are mainly potatoes on the table with various semi-finished meat products such as vines, steaks, etc. Of course, dumplings, macaroni, fish fingers are also found in their place – all that does not take much time and effort.
Ideally, evening cooking could be a tradition of family cooperation. The menu can already be discussed over the weekend and the food will be stocked. This will also improve children’s understanding of healthy eating.
According to a study by the National Institute for Health Development, the average Estonian eats meat and meat products far more than the health benefits. But too little fruit and vegetables are eaten. The recommended amount, five and more servings of fruits and vegetables, consumes only ten per cent of people every day. A quarter of the population (24 percent) do not eat them practically at all, while half of the people in Estonia (49 percent) eat only one or two portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
“Taking the recommended food pyramid, where the base is made up of fruits and vegetables, potatoes and cereal products, and the meat is at the apex of the pyramid, often when planning your meal, it is the pyramid that begins – the meat, boil the potatoes and vegetables,” Siiri Krümann said. . “Because most of the lunch is eaten outside of the home and often contains meat, it is worth eating fish, chicken, eggs or legumes instead of meat,” he suggested.
Prefer food made from fresh ingredients
It is always healthier to prefer fresh food made from fresh ingredients. According to the nutrition counselor, the fish is a better choice than fish fingers, and the roast beef is a healthier choice than dumplings.
Semi-finished products also contain a number of additives that can lead to different health problems. If it is sometimes necessary to decide for semi-finished products, you should carefully examine the product packaging and give preference to those with less salt, sugar, vinegar and certainly no synthetic additives. In the case of fish tails, a fish fillet or a fish fillet with a fish content as large as possible can be taken.
“Dinner could be lighter than lunch, and certainly include a variety of vegetables,” Krümann advised. In her opinion, for example, traditional potatoes and minced meat sauce can be improved by adding steamed cauliflower to the plate and carrots or zucchini in the sauce, taste the onion and garlic, and rich in green herbs. Herbs and spas are rich in vitamins and minerals and also provide useful phytotoxic substances. You can also reduce the amount of salt you add to the food by flavoring them with food.
For example, barley, buckwheat or oatmeal can be used instead of refined wheat flour to thicken the sauce. “If you eat a fresh salad, such as green leafy, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and cold pressed olive oil, the dinner will be packed with vitamins and minerals,” the nutritionist confirmed.
Small tips make the dinner healthier
Since the replacement of healthy food with semi-finished products is very often the cause of lack of time, it should not be an obstacle for anyone if it is good. With a little effort it is possible to put a healthy and tasty dinner on the table for the whole family, if you are willing to make small changes in the usual rhythm.
For example, in terms of time saving, it is a good idea to think about the whole week’s menu to keep the time off at the expense of every day. “Many foods, such as soups, cabbage sauce, etc., can be prepared in greater quantities to last for several days,” Siiri Krümann suggested. “You can also boil rice or buckwheat, which keeps it in the refrigerator for a few days, keeping it closed.” Of course, freezing food is also a good tip.
A variety of canned legumes or, for example, red radish lenses, can be used as a quick source of protein for dinner. The excellent, low-effort and time-consuming food is an oven fish or chicken with vegetables. You can add zucchini, peppers, eggplant and champignons to the fish.
“The omelette does not have to be just breakfast, it can be a quick and delicious dinner,” the nutritionist advised. “In addition, a few packs of frozen vegetables are made in the freezer, from which a super-fast dessert is prepared, preserved legumes, and cooked cinema prepared last night,” he suggested.
A healthy dinner is important
In conclusion, a person who prefers a healthy diet should not abandon dinner if he wants his body to be healthy and energetic from morning to night. It is important to have dinner in your daily schedule and to dine according to your rhythm of life, setting the last meal of the day, depending on the food, two to three hours before going to bed.
In addition, it is worth remembering that dinner should not be as heavy as lunch meals, but high-quality carbohydrates and protein sources are also important here. A small piece of fish or meat or a vegetable protein with a choice of different vegetables gives you a good feeling and loads the body with the right amount of energy to get you back to shape and feel well for the night you come and soon.
Vegetables are the perfect snack for an evening snack, helping to produce a good sleep hormone. People are different, but fat in the evening is usually too heavy to digest the body and can cause sleep disturbances.