Midnight Snacking: If You Must Eat, Make The Max Out Of It!

Hi Friends, Happy Friday!!

Yawn….am so sleepy right now, got only 5 hours of sleep last night and the next night is so far away! 🙁

One thing that I have started tracking with my Fitbit is my sleep duration and why is that? Now that I know that I do burn enough calories on an average day and am able to maintain a healthy deficit daily, without even tracking it, what I track with my Fitbit is, my sleep patterns.

Unfortunately, I have little control over my sleep durations and so I have to consciously make an effort to maintain at least a 6-hours sleep time, on most nights. Why?

Because I get very little sleep, always! No one else, just me myself to blame for that…I am a bookworm and books are like drugs for me…I can’t end a day without reading, I just can’t. Am addicted to them! That’s how I unwind once everyone is asleep and I have the house to myself.

I read whatever…all sorts of stories and books and other information, in form of physical books or  on apps or online, from Jane Austen to Joseph Heller to Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Frederick Forsyth to JK Rowling to John Grisham to Stephenie Meyer to Walter Isaacson to Rob Their.

All kinds of topics online…on various forums…and you know how it is, one topic leads to another. One curiosity satiated, leaves a tiny hole for another to seep in ☹

One habit I do not regret at all, even if it leaves me with less sleep! 😊

Now, it’s my turn to inculcate the same love for reading in my kids and I am doing things to actively cultivate the habit in them. Its already working on the elder one and she already is a fast and avid reader…will share my tips with you soon and then you can see if it helps and works for you (and your kids), if you want. I am sure every parent wants their kids to read and love it! Don’t ya!

Some day soon, I promise! Maybe, next week.

However, as the title says, today’s post is mainly about mid-night munchies. Many of you have told me you sleep late as well…the reasons are various and different but one thing is constant! If you have an early dinner and then, you stay up till late in night – you tend to get hungry! And if you are hungry, you just can’t sleep and there is no need to. As long as you can control the cravings, just a tiny bit!

As of today, I have learnt to eat early, by 8 and then later, before I go to bed around 10, I take my mug of whey protein with skimmed milk (so that it works as Caesin). And that keeps me full till I sleep around 1 (or even later).

I have started protein at bed-time recently since I need it only now, as per my BMI report. If you don’t need it, don’t take it. There are other healthy options too!

Trying to cut down on reading time now 🙁

As I started on my fitness journey a couple of years back, I bought or made my own low-calorie (and low prep time) snacks which are high on nutrition also. If I am eating at mid-night, might as well get maximum out of it, right?

A Few Things To Keep In Mind Before You Start Binging

First thing first and I always say this – Control portions – don’t eat big bowls and portions. Keep your midnight snacking to around 200 calories, for sure!

  • Make yourself work for it. If you feel like 2 toasts, make and eat just one, have a bit of water and then see if you want to make the second one too. The chances are you wouldn’t want to make it again! 😀
  • Don’t stock things at home that call to you when you are alone like ice-cream, sweets, bakery products. You wouldn’t eat them…umm, simply because they are not there!!
  • Read the labels before you buy or stock your pantry even with the ‘healthy stuff’– apart from having no preservatives or added sugars, it should have no saturated fats and should be low on calories
  • As a thumb rule – avoid spicy, sugary, fried or caffeinated items before bed
  • Use jaggery instead of white refined sugar if you are cooking something
  • Keep a water bottle handy and keep sipping. Water keeps you full and has no calories 🙂
  • I did put a note on the refrigerator door. The note reminded me of the healthier options when I had cravings. I would put things here and there and when the time comes, I forgot about them. This note reminded me of my options.
  • Don’t eat straight from the packet or container, one tends to eat more like that. Take it out in a bowl, eat with a small spoon.

However, if you notice that you’re always hungry before bed, that probably means you’re not eating enough throughout the day. If you restrict too much or fast during the day, your body will attack you when you are at your weakest!

My own mid-night munchies- Or anytime snacks, really! These worked for me very well.

I am an eggetarian so these options worked for me. Feel free to cut eggs and add lean proteins as per your preferences.

  • A tall glass (or a steaming mug) of skimmed/low-fat milk with cocoa or women’s Horlicks, without sugar preferably
  • Just 1 (or 2 max) plain toast of 100% whole wheat/grain bread, if you are very hungry – add just a tiny bit of peanut butter if you want.
  • Patanjali Anardana goli – esp for people with sweet cravings, like me
  • Small saunf/fennel (with a tiny bit of sugar, if you want)
  • For chocolate or sweet cravings – fresh strawberries  (or any other fruit that you like) tip-dipped in just a tiny bit in Nutella
  • Any fresh fruit
  • For this one, you really need to check the label before you indulge as it tend to be high in sugars many times. 1-2 pieces of dehydrated candied fruit with no added preservatives or colours/ flavours. My favorite being:
1-2 pieces help curb the cravings for something sweet!
  • My own trail-mix: I mix -all roasted – flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut and sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and munakka (the big raisins). You can mix other seeds and almonds etc if you want. Take a handful, in a bowl and eat slowly with a small spoon.

However, if you have any health concerns like diabetes, acidity and such, you need to get a clearance from your doc or dietician/nutritionist beforehand. You can then make variations of these depending upon your tastes and preference, with similar items.

  • You can also try:
  • Both fruit and nuts (like almonds) bring a lot of nutritional benefits to the table, including vitamins, minerals, protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber. 
  • Boiled eggs (with a pinch of salt and black pepper if you like it that way)
  • Egg-sandwich, made with 100% whole wheat/grain bread
  • A low fat cheese slice or a sandwich made of it, with 100% whole wheat/grain bread
  • A bowl of high-fibre cereal with half a cup of skimmed/low fat milk or even instant oats.
  • I sometimes also made sweet dalia in milk and jaggery in the day time, stock it up for a few times and when I need, just take in a bowl, add a little milk for runny consistency and eat! You can add fruits, berries…can sprinkle cinnamon if you like!
  • Cottage cheese cubes
  • Plain popcorn
  • Plain (unflavoured) Greek yoghurt. Mix a tablespoon of honey if u want it a little sweet. Mix with fruit pieces and berries if you like it that way. Sprinkle a bit of granola if you are very hungry.
  • Veggie slices with your fav dip – this needs a little work as you need to clean and slice veggies  but you can cut and stock some in a box and refrigerate for the critical times 😊
  • Plain rusks – with 40 calories each rusk, it could be a decent option for a low-calories bite

Hope you liked today’s post and found it useful! Share with me your healthy snacks – which do not require more than 3-4 minutes of preparation time. Would rather read than making a snack 🙂

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Till next Friday, XOXO

 

Doggie Diaries: A Dilemma

Hi Friends!

Another Friday another post! Hope you all are doing good!

It’s a fun post today and is about dogs! I sometimes wonder why we call a human a dog, negatively as in “he is a dog or she is a bitch!”. As far as I am concerned, it should be rather a compliment. Dogs are friendly, loyal, intelligent, they love you unconditionally and are super cute too!

Isn’t all that a good thing? Me wonder!

Anyways, on Monday my conversation with the OH (Other Half) went a little weirdly! Here is how it went:

Me: Did you read my latest post last Friday?

OH: Yeah (munching on some snacks on the leather couch)…why do you always write on fitness?

Me: I don’t always write on fitness!

OH: You do! You are jill of many trades…write on something else this time.

Me: Ohkaay! On what?

OH: I don’t know…something else!

Me: Like what?

OH: Thinking….family, kids, travel, dogs..

Me: Dogs? But we don’t have dogs!

OH: We can always get one!

Me: No! I have my hands full already!!

OH: Okay…I have already given you an idea. Now you do what you want! (and goes back to TV with his snack bowl).

So, this is what started this Friday’s blog-post! This above-mentioned conversation got me thinking how and when it all changed for me. I used to love dogs. In fact, I was crazy about dogs as a kid. Begged my parents so many times for a pet dog but they never allowed.

As a kid, I was never scared of dogs and I quickly learnt the breeds and where to rub and scratch these little (and big) beauties. I also understood their body language well, even if I did not have a pet of my own. I swore one kid-day that a soon as I have a house of my own, I would get a pet first thing!

One of the major regrets in my life is not having a camera the day I and OH went to a friend’s place in Delhi. She had a big and chubby Golden Retriever. We didn’t know about the dog when we entered her house and as soon as my OH saw the dog he got so scared he ran behind a sofa and started shouting for help!

This reaction is very similar!

Hilarious, the scene was! Never fails to bring a chuckle to me!!

To be honest, the dog was friendly and I had a blast playing with her whereas OH was scared as hell! He also has come a long way from then and now isn’t scared of dogs at all. I guess I have Pluto to thank for that!

Having or seeing a big black dog, right from a tiny little pup stage, does help!

Pluto is a big, black, friendly and super-hyper Labrador that owns my sister. The only person that scares Pluto in this world is 7-year old Ginni. He came to us 40 days old and is now 5 years old. His hobbies include stealing and chewing slippers apart from eating rusks and unless you have a treat in hand, he doesn’t care for any commands!

#Plutodiaries

Coming back to why I never got a pet even when I could, things changed as we got married and had a house of our own. We moved to Mumbai and houses here are small, with no terraces or open space for pets. We were both working, leaving every morning for our respective careers and coming back in evening. There really was no time/energy left for a dog and anyways, who would have stayed with the dog the entire day!

Then the girls happened and my days were so full caring for them that I ended up taking a sabbatical from work and somehow, it got extended till now. Now, the girls keep begging for a pup of their own but I still am not sure.

Having a dog is like having another kid in the house. It is another big responsibility. Caring for him would need more from me and I am not ready for the commitment as of now. The girls are too small to help and the OH wouldn’t be of much help either. He has his plate overflowing too!

And I have seen the mess dog-hair make! Hair, hair, everywhere! My sister literally keeps a heavy-duty handy vacuum cleaner by her side, always! And the dog-hair still find its way everywhere, anywhere. Even closed boxes, drawers and cupboards.

Don’t even get me get started on all the fleas, blood and other unmentionables. If you have a kid, you know what I mean. As a mom, I have caught every yucky thing you can think of, in my hands to save something else. Geez!

And I openly admit being a little particular about cleanliness and organization. If you are like me, you know how claustrophobic a messy or dirty place makes you feel, thank you.

Having said that, dogs are cute and fun! My current favourite are beagles – friendly and small enough for apartments.

I am not going to start with the benefits of having a dog in the house. Everyone knows that its therapeutic and I think that given a choice almost every kid would want one….and at least 75% of adults too. It is said that dogs help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol too…I think, its because of the extra physical activity that you do with them and the stress that goes down, in their company.

Many an evenings, we go out for a walk around, just a little stroll to meet out stray dog-friends, Polly, Snowy and Blacky. With a roti or bread for each one of them! The girls like these ‘Nature Sessions’ as we call them and happily feed and play with these excited and friendly dogs.

Dogs are a huge responsibility but easier than kids no doubt. Can you leave kids in a kennel for a few days while you vacation in Rome or Tibet? Ha, you wish! Can you make 4 rotis every meal for kids and leave it at that? That would be something! Can you bathe a dog once every week? Can you watch TV/read a book peacefully while your kids cuddle up next to you, demanding nothing? Nirvana!!

Not comparing but I think am kinda convincing myself here that maybe, a dog in the house won’t be that huge a responsibility 😊

Afterall, all you need is to feed the pets, take them to vet almost once every two months, pay exorbitant amount of money for dog-food and good kennels (when you travel), a dog-trainer or a walker if you don’t want to do it yourself! Another small fortune on chew toys, cleaning products and deodorizers etc etc

Looks like am melting slowly, not yet there but as I said, slowly. Dogs ARE cute! The girls are getting bigger and they might help me with the dog. It would be a blast having another furry family member…well, apart from teary farewells whenever we travel but a slobbery welcome would make up for it when we come back!

What do you say? Dog or not yet? Which way do you swing? Which is your favourite breed? Did you like today’s blog post? And the video?

Till next Friday, XOXO

Personality Traits (MBTI): Take This Quiz And Explore Yourself!

Hi friends

How was your last week?  Mine was spent playing nurse…yeah, literally….to my elder one. She got a major case of tonsillitis and had to skip school and all other activities, for the entire week. So, between Calpol, tissues, cold-compresses and tears…well, to cut it short, am glad the worst is over!

Anyways, now that the tension at the borders is relaxed, this week’s post is fun…a super-interesting one! Remember, I hinted about it a post back here?

So, hands up if you know a certain Linda Goodman? Nah, not personally just, you know, know…by her book?

You know what the Valentine’s Day reminds me of most? Linda Goodman!! Remember that blue-coloured little book which told you ALL about a person as long as you knew his/her birthday (aka zodiac sign)!


I am sure all of us have a dog-eared, much-referred Linda Goodman lying somewhere among our old books still. Among my friend-group, it was a much-coveted reference book and it kept on rotating from one friend to other.

When my other-half proposed to me long back, you already know what I did? Yes, you are right! I went on to know more about him eventually, as we dated, but between us (wink…wink), I knew more about him than he ever said. How? Because Linda told me!

So, got a crush? Find the zodiac sign, whip out the good ol’ Linda Goodman and know everything about the guy/girl! Would like to brag about yourself? Quote Linda Goodman! Wanna know your future? Same trusted Linda Goodman. Wanna know about your future love? Who else but Linda Goodman would tell you all that you wanted to know and some more!

Oh, those were the days when the book helped with our past, present and the future 😊. How I treasured the book! It was fun, and worked to a lot of extent, must say. In a much broader sense but still. Do you agree?

Recently, while reading online, I came across another concept, based not on zodiac signs but a much more concrete base i.e. your personality traits. I took the test and I turned out to be an ENFJ and when I explored ENFJs more, I was spooked a couple times!

Damn! Carl Jung knew more about me than myself!! On Quora, I read many ENFJs and found our minds works really the same, in certain situations! Nor a thumb-rule but still!

Modern psychological researches find personality types too restrictive a concept. In a way it is. However, these are still used many a times by corporates and career counsellors, to understand a person’s strong suits and to optimize the potential one has.


Arguably, the most famous of these is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

The MBTI was constructed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. A questionnaire based on the work of early psychologist Carl Jung sorts people into categories based on four areas: sensation (S), intuition (N), feeling (F) and thinking (T), as well as extroversion (E) and introversion (I).

Sensing is about how you read the world around you whether through solid facts (sensing) or emotional feelings (intuition). Thinking and feeling is about how you make a decision – logical or from your heart.

MBTI is based on how people choose to interact with the world around them. The system further identifies 16 personality types based on a combination of four of the categories, leading to descriptions such as ISTP, ENFP, ESFJ, etc.

In short:

I is for Introverted – someone who draws her/his energy by time alone

N is for Intuitive – someone who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details

T is for Thinking – someone who makes decisions based on logic and reason

J is for Judging – someone who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible

F is for Feeling – someone who makes decisions based on feelings and values

P is for Perceiving – someone who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized

E is for Extroverted – someone who is energized by time spent with others

S is for Sensing – someone who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts

source: Wikipedia

And while you have fun and maybe discover something new, don’t forget that this is not a “Truth Test”. There is no such thing as a Good Personality Type or a Bad Personality Type. Neither does it measure nor predict someone’s behaviour.

Also, if someone lacks a clarity of her/his own preferences, they might show different type characteristics.

Anyways, now that the disclaimer is written, take the test here:

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

Hope you enjoyed taking the test! Hope you explored yourself some more today! Hope you liked this post!

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XOXO and till next time,