A ‘fourth meal’ to fill you up

Am­ber Dias dishes out the de­tails on one of the hottest food trends of the sea­son.

Savvy - - Contents -

Break­fast, lunch

and din­ner - three square meals a day, that’s what we’ve al­ways been told we need to sur­vive, and of course, stay healthy. But it’s safe to say our re­la­tion­ship with food goes far beyond that. What we eat, how we eat and when we eat are con­stantly chang­ing, largely in sync with the way our lives evolve and the emer­gence of new trends in food. One such trend, spot­lighted as one of the big­gest of 2018, is the emer­gence of a fourth meal as part of our sta­ple diet.

WHAT IS THE FOURTH MEAL? The con­cept of eat­ing an ad­di­tional meal, apart from the stan­dard break­fast, lunch and din­ner, is not a novel one. Be it brunch, elevenses, high tea or a late night snack, cul­tures across the globe have been dig­ging into mid-meal del­i­ca­cies for gen­er­a­tions. But lately they have emerged as a sta­ple re­quire­ment on par with tra­di­tional meals. It’s be­come ubiq­ui­tous, so much so, that col­lege cafe­te­rias have be­gun of­fer­ing a fourth meal as part of their daily meal plan and restau­rants, cof­fee shops, cafes et al have be­gun re­vamp­ing their menus to meet the de­mand of light meals out­side stan­dard lunch or din­ner hours. Even food de­liv­ery ser­vices have jumped on the wagon of­fer­ing late night de­liv­er­ies on de­mand. Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional, the global leader in mar­ket anal­y­sis, re­ported that con­sumers’ eat­ing pat­terns have un­der­gone fun­da­men­tal changes, shift­ing from tra­di­tional fam­ily meals to a more frag­mented and flex­i­ble eat­ing style.

Adding to this, some nu­tri­tion­ists sug­gest that daily snack­ing be­tween meals has in­creased to such an ex­tent that the to­tal calo­rie in­take from snacks is equal to that of a stan­dard meal and hence can also be re­garded as a fourth meal.


Our lives are more fast-paced, im­pa­tient and onde­mand than ever be­fore. In a sin­gle day, we’re try­ing to squeeze in work, so­cial­iz­ing, some fam­ily time and a quick work­out and the en­ergy to do it all has to come from some­where. Sim­ply put, the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity and ne­ces­sity of the fourth meal can be ad­hered to by sim­ply adapt­ing to our ever chang­ing and ex­tremely busy life­styles. For in­stance, if your day starts with the sun, or be­fore it in some cases, you might grab a quick bite and get on with your work. But by the time lunch rolls around, you would be ex­hausted. In comes the mid­morn­ing snack or brunch to keep you alert, fu­eled up and rar­ing to go!

Sim­i­larly, those burn­ing the mid­night oil would need the fuel to do so, or if you plan to work out af­ter work, a mid-af­ter­noon snack like high tea is a good way to keep your en­ergy lev­els up, so that you don’t lose mo­men­tum when you hit the gym.

A re­search study ti­tled ‘How We Eat: The Chang­ing Face Of Global Meal Times’ con­firmed that peo­ple are mov­ing away from a pat­tern of eat­ing three fixed meals to eat­ing at any time that is more con­ve­nient.

This trend is also be­ing re­flected in so­cial out­ings. Get­ting to­gether for brunch or cof­fee has be­come much eas­ier than plan­ning a lengthy lunch or din­ner af­fair. TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT… With health aware­ness be­ing at its peak at the mo­ment, we have to ask, is eat­ing a fourth meal healthy? The an­swer to that ques­tion, how­ever, is up to you. Nu­tri­tion­ists and fit­ness ex­perts agree that’s it’s not about when you eat but rather what you eat and how much. Re­search on eat­ing habits re­veal that most peo­ple, both men and women, get more than half their calo­ries from al­co­holic or sweet­ened bev­er­ages, savoury snacks like chips, candy or baked good­ies like cakes and pas­tries - def­i­nitely not healthy in the long run.

Mad­hvi Bhatt Trivedi, Head of Nu­tri­tion & Sci­en­tific Af­fairs, Kelloggs In­dia Pri­vate Limited, avers, “The clas­sic three meals a day is los­ing sheen and eat­ing smaller bites through the day is emerg­ing as a strong trend. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, peo­ple are

“The clas­sic three meals a day is los­ing sheen and eat­ing smaller bites through the day is emerg­ing as a strong trend.” — Mad­hvi Bhatt Trivedi

be­com­ing more health aware and con­scious than ever be­fore. Keep­ing these two di­verse trends in mind, it be­comes im­por­tant to en­sure that the meals had dur­ing the day are nour­ish­ing and light on the stom­ach, and at the same time tasty. In fact, snack­ing can be looked as an ef­fec­tive way to get the de­sired nu­tri­ents into your diet and pre­vent overeat­ing at meal­times.”

She adds that on the global scale, even the ex­tremely health con­scious feel the need to power up be­tween meals. She says, “It there­fore be­comes im­por­tant to reach out to whole­some and nour­ish­ing snacks, es­pe­cially in the evening - a time when many peo­ple slip up or lose their re­solve to eat healthy. Hav­ing said that, main meals should re­main sacro­sanct. Break­fast pro­vides solid nu­tri­tion to kick-start the day, and lunch and din­ner help you power up through the day.”

An­other im­por­tant thing to keep in mind is por­tion con­trol. The amount of calo­ries con­sumed in a day needs to be con­stant, ir­re­spec­tive of how many meals you eat. Speak­ing health­wise, the idea of the fourth meal is to spread the in­take of food through the day; this makes it eas­ier to con­trol body weight.

Eat­ing healthy, doesn’t mean you can’t in­dulge ev­ery once in a while. Just find a bal­ance, por­tion your meals prop­erly and you can eat as many meals as you want - to­tally guilt-free!

This trend is also be­ing re­flected in so­cial out­ings. Get­ting to­gether for brunch or cof­fee has be­come much eas­ier than plan­ning a lengthy lunch or din­ner af­fair.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.