How’s the meal planning coming along, everyone? Are you ready to discuss how to eat healthier at dinner? A lot of people really struggle with making good choices at the end of the day for various reasons. It could be because they are tired, unprepared, or flat out feel like they deserve a treat.
I get it, I’ve been there. But if you want to shake some pounds, you need to commit to being a bit more prepared and mindful in the evenings. Below are a few tips that have helped me tremendously.
Pinpoint your go-to foods. Honestly, eating does not always need to be such a huge event. Sure, there are occasions when a meal should be decadent or special, but don’t overwhelm yourself with too many options. Think about it: What simple foods make you feel happy—or at the very least, satisfied?
I always tell my clients to really think about the staple foods they can keep in their home at all times. Remember, healthy eating isn’t about willpower, it’s about setting yourself up to succeed.
So what healthy, easy foods get the job done when you’re in a pinch? Mine are: brown rice, baby spinach, eggs, sweet potatoes, fruit, broccoli, Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, beans, oatmeal, and carrots. If I have just a few of these things in my home, I know I can whip up an enjoyable meal or snack. Having them handy takes away the stress of trying to decide what to eat, and it makes grocery shopping easier. If I am stocked with the basics, then making a quick trip to the store to get a few additional items doesn’t seem so tasking.
Make your own rules. Dinner does not have to be rich, cheesy, or even hot.
Who says? Sometimes when I get home late, I’ll make a smoothie for dinner. Or I’ll have a big “snack” like this Yogurt-Stuffed Sweet Potato and call it quits. Erase any previous ideals of what you think dinner should be and go with how you’re feeling at the time. If you aren’t very hungry, then listen to your body—don’t stuff it with food it’s not asking for!
Have what you want, just not all at once. This is one of Bethenny’s key rules and I especially keep it in mind when I’m out to dinner and feel like indulging a bit. If a burger is the only thing you truly want—and getting a salad might cause you to “cheat” later—then by all means, have it.
If you can trust yourself to have just a few fries, go for it—but could you swap them for a side salad? And nope, sorry guys, this is not the time to treat yourself to an ice cream cone. You already had your treat.
I know that part of the fun in indulging is to be carefree, but it is important to make as many consistent, mindful food decisions as you can. It not only prevents you from binging (and then feeling bloated and guilty!), but it keeps you in the practice, which eventually turns into a lifestyle habit.
Taking the time to pause and think about your choices before you make them might seem like a chore now, but the benefits you will see later will be totally worth it!
Tell me: Do you struggle with evening meals? What do you like to eat for dinner?
– ELLEN COLLIS
Ellen Collis is a blogger at Wannabe Health Nut and Health Coach in NYC, who graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.