Rules for the perfect dinner

Most of the foods eaten at dinner are changed into fat in your body, because the metabolism begins to slow down from 4 PM until 4 AM next morning. So, if you do not want to gain weight, you should have light dinners.

Depending on the caloric intake of the day, the dinner should be not more than 20 or 25 % of the total calories for the day. If you are on a weight loss diet, your dinner should be around 300 calories and if you are on the maintaining stage, you can have up to 500 calories.

Some nutritionists and doctors, including dr. Oz, believe that the recommended proportion of macronutrients/food groups for dinner is 40 % proteins, 40% carbs and fiber, 20 % (vegetables).

Rules to follow while planning dinner:

  1. Portion your protein intake- Proteins should come from lean meat (fish, poultry, lean cuts of beef, pork or lamb). You should be eating no more than 4 oz. of lean protein during meals.
  2. Eat a lot of fibers- You must get at least 5 grams of fiber with your dinner. Choose low-calorie, high-fiber foods. Eat whole grains and vegetables.. The ideal amount for a healthy diet is 25 grams.
  3. Have a lot of vegetables and use more spices. Eating a lot of vegetables, helps you bring into your body a lot of healthy antioxidants. Seasoning your meals with natural spices – instead of butters and fat – will help you conserve calories. By doubling your portion of vegetables, you’re only adding an additional 100 calories to your dinner.

A dinner menu sample includes:

  • Main dish :

Veggies soup – 230 calories per serving (10 from fat), 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate (15g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 13g proteinciorba-fasole-boia-mare

For this easy and enjoyable soup, you need:
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons no-salt-added chili powder
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Sliced fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)

Cooking the soup:

Heat a large saucepot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and most liquid has evaporated. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes or until vegetables and beans are tender and sauce is thickened. Stir in black pepper. Serve with cilantro and jalapeños, if using.

Serve with:

• Toasted whole-grain baguette (2 inches)- 132 calories

• Garlic & Herb Pita Chips- 117 calories

Choose one side:

• Orange Crisps with Citrus Fruit Salad- 128 calories

• White wine (5-ounce glass)- 116 calories.


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