Dinner is a make-or-break time for those of us trying to lose weight. Will you stick to your plan and feel a little deprived, or will you blow your diet in spectacular style?
You know the feeling; you’ve been good all day, and as the evening meal draws near you start to forget your weight loss goals. Before you know it, you’ve decided to treat yourself to a pizza or Indian meal, and maybe a slice of cake or some ice cream…
There are some things you can do to make losing weight easier at dinner time, and here’s 8 simple ways to keep on track.
1. Make Your Own Meals
Yes, takeout is tasty and requires no cooking or washing up afterwards. However, restaurant meals contain lots of calories, so why not cook your own meals at home?
When you cook at home, you are in complete control over what ingredients you use, and how much you put on your plate. Portion control plays a key part in weight loss.
2. Pace Yourself
Dietician Natalie Rizzo, MS, RDN, says that mindfulness is very important for weight management. She recommends setting a timer for 20 minutes, and to wait until the timer goes off before going back for seconds. Most of the time, people don’t feel hungry anymore after 20 minutes.
3. Use Smaller Plates
You can trick your mind into thinking you’re eating more than you are by downsizing your plates. Use a smaller dinner plate, and fill ½ with vegetables, ¼ with starch, and ¼ with protein. It will look like the same amount of food you’re used to, but it’s a smaller portion size.
4. Make a Meal Plan
Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry or when you don’t know what to make for dinner. Temptation lurks round every corner in the store, and when you’re hungry or undecided it’s harder to resist.
Sit down one night and plan your meals for the next few days. Write out a shopping list of all that you need, and stick to it when you go to the store. Having all your ingredients bought and in your home means you won’t have to go to the store every day and be exposed to temptation.
5. Portion Control
We tend to eat much more than we think we do, and our portion sizes are too big. Proteins such as meat and poultry should be a piece the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards, and about 1 cup, or a fist size for carbs like potatoes, brown rice, pasta or corn. Fill up the rest of your plate with veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or bell peppers.
6. Eat More Greens
Eating more vegetables is an easy and tasty way to reduce your calorie intake while increasing your fiber. A good way to get some greens in is to have a colorful salad before your main course.
7. Plate up Your Takeout
There’s going to be some nights when you find yourself reaching for the phone to ring your favorite take-out place. We’re all human; we’ve all done it!
A way of lessening the damage is to plate up your takeout before eating it. Most takeaway meals are far larger than they need to be, and will often do for 2 large meals. Portion your takeout and enjoy.
8. Drink Water
Water and other zero-calorie drinks are a better choice than soda or beer. Beer contains around 150 calories, and a can of soda around 150-200 calories.
Try drinking water that has been infused with herbs like mint, berries, basil, and citrus for a taste of summer.