There aren’t many luxuries in the world quite like a home-cooked dinner after a long, busy day. The vision of a hot, steaming plate is stuck in our memories forever, but what shouldn’t be is the feeling of fatigue, inability to move or just overall “I shouldn’t have eaten that” syndrome that follows a not-so-good final meal of the day.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it wakes us up and fuels us after a long period of rest without any nourishment. Dinner could be considered just as important simply because its function is the reverse of breakfast—it helps us prepare for the rest we so desperately need.
So what is it that we’re not getting? It’s simple—we’re probably not eating the right foods. Here’s a solid list of the kinds of foods you should be eating around dinnertime:
Are we surprised? Salad greens (only the deepest, darkest colors) are a great source of nutrients and fiber. If you’re looking to lose weight, salad is a recommended preliminary course because it will fill you up. For just the sake of being healthy, salad can be eaten after the main course as it helps with digestion.
You should not just be eating spinach for dinner. You need balance, and that’s where lean protein starts. Chicken or fish are great examples of lean protein (and of course, prepared with the least amount of butter or fat as possible) but lean steak, pork or beans are also good. Your body will truly need it before its long sleep.
At least half the grains you consume should be whole grains, but that’s not a puzzle to figure out. Loading up on fiber is a great benefit to eating whole grains, but you also get a great deal of magnesium, which is an important mineral involved in increased metabolic rate. Quinoa and brown rice are some good types of whole grains to dig into.
Yep, it’s possible to include a little something after a clean, balanced meal. Especially for those who love dessert, eating a little dark chocolate or a quarter cup of low-fat ice cream is essential for avoiding a binge. Eating something small every day is certainly better than attempting to avoid it altogether and ending up at Friendly’s with a triple chocolate sundae.
Planning out your dinner strategy really is easy with this roadmap to guide you. Whenever you’re thinking about fulfilling that temporary need, just think about how well your body could be functioning fifty years from now with the help of a clean dinner every night and some exercise. Be a winner, and choose a healthy dinner.
Photo by Alex O’Brien