One thing that I really miss, being 1000+ miles from home, is family dinner. Growing up, our evenings revolved around family dinner, then the rest of activities followed. As my siblings and I grew up and school became more involved, with homework, projects, scouts, band and sports, I am pretty sure we still ate as a family 99% of all weeknights until the eldest started college. Another thing about our family dinners was the meal that was on the table was it for the night. No heating up Easy-Mac if you didn’t care for it. That is the sort of ground rule that portrays food as fuel, not just as pleasure. This is why your mom always made you eat your veggies, because there is something of value in them.
Maybe you have many mouths to feed, or maybe its just you. Either way, take a look at these helpful hints to make dinner a healthy experience.
– Food Only! This means no TV, no texting, no reading. Eating is an experience in itself, even if you are alone. It is valuable family bonding time and important to the family structure. So pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth and be a part of the conversation for a more rewarding dining experience.
– Bake, Grill or Saute. Your cooking method could be costing you a lot of excess calories. It is always best to bake, grill or saute meat or poultry in a little bit of olive oil than it is to fry or use butter. This also goes for your vegetables. Try broiling seasoned vegetables in the oven rather than boiling or cooking with butter.
-Season away! Avoid creamy sauces and toppings and instead go for the fresh flavors of herbs and spices. Also, make sure you choose salt free herb and spice mixtures which can lend excitement to grilled meats or vegetables. Pesto and salsa also work well with vegetables and proteins to give extra flavor.
– Experiment! Feel like you are always eating the same thing? Add variety by trying atypical vegetables (for you) like eggplant or brussel sprouts. Prepare a new grain such as farro or quinoa instead of your average pasta. Try your hand at baking fish or grilling kabobs. Adding variety will also help incorporate more vitamins and minerals that you may be missing out on from your standard routine.
– Watch portions. It is so easy to overeat these days. Some tips to avoid overindulgence at dinner is to use smaller plates. Switch from the average 10”-12” plates to one closer to 8”. Next, leave the serving dishes off the table. This way you are less likely to take that extra scoop of mashed potatoes. Let’s face it, many of us are already planning our dessert or after dinner snack… so seconds aren’t necessary.
So there you have it. If you have followed along you have had some time to carefully evaluate your 3 meals of the day. You can also check back on the previous posts to view the rest of the series on revamping your meals. Hopefully you have made a couple changes, or are at least thinking about something new you could possibly do. Stay tuned to see where we take your nutrition next!