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Why Should You Should Consider Always Eating Light at Night?

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Why Should You Should Consider Always Eating Light at Night?

Is dinner your biggest meal of the day? Are you ravenous by the time you get home from work? Many of us tend to eat our heaviest meal late at night. To break this habit, try to eat more throughout the day so you are not starving by dinnertime. Avoid skipping meals to prevent overeating later in the day. 

Here are some simple tips to help you eat light at night:

  • Plan ahead: Over the weekend, plan your meals for the week. Do your grocery shopping on the weekend and make a list of everything you need for the entire week.
  • Keep it simple: Try to cook healthy, easy recipes with lean protein such as chicken or fish and reuse the leftovers in a dish the next day. For quick side dishes, steam frozen vegetables in the microwave or buy microwavable brown rice.
  • Choose satisfying foods to fill your plate: Eat lean protein, high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables to keep you satisfied. Fiber helps you feel fuller longer and aids in healthy digestion. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and a quarter with whole grains. Here is one example: roasted bell peppers and asparagus, 3-ounce grilled chicken breast, and 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.
  • Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables: Instead of filling your pantry with too many processed foods, stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Have them washed and precut, so they are ready to eat.
  • Eat at the table: Avoid watching television or texting at dinnertime. Try to eat mindfully by sitting at the table and focusing on the meal in front of you. 
  • Savor each bite: From the time you take your first bite, it takes about 20 minutes for the body to send the signal for fullness to your brain, so take your time eating. There is no rush. Enjoy every bite!
  • Drink less alcohol: Calories from alcohol add up quickly. The serving size depends on the type of alcohol you choose to drink. A serving equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. When drinking alcohol, your inclination to eat unhealthy foods increases.

Quick & Light Dinner Ideas:

  • Grilled or baked chicken with oven roasted vegetables (red bell pepper, asparagus, brussels sprouts, onion, carrots, zucchini, squash and mushrooms) and 1/2 cup of whole wheat couscous. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the vegetables and place them in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes on 400 degrees.
  • Baked salmon over mixed greens with light balsamic vinaigrette and ½ cup of whole wheat orzo.
  • Greek salad with low-fat feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and purple onions with hummus and a few wedges of whole wheat pita bread. Add chicken or lean meat to the salad for satisfying protein. 
  • Oven baked tilapia with green beans and quinoa. Buy frozen vegetables that you can pop into the microwave when you get home.
  • Taco salad with lean ground beef, black beans, brown rice, tomatoes, avocado, onions, low-fat cheese and light lime vinaigrette.
  • Breakfast for dinner: omelet or scrambled egg whites with vegetables, a cup of fresh fruit and one slice of whole wheat toast.

Remember you do not have to change everything at once. Take it one step at a time. Shoot for changing one habit a week. Incorporating these tips into your daily lifestyle is the key to successfully eating light at night!

Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.