8 Ways to Tweak Your Dinners For Weight Loss
People commonly anticipate weight loss as a monstrous mountain that forces strenuous strides to reach the highest peak. While it does require effort on your end, losing weight can still occur with small, gradual steps. In fact, these eight ways to tweak your dinners are simple, yet operational, and may just equip your new (or revisited) weight loss and health journey to the top!
1. Plan Ahead
Rather than getting off work only to order from the drive thru or warm up a frozen pizza, plan meals ahead of time. Whether it be chopped ingredients ready to assemble or a casserole prepared to pop into the oven, meal structure reduces the risk to eat (or even overeat) on innutritious foods, also offering the ability to pre-portion rational serving sizes. If new to the process or desiring more advice, find your guide to meal prepping, recipes, and ideas here!
2. Eat A Snack
Individuals tend to dismiss snacks leading up to dinner in belief they are saving up on the calorie tank. But in reality, avoiding those hunger cues can leave you feeling famished when dinner does arrive, ultimately overindulging on foods and reaching for second portions. However, presenting the body with a nutritious snack can keep the stomach satiated and less likely to raven come mealtime. Satiety-contributing foods are habitually ample in protein and fiber and may include apple slices and peanut butter, mixed nuts, carrots and hummus, and Greek yogurt and berries.
3. Start with A Salad
Loading up on a low-calorie, high-nutrient salad can assist in satiation and lessen the likelihood of overeating on calorically-dense foods. Either enjoy as a side salad or as the main course paired with lean protein. Importantly, steer away from dressings generally filled with undesirable ingredients by creating your own and further stay wary of salad toppings, such as croutons, that may add on excessive calories.
4. Choose Colors of the Rainbow
Foods rich in color are often naturally loaded with nutrients. And though whitish-tan foods (bread, rice, chicken, potato, etc.) hold their spot in a well-balance diet, filling up on colorful veggies innately reduces calories without feelings of deprivation. Start experimenting with various vegetables, even modifying their preparation technique. Heighten their appeal and interest by involving family with the veggie trials and allow a member to choose a "veggie of the week!"
5. Drink Water
Increasing the water ante is a simple tip for weight loss in more ways than one. First off, adequate water intake helps ensure the body is able to transform ingested foods into usable energy, a key basis of an effective metabolism. Additionally, drinking water prior and during meals can reduce the risk of over consuming foods, as the stomach will also be comprised of water. And lastly, resorting to a refreshing glass of water can save hundreds of unnecessary calories, especially if swapping from large, sugar-filled soft drinks!
6. Adjust the Plate Size
In addition to fixating on what foods are actually getting scooped out and plated, adjust the physical size of the plate itself. Utilizing large plates may lead to large portions, skewing the visual of what a serving should actually look like. And if practicing the "You can't leave the dinner table until the plate is clean" rule, overeating may just be inevitable. Most nutrition experts consistently agree and suggest using smaller sized plates naturally reduces food and calorie intake without compromising adequate nutrition.
7. Create A Healthy Environment
So now that the dinner plate is sized and healthfully loaded, sit down into a healthy meal environment. Disconnecting from the external world and turning off all electronic devices can reduce the risk of mindless eating. So rather than continuously grazing in front of a television or when checking emails, eat sensibly at a dinner table with family and friends and savor the flavors of wholesome, fresh foods.
8. Slow Down
Slow and steady typically wins the race when it comes to weight loss! Along with creating a healthy eating environment, slow down and relish the meal placed in front of you. The brain and stomach generally takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to connect and trigger the "I'm full!" sensation. Allow time for that sensation to connect rather than going for a second helping. And if that urge does not subside following the wait period, grab a smaller portion and continue to ingest it slowly.