What to eat at dinner to lose weight

I believe that breakfast is necessary, lunch a meal of preference but dinner, a matter of discipline. I endorse good breakfasts but simple dinners, quite contrary to what we all do socially.

Most of our socialising is at night, be it at home or in a restaurant. In a household of working parents and students, dinner becomes the one meal that the family sits down at the table to share.

It is understood that over eating beyond 4pm leads to adiposity. As the day progresses our metabolic rate decreases. By the end of the day we need to pay attention to our body’s slowed metabolic rate and eat accordingly. Do not starve at night because that will further slow metabolism and put a stop to the weight loss process. But definitely do not over eat.

Eat just enough to keep your energy throughout the night till breakfast. Eat just enough to not to overeat at breakfast.

Once you have decided the caloric intake for the day, then dinner should be not more than 20 or 25 % of the total calories for the day. For example, if you are on a 1500 kcal diet plan, then your dinner should be something between 300 to 375 calories.

Dinners should be high in protein and fibre, low in fat or fat free.

Ideally eat 2 hours before you retire to bed or not beyond 8pm which ever comes earlier.

Some healthy dinners that suit these criteria are given below.

1. For those who need to see a lot on the table:
One small roti made with whole wheat atta and no oil; 1/3 cup of channa/dal curry made with minimum oil; a quarter plate of salad of your choice -cucumber, carrot, green pepper, onions etc – and seasoned with lime juice or apple vinegar, pepper and coriander leaves; half a cup of yogurt made from low fat or fat free milk seasoned a tsp of with ground flax seeds or chopped peanuts; a medium sized guava.

2. For those who prefer an easy liquid meal:
Wheat porridge made with half a cup of cooked broken wheat and one glass of fat free milk. Make this healthier and tastier by adding 2 tablespoon of instant oats, 1 tsp of black sesame seeds and 2 tablespoon of raisins. – no sugar please. Here the raisins become your fruit alternative.

You may replace wheat with ragi or rice flakes (poha).

3. If you swear by your cereal:
A full glass of fat free milk with a cup of bran flakes and 6 chopped unpeeled almonds finished off with a cup of fruit salad freshly made. Make sure the flakes are not soaked soggy in the milk. You should be able to chew on it and not gulp it down.

4. For those who love their chicken/meat:
Pan grilled chicken breast (60oz) eaten with a plate of bean salad made up of greens as described earlier mixed with ½ cup of cooked rajma or black eyes beans, and a large orange to complete the meal. Chicken should be de-skinned and all fat removed before preparing.

If you pulverise the chicken piece it cooks better with no oil.

5. If you are a one-dish person:
Here the options are many. You can jumble up a dish of cooked beans or cooked boneless chicken pieces with quartered tomatoes, torn lettuce leaves, chopped onion, pineapple chunks or diced green apple and season it with vinaigrette dressing.

You may substitute the oil in the dressing with nuts or seeds.

You can vary the salad vegetables using any that can be eaten raw or steamed like beetroot, cabbage, carrots, etc. Give yourself some really chewable veggies and it takes a while to finish your dinner for lesser calories.

6. Need your traditional foods?
If you need upma, dosa, idli or roti, eat half of what you would eat for breakfast, and fill up with a healthy salad (no oil) and a small fruit.

Eating less for dinner does not mean that you can over eat for breakfast. But a good breakfast will help you eat lesser at dinner and vice versa. A lot of people eat a heavy dinner and do not feel hungry at breakfast. Consequently, breakfast is skipped and this goes forward in the day binging on snacks and unhealthy foods. Reverse
this cycle and find yourself feeling and weighing healthier.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/

More by this author:

How to reduce cholesterol in the Indian diet

Dieting tips for those at work

Image: Getty Images

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