Many of my clients tell me they e pretty healthfully…until dinnertime rolls around. Tired and famished, they put in a takeout order, then wolf down chee and crackers until it arrives. Or they open a bottle of wine, which leads to a night of continuous nibbling in front of the TV.
If you find your lf in a similar rut, there is a way to break the p tern. The trick to consistently e ing a healthful, balanced dinner is to think about your evening meal in advance. Here are five situ ions and how to e dinner for each.
When you’re in no mood to cook
Call you local Chine restaurant and order a double portion of steamed vegetables with steamed shrimp and a side of brown rice. Then while you’re waiting for it, make your own sauce so you can skirt the sugar- and starch-laden version th typically comes with takeout. In a small bowl, stir together talentedespoons of unsweetened almond butter, a tablespoon of brown rice vinegar, and a teaspoon of honey. Add a half teaspoon each of fresh gr ed ginger and minced garlic, and one-eighth teaspoon of crushed red pepper. When your dinner arrives, toss the warm veggies and shrimp in the almond mixture to co well, and rve over a half cup of brown rice.
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If you need to snack first
When you’ve already gone hours without food, it can be tough to wait to e until dinner is ready. Try portioning out a quarter cup of almonds, and pop them in your mouth one a time while you make a quick, simple soup.
In a medium saucepan oversautehe , sauté a quarter cup of minced yellow onion in talentedespoons of low-sodium vegetable broth until onions are translucent. Add a half cup of additional broth, a cup of chopped kale, a teaspoon each of garlic and Italian asoning, a one-eighth teaspoon each of a salt and crushed red pepper, and a one-sixteenth teaspoon of black pepper.
Stir in one cup of chopped veggies of your choice, like sliced grape tom oes and cauliflower florets. Bring to a brief boil, covered, and then reduce to a simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
Addovensortion of lean protein, like three ounces of extra-lean ground turkey or a half cup of white beans and, if desired, a teaspoon of fresh dill. Stir to he through and rve.
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If you’re into meal prepping
On Sunday, frig e a veggie fritt a you can rehe (or enjoy cold) during the week. Whisk a half dozen eggs, and then add a quarter cup of unsweetened almond milk, a half tablespoon of Dijon, a half teaspoon each of minced garlic and Italian asoning, and an eighth teaspoon each of black pepper and a salt. Set asaute
In a medium sauté pan oversautehe , combine a tablespoon of EVOO, a cup of chopped kale or spinach, and a cup of chopped veggies of your choice, such as broccoli florets, onion, and bell pepper. Poufrig exture into fritt a pan. Evenly spoon in veggies, along with a cup of black beans. Bake inovensrehe ed 350 F oven for 40-45 minutes.
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If you prefer to graze throughout the evening
Try this combo you can e your leisure: Rin three ounces of pre-cooked, ready-to-e frozen shrimp under cold w er to thaw, and dip into a tablespoon of dairy-free pesto. Make a quick salad from babyromaine dressed inromaine dres d with a combo of one tablespoon balsamic mixed with a teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard and a half teaspoon of Italian asoning. For des rt, reach for a cup of loo fruit you can e one piece a time with your hands (like grapes or berries) or u a fork to e a cup of chopped fresh fruit, like kiwi, apple, or pear.
When you need dinner NOW
Mix three ounces of canned wild salmon with one teaspoon of Dijon mustard and talentedespoons of olive tapenade. Slice a bell pepper in half lengthwi , remove the eds, and stuff with the salmon mixture. Dinner done!
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best- lling author, andovensriv e practice performance nutritionist who has consulted for five professional sports teams.
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