For a Healthy Diet: The Key Ingredient is Dinner

· July 24, 2015
If you’re the kind of person who skips breakfast, even eating a big dinner won’t help give you the energy overnight that you’ll need to face a new day.

We’re always reading about tips for easy weight loss: reducing the number of calories we consume, increasing our protein intake, splitting our foods into several meals throughout the day, not eating too many carbs or sugars, etc. But there’s one way that is sure to help us lose weight gradually and in a healthy manner – and it may surprise you. Be very careful about what you eat for dinner.

This article will explain how and why we can lose weight just by improving our daily dinner habits, which is one of the keys to a healthy diet.

What’s the deal with dinner?

There’s a saying that one should breakfast like a king, have lunch like a prince, and eat dinner as a pauper – because this is how we should ration our food intake during the day. Generally speaking, as the day progresses we require less and less energy, unless we are very active at night.

When we reduce the size of our dinner, or even start eating it earlier, we might find that we’re more hungry in the morning and will eat a bigger breakfast as a consequence. So, by the end of the day we’ve eaten the same amount of food, but the difference is that it was all be converted into energy. Your body is balancing its weight naturally – you don’t have to do a thing!

2 soup

What time should we eat dinner?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, between the hours of 11pm and 3am is when the gallbladder and liver regenerate themselves. These are two organs that are fundamental to digestion and can either improve or worsen how we process our food. So here’s another reason to better regulate our dinnertimes: to keep from interrupting the body’s natural regenerative processes and keep our digestive system optimal, we shouldn’t eat dinner any later than 8pm.

How much should we eat for dinner?

This depends on each person and their particular lifestyle, but the important thing is to not let yourself go hungry and then eat too much later as a consequence. You must learn to reach the point that you’re satisfied and then stop eating, but a lot of people continue either because there’s still food on their plate, out of stress, because they want to treat themselves to dessert, they’re distracted by something else, or plenty of other reasons.

If we can find a way to train ourselves to stop eating when we’re satisfied, not only will it help keep us trim but it also improves digestion and keeps the belly flat – when you eat too much, you can feel and look swollen around the abdomen.

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Choose satisfying foods

The best way to avoid overeating but still not feel like you’re starving yourself is to eat foods that have a high fiber and water content, which fills us up but these foods are also easily digested.

Most of the time, this is found in vegetables, but algae are also high in fiber and water. Wakame seaweed, agar-agar, kombu, sea asparagus, and more can all be incorporated into a healthy diet. They can be put in soups and salads, or in the case of agar-agar are satisfying on their own and you can even create healthy desserts with some of these ingredients.

What are some satisfying dishes we can prepare?

  • Sautéed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and eggs)
  • Vegetable soup made with kombu seaweed and oats
  • Salad with sprouts, apples, and avocado
  • Gazpacho
  • Hummus (chickpea puree) or guacamole with slices of carrot and cucumber
  • Vegetable soup and quinoa
  • Spinach with raisins and pine nuts
  • Cream of zucchini with wakame seaweed and curry
  • Cold peas and chicken salad
  • Sweetened agar with apple and cinnamon
4 guacamole

But what about when you’re really hungry?

Some people would like to eat less for dinner or eat it earlier, but cannot because they work late in the day or for some other reason. When they come home at night they just want to be able to have dinner in peace.

For them we recommend that they have a small snack about three hours before their usual dinnertime, so they can enjoy some of the dishes we described without excess.

Of course, the snack should also be healthy. Below are some examples:

  • Fruits or natural juices
  • Nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.
  • Dried fruits: dates, prunes, dried apricots, etc.
  • Whole wheat bread sticks
  • Fresh cheese with quince paste
  • Sandwiches made with whole wheat bread (cheese, avocado, egg salad, etc.)