Part 4: Dinner
There are 3 Major Reasons why Dinner time is a DISASTER for so many people:
- You’ve waited too long to eat, between lunch and dinner.
- Emotions get the best of you.
- You didn’t plan well.
It’s 6PM and I’m Starving.
You are not starving. People in 3rd World countries are starving. You are hungry, however. Most likely, you had a day in which you did not have adequate protein throughout the day. (namely Breakfast and Lunch) Secondly, your blood sugar level is low from waiting over 6 hours to eat. (As a general guideline, you should be eating every 3-5 hours)
Of course, what do you crave in this situation? CARBS!
You load up on carbs, your blood sugar peaks, 3-4 hours later your blood sugar drops, and you are scrounging your kitchen for some sort of “snack” to munch on because you are “hungry again”.
KEY POINT: EAT SOMETHING DECENT BETWEEN LUNCH & DINNER
My day was a trainwreck.
You come home after a long day. You are tired. You might be frustrated by the traffic. You might be ticked off by the day’s events. You might be bitterly unsatisfied. Did I describe your situation?
What will you gravitate to?
Something that is “fun” to make up for the day. You will escape through food.
KEY POINT: ASK YOURSELF? IS FOOD REALLY THE LONG TERM ANSWER OR DO I NEED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES ELSEWHERE IN MY LIFE?
There’s nothing in my kitchen to eat!
You should have gone shopping. You should have had a fridge of food that has some ready to go options. Prior planning was lacking, and now you are just scrambling. Is it “order in” night, or do we go with the boxed convenience food?
KEY POINT: PLAN YOUR DINNER THE NIGHT BEFORE, BASED ON THE SHOPPING YOU DID PRIOR TO THE WEEK STARTING.
Alright, lets’ talk dinner strategy. Here’s the assumptions I’m going to make:
- You’ve gone shopping for the groceries you need for the week.
- You have a rough template of the foods you generally eat for dinner.
- The foods are readily available to cook somewhat quickly.
- You’ve already eaten properly throughout the day
Note: If this is not the case, you are already in hot water.
Strategy 1: Have 3-4 “Go to” Dinner Options that you enjoy.
These dinner options are part of your weekly plan.
Here are my non-refuel weekly selections:
- Grilled Chicken with a Ready in the Bag Salad. (I have a few salads that I really enjoy that offer up plenty of variety. Honestly, I can be lazy, with bagged salad being quick and easy. As for the chicken, it’s either cooked the night before or I put it on the grill to cook quickly)
- Pork Tenderloin with Mixed Vegetables on the side and a Yam (The pork tenderloin can be subbed with any lean protein. The mixed vegetables give me healthy greens and I can stack my plate with some high volume food. The yam, I just enjoy and normally add cinnamon to it)
- Omellete & Turkey Bacon Dinner. (My low-cal option when I’m low on food and I need something quick. Again, time is of the essence. That’s my reality)
Strategy 2: Have your “Quick Pick ” Option just in case you don’t have time.
There are days when I need to be out of the house fast and just don’t have time to cook. Yes, sometimes I’m in a mood where I really don’t want to cook either. This option works for me:
- 1/2 Chicken (Ready-made) from Costco and a baked potato or rice. (I’m extremely busy. Some nights I need to bring my daughter to her volleyball practice. This is a healthy, convenient option)
Strategy 3: Have your “Eating Out” Options Readily Available
- A Grilled Chicken Wrap, packed with veggies and light on the dressing is the easiest thing I can eat that satisfies me, that does not make a mess in my car that I can get almost anywhere when I don’t have time to eat.
- Grilled Chicken Salad. Fast food chains always have salad available. If you ask for double meat, they will give it to you at a premium cost. Mixed with a light dressing, you can have a simple quick meal from almost anywhere.
Here’s the KEY TAKE HOME PIECES:
Have your groceries in your house so that you are never stuck for food.
Create a rotation of dinners that are quick, nutritious and enjoyable.
Always have a Plan B just in case the unexpected happens.
As always, these steps require good habits.
Secondly, avoiding the pitfalls mentioned in the beginning of the article makes a huge difference.