Dinner by far is the most important meal that brings the family together at the end of the day so it only makes sense to make sure everyone around the table is connecting with each other as well leaving the table nourished and satiated.
Welcome to my weekly blog post! We continue to talk more around culinary nutrition and this time the focus being on Healthy Dinners.
“Often times we find ourselves scrambling close to dinner time because we are not prepared enough to tackle hungry stomachs specially after a long day and we end up eating out or making choices we don't feel to great about later on!
Dinners by far has been the meal that can either make or break your healthy eating habits. Often times we are so busy during the day that we find it easy to ignore our hunger cues. However its only in the evenings that we realize how hungry we really are! We have not eaten enough and suddenly we are looking for anything and everything that might curb our hunger.
What do we do then....grab what ever we can gets our hands on to munch on. Snacks, drive through, eating out and if you have kids and are running to pick them up from classes and back, things get even more out of control! So what are some ways in which we can build healthy habits around making sure we are getting a good, nourishing, mindful meal at dinner times? Here are some things that have helped me over time -
1. Put a Menu together for the week
Putting a menu together for the week ahead will help to keep things organized and will make meal prepping and grocery shopping easy. Its not about the "how to" but more about the "what to" have for dinners.
2. Include all the Macronutrients and Micronutrients
Another easy way to make sure what you will put on the dinner table and ensure everyone is getting their nourishment , is to make sure you are including all the macro and micronutrients into the menu.
Macros are - Protein, Carbs, and Fats | Micros are - Vitamins and Minerals
Proteins - Meats, Eggs, Dairy, Lentils, Legumes, Tofu
Carbs - All grains, including rice, flatbreads, tortillas, pastas make up carbs. Fats - Oils, shortenings, salad dressings, avocado, nuts, butter . Vitamins and Minerals - Mostly all vegetables and nuts. Mostly all food items overlap in there nutrient contents with some nutrients being more predominant than the other. For eg- lentils and legumes along with being good sources of vegetarian protein, provide us with some good complex carbohydrates as well. Vegetables provide us with fiber ( carbs). Making sure we have a variety of foods included in our meals, will ensure we are getting a good mix of both macro and micronutrients. Want to know more in details about the macro and micros? Click here
3. Make dinner time about family time.
We love Taco Tuesday's and Pizza nights. It not only makes it easy to have one less dinner item to think about...but it has slowly become a family activity! If possible make at least a few dinners about cooking and exploring favorites or new dishes together as a family. Its an excellent way to get kids excited about food, cooking and healthy eating.
Dinner doesn't have to be a chore - rather a family fun activity that everyone can look forward to. Again, refer above to planning a menu earlier whenever possible.
4. Keep one or at the most two dinners free.
Let's face it , we all know that meal prep comes with its own set of pre and post work. Cutting, chopping , cleaning up....in order to break the monotony and stay motivated towards creating healthy dinners, its ok to take some free days! Be it over the weekend or during the week. See what works for you, your family and your schedules building in a few dinners that you are not preparing yourself. I have seen that it keeps things fresh and we have more control over when we eat out! Like any other habit- make sure you start building on healthy dinners by starting really small. Small steps will help you fine tune them and keep moving onwards! So when it comes to the question of " What's for Dinner" you will always have an answer:) The bottom line...… Plan, prep, keep it flexible and keep it fun! Here are 3 menus that I had put together on my IG page! They are all #vegetarain meals! Hope they inspire you to create something that works for you and your family! Need a specific recipe in the menu, add it in the comment and I will be sure to share that with you!
Stay healthy & stay safe my friends :)