8 Simple Changes at Dinner That Will Help You Lose Weight
Small changes with big results! Top nutritionists let you in on secrets for simple dinner swaps.
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Cook at Home (Yes!)
It’s no secret that most restaurant meals contain lots of extra calories. Christy Wilson, RDN says cooking at home is key for weight loss success. “By cooking at home, you’re in total control of what and how much goes on your plate,” she adds. “You can choose quality ingredients by combining lean proteins with whole grains, vegetables and fruits.”
Know Your Hunger
Do you ever feel super overstuffed after a meal? NYC-based dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS, RDN says mindfulness is very important for weight management. She shares, “I challenge my clients to set a timer for 20 minutes, and wait until the timer goes off to go back for seconds. If you’re still hungry in twenty minutes, allow yourself a second helping. Most of the time, people find that they don’t want seconds after waiting 20 minutes.”
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Shrink Your Plate
It’s amazing how quickly you can trick your mind into thinking you’re eating more! Chef Abbie Gellman, MS, RDN offers this tip: “Use smaller plates. Go by the 1/2 plate vegetable, 1/4 plate starch, 1/4 plate protein guideline, but swap the 12-inch dinner plate for a 9-inch plate. It will look like the same amount of food, but it will actually be smaller portion sizes.”
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Plan Your Meals
Planning out the next week’s meals will set you up for success. (Here’s how to get started!) Christy Wilson says that weight loss starts before you even head out to the grocery store.
“Haphazard-grocery shopping or going when you’re hungry is the perfect recipe for disaster,” she shares. Pick out a couple recipes or meal ideas, make your weekly shopping list and stick to it.
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Eat the Right-Size Portions
Think about a deck of cards-size when serving your protein (fish, chicken, beef, eggs, pork) and about 1 cup, or a fist-size, for your carbs (brown rice, potatoes, pasta, corn). Round out your meal with lots of tasty non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or bell peppers.
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Go for the Greens
Eating more veggies is an easy way to reduce your overall calorie intake while increasing your fiber. (Fiber contributes to satiety, so you’ll feel full longer.) Fill up with a delicious and colorful salad before your entrée—check out these salad ideas for inspiration!
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Plate Your Takeout
Sure, cooking at home is the ideal choice. But as triathlon coach Chrissy Carroll, RDN admits, there’s bound to be a crazy night that has you dialing up for some carry-out Thai. “Regardless of what you order, always portion out your take-out on a plate,” she says. “Eating from a box or carton can be deceiving, and research suggests that you eat more calories when eating from a larger helping of food.”
By simply using a plate, you’ll naturally cut calories!
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Swap Soda for Water
Water (and other no-calorie beverages) are an easy swap. Just one beer contains about 150 calories, a glass of juice has 80-150 calories and a can of soda around 150-200 calories. Try water infused with herbs like mint or basil, berries or citrus for a fresh flavor. Sparking mineral water satisfies a craving for a special beverage without all the crazy sugar.