Part 3 in a 3-part series from Holistic Nutrition Bytes’ Guide to what to eat in 2009.
We’ve covered breakfast, the most important meal, and lunch, a vitally important meal for blood sugar maintenance and stabilizing energy levels. What about dinner? The adage goes “eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” What this means is that the majority of your calories should be consumed earlier in the day, at breakfast and lunch, when you are expending the most energy. You don’t need a heavy dinner (or a lot of caloric energy) before retiring for the evening. Your liver is most active at night detoxifying your body, and this task will be complicated by digesting a heavy meal. The result? You may not sleep well, you won’t digest your meal as thoroughly, and your liver can’t effectively complete its job. And it will affect your weight loss efforts, if that’s your goal. So here we go:
-Steak and a baked potato: I am by no means anti-red meat, but as I’ve said before, please buy organic meat, beef especially. The amount of hormones and antibiotics fed to factory farmed cows is alarming and have detrimental effects on human health, not to mention that the animals are treated so poorly it will shock you. See my previous posts about factory farming conditions. ANYWAY. This meal does not contain anything green and is quite heavy for an evening meal. Red meat takes a lot of effort to digest and this could mean poor sleep later. Baked potatoes are not the best choice and are very high on the glycemic index, negatively affecting insulin levels. Try sweet potatoes instead. And while steak dinners are good occasionally for celebrating, add something green (like broccoli) and don’t make it a regular occurrence: at a restaurant, they can equal nearly a day’s worth of calories.
-Chicken casserole with white rice: while i’m down with one-pot meals, the standard chicken casseroles need an overhaul. Commonly made with processed cream of mushroom soups (yuck), white flour, and other nutrient-void ingredients, this meal lacks good nutrition and is generally heavily processed, even when homemade. Brown rice is a better choice than white rice, which has been stripped of fiber and B vitamins. Try crock pot meals with chicken and veggies, or place chicken and root vegetables (yams, onions, parsnips, carrots) and olive oil in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or so. Serve with side salad. Presto! Or, whip up a chicken stir fry with veggies in the wok. Finish off with a little sesame oil and soy sauce for Asian flair.
-Hambuger and french fries: don’t get me started.
-Pasta with meat sauce: Again, nothing green here. At least add a mixed green salad. Pasta is an inferior choice because it is made with white flour and is a refined carb-heavy meal. There are many whole grain pastas and gluten free pastas that are better choices. Try mixing the sauce with some veggies like zucchini and red peppers, and use brown rice or quinoa-based pastas. If you feel heavy and fatigued after this meal, chances are you’re carb or gluten-sensitive.
And for dessert? Try a couple squares of dark chocolate, some greek yogurt with berries, or a baked apple with cinnamon, walnuts, and vanilla ice cream.
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