Eating a Low Calorie Balanced Dinner is the Key to Healthy weight loss

Most people are trying to lose weight at sometime or the other of their life. All of us seem to know that we must eat less and be more active and of course drink lots of water. Yet most of us are unsuccessful with our projects. We see that the mistake is invariably in the dinner meal. Let us start with calorie distribution.

  1. The total calories that we consume in a day must be distributed as 40% between bed tea/coffee/milk plus breakfast plus fruit at 11am. The next 40% must be between lunch plus tea/coffee plus a fruit at 6pm.Dinner must consist only of 20%of the total food intake or calorie intake in a whole day. This is because at the end of the day the metabolism of your body is slowing down and getting ready to sleep.

    Many people donít want to listen to their body and want to skip breakfast (zero calories intake) or only eat some fruits on only a glass of milk, which is about 10% of their daily intake. They donít feel like eating lunch so they just have a sandwich or salads and a cool drink, which would be about 20%of total calorie intake. Finally, they have hardly eaten the whole day and eat 70% of food at dinner. They keep justifying this saying that since they have not eaten well throughout the day, at dinner they can eat anything.

    When tired and hungry at the end of the long day, we wonít choose healthy low-calorie food and salad but we will eat only things that taste good and those that will pamper our taste buds and such foods are all high in calorie and high in fat. Then all the exercise and dieting and controlling done during the day goes waste. The body will say that it is getting ready to go to bed so why are we supplying so many extra calories at this time. The body will use the 20% of calories it needs and then convert the remaining 50% into fat and store it.

  2. The other extreme are people, dietitians and fitness experts who understand that we should eat less at night and consume or recommend only a glass of milk, only a bowl of soup or boiled veggies or only a raw salad. Many eat one roti and a bowl of cooked vegetables. Some people opt to eat breakfast Ė cereal and milk or oats or ragi porridge for dinner. Few follow, no carbs at night and may eat only a piece of chicken or fish. This is not a balanced meal. All these options are wrong and harmful to the body in that they donít provide the required nutrients in the right proportion, and they donít constitute a balanced meal.

  3. Dinner must be seen as a proper meal and must be eaten and must be a balance of carbohydrate and protein foods along with fresh salad, which will provide vitamins and minerals and plenty of fibre. The main criterion is to consume only about 20% of the days intake of calories and ensure that there is a minimum amount of fat or oil in the food.

    The ideal dinner we recommend is whole-wheat roties, 2-3 small ones, along with one cup (225ml) of dhal or sambar or ĺ cup (150ml) pulses like channa, rajma, moong, etc., made into a light gravy or dry preparation. (a little oil may be used for seasoning) You may add half a cup of yogurt to this and definitely 2cups of raw salad. We advise you to avoid the cooked vegetable at night as they may contain oil or coconut. Also, raw salad vegetables is preferred to boiled vegetables as the salad has lesser calories and more fibre. To add variety, one may eat whole-wheat toast with baked beans and a bowl of raw salad or whole wheat bread and 2 egg whites omelettes along with a salad as an alternative to roti and dhal.

    We advise you to strictly avoid non-veg at night while losing weight as non-veg takes 4-8 hours to be digested and will get stored as fat while you sleep. Also please donít add oil dressings to your salad. Lime, vinegar, yogurt, salt, pepper, coriander, chilies, etc., may be used.

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