It’s Dinner Time!

Greetings again from simply playful fare!  Last week, we talked to you all about breakfast, and shared a few recipes.  This week, we thought we would talk about dinner.  I know the natural progression of things should be breakfast, lunch, then dinner.  I want to do dinner first though.  Why?  Why does it matter?  I just feel like doing dinner first.  Dinner can be a place where you can fall into a calorie nightmare.  It’s really easy to throw together a quick meal on weeknights, but it’s also easy to go out to eat, or cook something that’s not necessarily that great for your insides.  But never fear!  We’re here to give you all a few simple pointers on what you can do at dinner time to avoid the calories, and go easy on your wallet.  Personally, I think the best advice I can give you for helping with dinners has already been posted.  Make a menu!  Seriously, I cannot stress enough how important that is to healthy and budget eating.  Let’s talk about what you can do to help make that menu.

1.)  Plan your meals around the vegetables.  If you want your meals to be healthy, vegetables need to be the main course.  When planning your dinners, think about the vegetables that you have around, or that look good in the market.  From there, think about what will go well with them.  For example, I usually have frozen stir fry vegetables in the freezer.  Those alone are pretty good, but pick up a little lean protein, like chicken, and use that with it.  Now, it’s a meal centered on veggies.  Now, don’t go trying to find loopholes in what a veggie is.  Yes, according to the US government pizza is a vegetable.  Don’t go planning your meals around pizza.  This is not to say you can’t have pizza, but have your meal be salad, with a slice of pizza, and you will be ok.

2.)  Stick to lean protein.  As we discussed in your breakfast post, bacon is King Meat.  Bacon, however, is not a lean protein.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are fantastic, but more on those later.  You can use hamburger, but it needs to be the lean kind.  Even better though, use ground turkey (again, you need make sure it is lean) or even ground chicken.  If you are going to be using beef or pork, just make sure it is lean.

3.)  Avoid carbs.  We’ve touched on carbs before.  I’m not asking you to cut out all carbs, which would be very difficult.  Just remember what we talked about in pantry basics.  You need to be using whole wheat.  Remember, carbs are often hidden in vegetables, too.  Potatoes aren’t that great for you, but sweet potatoes are.  Keep an eye on the labels.  If it has lots of carbs, and no fiber, steer clear.

4.)  Keep an eye on the sodium levels.  People always give salt a hard time.  Here’s the thing about salt, though.  Your body needs sodium just as much as it needs water.  The problem lies with us thinking that it needs too much sodium.  This is because salt often makes things taste better.  Sodium can make your body hold on to extra water.  This is called water weight, and is the easiest weight to lose.  It’s also the easiest to gain back.  Remember earlier how I said chicken breasts were awesome?  Of course you do.  You’re smart.  You read our blog.  Have you ever looked at the amount of sodium in a chicken breast?  They can be loaded with it.  This comes from manufacturers soaking the chicken in salt water so that it gains extra weight.  Chicken is still good for you, but when eating it, try not to use any extra salt.

These are a few simple steps that can make planning your dinners a little healthier.  I apologize for the brevity of this week’s post.  Crystal and I are currently in the process of moving.  If you’ve ever moved, you know what that’s like.  If you haven’t, it’s kind of like slamming your hand in a door.  It’s frustrating, the results are minimal, and when you’re done, there’s still work to do.  In the case of your hand, it’s the whole healing process thing.  Anyway, once we get all settled we will get back to posting some recipes for you.  I made some killer chicken wings last week that I can’t wait for you all to try.  In the meantime, stay hungry out there!

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