11 simple ideas to make your dinner super healthy.
Dinner, instead of breakfast, has unfortunately become the most important meal of the day as we are usually free from work or business or travel or any sort of engagement by dinner time.
As per Ayurveda, your previous day's dinner plan makes your upcoming day much more energetic, healthy and effective.
Here are 11 simple ideas to make your dinner super healthy. 3 of them are most common.
Make cooking a hobby
Few people consider cooking as a hobby. Most people consider cooking as a daily household task to carry out. Cooking has however been a central part of human lives since ancient times. It is not just a means of having healthy food; it is also good for one’s wallet.
In this modern age, people tend to avoid cooking due to their busy work schedules and the availability of packed food.
In order to enjoy a healthy meal, you should actually learn the art of cooking. Enroll in cooking classes or purchase a book filled with healthy recipes. You should try cooking at least a healthy dinner.
It should be a fun filled hobby rather than a task assigned to any specific household member. We just need to change our attitude and outlook towards cooking.
We can also consider spend some quality time with the family cooking a healthy meal in the kitchen.
Treat your kitchen like a kitchen
Many of us consider the kitchen as just another room in our home. We often have several items lying in the kitchen that do not belong there.
These days, a new practice of having an open area kitchen has sprung up, which if not planned carefully, could be as harmful as breathing air without oxygen.
Do not leave mobile phones, books, cosmetics, toys, newspapers and other inappropriate items in the kitchen. This will contribute to keep the kitchen clean and will help practice healthy cooking while in the kitchen.
Always clean up the kitchen for the next use after finishing your cooking. This will help encourage other family members who want to cook but are afraid of cleaning the kitchen first.
Plan a soup before the dinner
Soup is an easy dish to prepare. It is equally healthy and tasty. Always maintain a good stock of different vegetables in the kitchen like spinach, carrots, sweet corn, peas, green bean and coriander for making soup. Try to add lentils, chickpeas and legumes
They are a good source of protein and dietary fiber.
Add 3 old-style and easy to cook food items in your dinner
No matter what community or region of the country you belong to, there has always been some traditional and cultural food item that is easy to cook.
Plan your week to have any of the 3 old-style, easy to cook food items. Try to add this to your dinner menu at least 3 times a week. This will help you to plan your shopping and storage of food ingredients in the kitchen.
Try to add Rice, Chapatti, Poha, Upma or Idli or anything local and traditional to your dinner. Ask your grandmother, mother, aunty or cousins for help with these local food varieties.
Fix your day for eating out
There are many professionals, homemakers or business owners who opt to eat out several times as they lack having food items in their kitchen at home as per the menu of their choice.
Limit eating out to a planned outing. Fix a particular day out for dinner to enjoy your favorite meal.
This will help you to avoid the intake of extra calories and it will be wallet friendly as well. This also makes your dinner a treat for you just because of the time constraint you put on it.
Enjoy your dinner with your family 4 times a week
It has been our ancient tradition to cook together and eat together. In these times of rapid urbanization, people now live as nuclear families away from each other and spread out at different places.
This is one of the main reasons why we cannot eat together or cook together like in the days when large joint families were common.
As per the Family and Parenting Institute in UK, people who have dinner as a family, spend valuable time together and this makes a positive impact on their health.
Families who eat together are more likely to eat healthy foods such as more of fruits and vegetables than when individuals alone. Sitting together with your family at the dining table, you enjoy more healthy food items like juices and lentils.
This is also a key to a fruitful relationship with your family members, which enriches our health in many ways.
Cook new recipes on weekend
We long for the weekend for some fun and enjoyment after a week of hard work.
We can add some zing to our lives if we try to cook new meals or recipes during the weekend. This will activate your interest for eating healthy food. You can also ask for help from your partner or family member because you will have more time at hand during weekends.
Ask your mom, cousins, sisters, grandmother for new recipes, something you also enjoy but have not cooked for a while or never tried at all.
Try to relax for 20 minutes before you eat this new recipe. This will help stimulate your appetite.
Don’t dink alcohol before your dinner
As per a research study done by University of Liverpool, drinking wine or alcohol stimulates your hunger and you tend to consume more fatty and salty food. This bad eating habit leads to weight gain.
If you want to drink alcohol, try to add this to your dinner. Drink one glass of wine or any alcohol along with your dinner, not before or after. However, drink in moderation only.
Don’t use any electronic device during dinner
Many studies have shown that watching or viewing electronic devices like TVs, mobile phones or tablets, while having a meal is an unhealthy eating practice as it lowers the appetite.
As per the recommendations of Ayurveda, chewing food at least 32 times is necessary while eating. Watching TV, mobile phones or tablets adversely affects this good practice and we tend to drink more liquids rather than eating solid foods, which leads to low protein and dietary fiber intake.
We tend to consume less vegetables and fruits while we watch television due to lack of attention to food; we also have more soft drinks than we chew food.
Don’t force your children to finish their dinner
We often find that our children do not want to eat their lunch or dinner sitting by our side. Even if they start their meal, they do not finish it.
As per recent studies, forcing yours kids to finish their meal against their wishes leaves a negative effect in their body.
We should always encourage the ‘one bite’ law on the table, which implies telling your children to eat at least one bite of all the food items present on the dining table. Try to take note of their food interests and slowly encourage and ensure the right food habits in them.
Eat something between 4 to 6 pm to promote light dinner
Cortisol is a significant hormone in the body that increases in the morning and facilitates an active start to your day. It slows down in the evening, which helps in giving you a restful sleep. The dropping rate of cortisol in our body makes us tend to eat more in the evening or during dinner.
In order to have a healthy dinner, we need to make it light by cutting our dinner portion by half. This can be done by eating a small meal between 4 to 6 pm in the evening.
You can have tea & chana, peanuts, chapatti, an apple, cucumber or a whole wheat bread sandwich. You can maintain an interval of 2 hours until you have dinner and you can consume any food item with more fiber and proteins for dinner.
Work on focusing your mind; if you are hungry for a certain food, cut that food portion by half and then begin eating, chew on your food 32 times and finish your meal slowly.
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