Food

5 Dietitian Tips for a Healthier Dinner

By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

Hello there! If you’re a regular reader of my blog, we’re already friends. But if this is your first time stopping by, I’d like to welcome you. Each week at “The Eat List,” I’ll be sharing my favorite tips for healthy eating, plus nutrition and weight-loss news to help you meet your goals.

Little changes can add up big time — so to get started, here are five of my fave small changes to help healthy-up your dinner plate tonight.

1. Don’t buy food when you’re “hangry.” We’ve all had the extra box of cookies or pint of ice cream end up in the grocery cart after shopping while hungry. Well, you also may be more likely to order more indulgent foods if you’re hungry while inputting your Seamless.com order. In a recent study in the Journal of Marketing Research, study authors had college students order lunch either before class or right after class (and right before mealtime). Students ordering food with a bigger time buffer — when they likely weren’t as hungry — were more likely to request lower-calorie side dishes, desserts, and drinks.

2. Healthy fat may be good for you! I advise my clients to have a healthy fat — a quarter of an avocado, a couple of tablespoons of nuts, two teaspoons of olive oil, or about ten olives — with each meal. These foods contain healthy mono- and  polyunsaturated fats that may help keep you full and feeling satisfied. Plus, recent research in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that eating olive oil or nuts as part of a regular diet could lead to more weight loss, versus eating a reduced-fat diet.

3. Greek yogurt is a stand-in for almost anything. I always have a large supply of plain low-fat Greek yogurt in my fridge! I swap it in for sour cream on tacos or for whipped cream on baked goods. And it works well as a base for healthy dips; just mix it with minced garlic, lemon or lime juice, and chopped fresh herbs. I’ve also used it to replace some or all of the butter or oil in a baking mix, up to half the butter in a cookie recipe, or up to two-thirds of the buttermilk in a pancake recipe.

4. Skip the butter or oil — and opt for veggie broth. This is my absolute favorite cooking tip, and I use it almost every day. Just last night, I sautéed mushrooms in low-sodium vegetable broth. I stopped cooking the veggies right before the liquid absorbed, so they remained moist. If you don’t have a supply of broth on hand, you can use water.

5. Have your fruit in a bowl of “nice cream.” The bowl of deliciousness pictured here might look like ice cream — but it’s not. It’s Cantaloupe Banana Nice Cream with Pistachios (frozen cantaloupe and banana blended with lemon juice, lemon peel, and milk). It’s delicious and contains no added sugar and only a tiny bit of fat. Half a cup is 100 calories or 1 Smart Points® value — 6 Smart Points less than the same amount of chocolate ice cream.

I encourage you to join in on the conversation this week and every week! What are your thoughts on this topic? What are your favorite healthy cooking tips? Share them with me on Connect @amy.gorin! 

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