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By Priya Kathpal

Eating a heavy dinner overloads your digestive system and slows down your metabolism rate. Also, eating heavy and hard-to-digest foods at night can promote fatigue and weight gain. Being the last meal of the day, it is always better to keep your dinner light in terms of calories but more concentrated in nutrients and satiety.

According to nutritionist Priya Kathpal an ideal dinner should be high in fibre and protein and low on fats and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in foods like starchy vegetables and grains take longer to digest in the stomach. However, healthy, unsaturated fats as part of the dinner are always welcome. Foods like raw vegetables, chicken, fish, low-fat cottage cheese, quinoa, bajra are ideal choices for dinner as they can keep you full for longer but still are low on calories. Here are some foods that are healthy, light dinner options.

Grilled vegetables

Grilling is one of the healthiest cooking methods you can employ as it preserves the nutrients present in the vegetables. Grilled vegetables are a good idea because they give you a feeling of fullness preventing you from overeating. Vegetables like squash, cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions are some vegetables that grill well and have a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. You can sprinkle some olive oil in your grilled vegetables as it is a highly concentrated source of monounsaturated fat and has many health benefits.

Healthy soup

A bowl of soup or stew is a satisfying meal and can provide you with a host of nutrients. Clear soup with lots of chicken, fish and vegetables is the healthiest form of soup. It provides a significant amount of vitamins due to the variety of vegetables added in the soup. Soup is also rich in dietary fibre that adds bulk to your food without contributing to the calorie count of your meal. However, avoid too creamy soups.

Nutrituous salad

Salads make a nutrient-rich meal as they are high in fibre and low in calories. Eating a fibre-rich diet can help lower your cholesterol levels and also prevent constipation. Healthiest salads are those which have an array of fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and lettuce are rich in vitamin K and can boost the immune system to prevent and fight infections.

You should always have your last meal of the day at least an hour before you sleep as it will give your body ample time to digest what you have eaten. Late dinner may lead to sleep issues and may also cause gas and acidity in your stomach.

Here is a sample dinner plan by nutritionist Priya Kathpal

Vegetarian dinner: 1 cup of mixed veg soup + Low-fat cottage cheese (grilled, sautéed or simply curry form) with some veggies + high-fibre flat bread like jowar or bajra/brown rice

Non-vegetarian dinner: 1 cup of chicken clear soup + grilled/baked fish/simple fish curry with some veggies + high-fire flat bread or brown rice

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How to have a light yet filling dinner