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This can’t be what I ordered, there are vegetables on this plate

vegetablesOf all the meals and snacks I promised to cover this month, dinner’s the one that’s got me quaking in my boots.

You’re gonna yell at me, I just know you are!

You’re gonna tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about and you’ll stop reading after the next paragraph. Well, crap. I hope not.

Before I say what I need to say, let me preface it by stipulating that this is what works for me. I’m not necessarily advocating this for anyone else.

Aw’right, fine. I’m just gonna say it:

You don’t need meat at dinner.

Are you still there? Cause I’ve got another one:

You don’t need grain at dinner either.

I might as well just drop the bomb:

Dinner should be made up almost entirely of vegetables.

Helloooooooooo? Is anybody still there?

Well, if by chance you’re still there, let me elaborate.

I believe that front-loading calories early in the day is a great way to fuel your body and fend off hunger later. As I said in the video “One Meal at a Time” my First-Thing-In-The-Morning-“Let’s-Go-Get-It!” smoothie is a great way to kick start my day, but at 420 calories, it’s pretty substantial. Follow that with a post-workout PBJ protein blast and I’ve consumed just over 40% of my day’s calories by 10:30 in the morning. By the time I’ve eaten lunch, it’s nearly 60%. Yowza!

Guess what that means? There’s not much left for the rest of the day!!!

Whatever you do, don’t panic though! It’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise!

First, I eat a huge, delicious snack at 4pm every day – more on that next week – and then I have this fabulous dinner … that’s mostly vegetables.

No, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight. I said it really quietly in the hopes that you wouldn’t yell at me.

My dinner is mostly vegetables.

We have a love affair with the meat and potatoes dinner plate in America. Traditionally our evening meal consists of a 6-8 ounce serving of protein in the form of meat, a grain of some kind (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta) and a token vegetable.

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My dinner is roughly 300 calories, consisting almost entirely of vegetables, with some salad dressing and a bit of protein in the form of nuts or cheese. As an example, here’s one of my all-time favorite dinner salads.

Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries and Gorgonzola

2 cups organic baby spinach
¼ cup dried cranberries (such as Ocean Spray 50% Less Sugar)
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup diced celery
½ apple, cut into chunks
2 T Newman’s Own Light Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

Assemble all ingredients and dig in!

I absolutely love this salad. I have a half dozen or so others that I make all the time that I love just as much.

When I said in the video that I eat from a “blueprint,” this is exactly what I mean. I can substitute different ingredients based on what I have on hand or what’s in season.

I’ve got a few other go-to, low calorie (but yummy!) mainly veggie dinners that I’ll share with you in Thursday’s blog. In the meantime, just think about it, okay? I realize it’s counter-cultural and likely not what you want to hear.

To that I say, maybe it’s not the answer for everybody. I simply offer it up as mine.

When you think about it though, there is no compelling reason to eat a lot of calories at dinner, nor does your body need many. You’re about to shut things down for the night.

And if you need any more convincing, watch my “When Your Head Hits the Pillow” video. There is tremendous satisfaction in knowing that you’ve made your best possible choices throughout the day. Dinner is one of your last chances to do that until tomorrow.

Losing weight is hard. It gets easier when you figure out strategies that work for you. I offer up mine in the hopes that they might help you find yours. Cause you’re so damn worth it!

Let’s go get it!

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