Dinners for Winners

November 25

Growing up, I remember fun times playing outside until my mother called us in to dinner. It was always after Dad came in from work and once we saw him, we knew it wouldn’t be long before it was time to eat.

Dinnertime used to signal the hour when family gathered together to share the last meal of the day. This gave everyone at the table a chance to talk and share their experiences. This type of dining allows time to enjoy your food and to spend quality time with your loved ones. As often as possible, promote family gathering and share your meals together. TAGZH5FJG5FD {+}

With three growing boys in the house and all of them with different scheduled activities, it’s sometimes tricky to have everyone at home at the same time. We make it a special point to have dinner together most evenings. It helps to relax at the dinner table and listen to the kids’ stories about their day. This little ritual is my own personal frosting to top off a wonderful and blessed day.

Whether you eat alone or share your meal with others, allow your mealtime to be a celebration of life. Take your time, savor each morsel, don’t gobble your food down or jump up to do the dishes as soon as you put the last bite of food in your mouth.

Remember our motto of the Fitness4Her diet–Food is not the problem. Food is the answer. Every meal you eat should be enjoyable and satisfying. Never feel guilty about eating. If you happen to overeat or succumb to temptation of some sweet confection, don’t let feelings of disappointment cause you to feel guilty. Instead, take time to enjoy what you are eating. Chances are your craving of that particular treat will be diminished once you have given in, eaten it, and enjoyed it, thereby conquering the nagging feeling that you have somehow deprived yourself.

Try to eat no later than 7:00 p.m. Your body needs about 3 hours to digest the food in your stomach before you retire to bed.

For dinner, generally choose a lean protein source (grilled fish or chicken, tempeh, tofu, lentils or beans), vegetables prepared either by steaming or sautéing with very little or no oil, and a whole grain. Go low-carb in the evenings, and especially avoid refined carbohydrates.

Refined carbohydrates like sugar can interfere with your sleep. Because these foods generally induce more stress on your heart, lungs and kidneys, it’s best to avoid them in the hours before bedtime.

Some mouth-watering Dinner alternatives:

Monday: Grilled or baked halibut or other small white fish filets such as red snapper, tilapia, sea bass, or cod. Add a small sweet potato (seasoned with cinnamon) and steamed broccoli. Halibut contains high levels of tryptophan, which helps the body to relax and fall asleep.

An excellent source of high quality protein, halibut are rich in significant amounts of important nutrients including the minerals selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium; the B vitamins B12, niacin, and B6; and perhaps most important, the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids cannot be made by our body, and therefore must be obtained from foods. These fatty acids are essential to our health and provide optimum cardiovascular benefits. Red snapper, tilapia, sea bass and cod also provide these helpful nutrients.
Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, powerful antioxidants that work in the body to remove free radicals. Fiber rich, and packed with potassium, sweetened with cinnamon for a sinfully tasty delight.

Broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. Containing cancer-fighting nutrients, it has also been praised for minimizing cataracts and helping to prevent stroke.

Tuesday: Italian-style turkey meatballs (baked) on whole grain pasta (small portion) with tomato sauce. Accompanied with an Italian-style salad tossed with balsamic vinegar. Low in calories and fat, turkey meatballs are rich in protein.

Whole wheat pasta is made from wheat that has not been stripped of its nutrients. Women, who eat whole-wheat products tend to weigh less than their non whole-wheat eating friends.

Tomato sauce, made from the meat of the ruby red magical fruit the tomato, provides anti-oxidants, vitamin A, C and K. It’s chock full of nutrients and when eaten with meat or cheese it helps to digest the fat from these foods more effectively, preventing the fat deposits from settling in the arteries.

Wednesday: Minestrone soup loaded with fresh vegetables and beans. Followed with a small grilled chicken breast or baked chicken without the skin, and a slice of crusty whole grain bread.

Soup is a great choice because it fills you up without adding a tremendous amount of calories. Minestrone soup can be prepared with all sorts of vegetables and a little bit of pasta. Nice and hot, eating a non-creamed based soup promotes sleep, making it a good choice for your evening meal.

Chicken breasts are low in fat and provide a great tasting meat to eat anytime of day or night. Grill it or bake it, but discard the skin before you eat it. The slice of crusty whole wheat bread will add that fiber without weighing you down.

Thursday: Small serving (5 oz.) of London broil or filet mignon. Add a plain baked potato seasoned with salsa for a zesty treat, and steamed spinach with garlic.

Plenty of protein can be found in both of these cuts of beef. Both are reasonably low in fat and high in iron and zinc content. Filet mignon is extremely tasty and yields a more tender cut, but the London broil is less expensive and once tenderized will provide a nice steak.

Baked potatoes contain high levels of vitamin C, iron, potassium and calcium. It’s full of fiber, manganese and copper too. A natural anti-oxidant, it rivals the benefit of broccoli.

I always marveled at how fortified with strength Popeye became after opening his can of spinach. A cartoon from my childhood days, this correlation of spinach and strength was no mistake. Packing over 200 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K, important for bone development, this iron-rich vegetable will promote health and vitality. Menstruating women need extra iron, so steam a little spinach to give yourself a little “pick-me-up” when energy levels go limp.

Friday: Stir-fried shrimp or chicken or tofu with bok choy, vegetables and rice noodles. Go light on the oil, add a little soy sauce if you wish.

Shrimp is low-fat, tasty, and cooks up easy in no time at all. Combining this seafood sensation with bok choy, vegetables and rice noodles will help to fill you up and keep you satisfied.

Soy sauce is big on flavor and little on calories. However, it is high in sodium. Choose a low-sodium variety but use sparingly.

Saturday: A yummy bowl of lentil veggie soup. Followed by a whole-wheat burrito, and a side of steamed asparagus.

Not only is the lentil soup a heart healthy choice, it’s very inexpensive to make. A good source of niacin, they’re rich in iron, potassium and folate.

Asparagus is a green stalk-like vegetable that is high in vitamins A B6 and C. Providing nearly 60 percent of you recommended daily requirement of folic acid, this ancient veggie is low in calories. Cooks up quickly, so you won’t have to spend an hour cooking your dinner.

Sunday: Gazpacho soup, mixed green salad, and a small portion of couscous (preferably whole wheat) with vegetables. As a protein source, try either grilled seitan (wheat gluten), grilled tempeh (made from soy), or grilled salmon.

With Spanish origins, gazpacho soup is eaten cold, and is full of vitamins and nutrients. A very refreshing soup on a hot summer day.

Whole-wheat couscous made from semolina durum wheat flour, has a rich nutty flavor and makes a scrumptious side dish to any meal. Originating from North Africa, this tiny pearl-shaped pasta is rich in selenium, magnesium and fiber. Prepare it in five minutes for a last minute complement to a fine meal.

Seitan is often called wheat meat, provides as much protein as a sirloin steak. A satisfactory alternative to meat, without the added fat and cholesterol.

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~ Karen Ficarelli

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One Comment

  1. yummy!!!

  2. torir on 01/13/2010 at 12:12 pm

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