At the end of a long day of work, the last thing many of us want to do is get into the kitchen and prepare something healthy and time-consuming. Why else do you think late-night takeout is such a popular thing? Or, you might find yourself snacking on unhealthy food or overeating something you know you shouldn’t. The good news is that it’s a lot easier to have a healthy dinner than you might think! Here are some tips that will help you make that dinner as healthy as possible every night of the week:
For Home Cooks
If you’re the sort of person who likes to cook but can’t summon up the energy to spend an hour preparing a dinner, why not do some meal prep and have the ingredients ready ahead of time? Spend an hour or two every weekend chopping veggies, cooking up a few proteins, and having a batch of rice, potatoes, and noodles ready. That way, during the week, all you have to do is go to your fridge and pull out something already cooked that can be re-heated and mixed easily with minimal effort.
For the Supremely Busy
If you don’t have any time to cook at night, make life easier by preparing your meals ahead of time. Cook eight to ten meals on the weekend, and store them in containers in the fridge and freezer. That way, all you have to do is pop open the fridge, pull out whatever you want to eat, and put it in the microwave for a few minutes. It’s as low-maintenance as possible while still being as healthy as you can make it!
For Takeout Lovers
If you’re the sort of person who loves a good takeout order, it’s always going to be a challenge to eat something healthy. Oddly enough, the healthiest options aren’t the ones you’d expect! Most takeout salads are loaded with dressings and added calories in the form of croutons, cheese, and bacon. The best option for healthy takeout is usually Chinese, where you can order steamed veggies and shrimp, or any number of low-sugar, low-calorie meat-and-veggie dishes. Make sure to order it with a side of brown rice—no white rice, and definitely no noodles!—and you’ll have yourself a healthy, balanced, and fairly low-calorie dinner. Just make sure to steer clear of the high-sugar, high-sodium sauces used to flavor the meals.
If you can’t bring yourself to cook and eat a full meal at night but you still need a little something to keep you from being hungry, a healthy snack is definitely a good option. Try peanut butter and carrots, or a handful of almonds. Herbal tea can help to shut down your appetite and soothe your nerves after a day of stress and work. If you need something a bit heavier, try a meal of veggies with lean protein, avoiding carbs as much as possible late in the evening.
For the Very Hungry
If you need dinner NOW because it’s been far too long since your last meal, you’ve still got options for instant meals that require little to no prep work! For example, pop open a can of tuna, dice up some tomatoes and onions, and stir in some mustard with a bit of lemon juice (no mayo!). Or, mix up a hearty salad with your favorite oil-based vinaigrette, a bit of cheese, and some lean protein. You’ll find it’s easy to get a complete meal without touching those undesirable carbs!