What is Julie Eating for Dinner?

February 2015, Xtend-Life Expert

Summary

While breakfast and lunch are often consumed alone or on the go, dinner is the most likely meal of the day to be a group activity, with more social conventions, family patterns, end-of-day exhaustion and other distractions. This also makes it a really important meal to get right. Before I share a few dinner recipes that Julie will be following this week, I thought I would cover a couple do’s and don’ts of dinner – just to get primed and ready for the good stuff!

While breakfast and lunch are often consumed alone or on the go, dinner is the most likely meal of the day to be a group activity, with more social conventions, family patterns, end-of-day exhaustion and other distractions. This also makes it a really important meal to get right.

Before I share a few dinner recipes that Julie will be following this week, I thought I would cover a couple do’s and don’ts of dinner – just to get primed and ready for the good stuff!

DO sit at the table

Sitting at a table away from the television helps us to really focus on the amount of food we are eating. As we become more aware of this, we also become aware of when we start feeling full. Use this time to have a chat with the family and catch up on their day.

On a side note, this also breaks the association of television and food; meaning that next time you are watching a movie, you might be a bit less likely to feel 'peckish'.

DON’T make it your biggest meal

If you stop and think about it, energy is actually most needed during the day when we are the most active. Yet why is it that dinner has become the biggest meal of the day? The USDA counsels that dinner should add up to about 450 and 625 calories; while others say that it should be as little as 20 to 25 percent of your daily calorie intake. This means that dinner should be a light well-portioned meal instead of your main food source – think of it as the cherry on top of a hopefully great day.

DON’T over-season

While a pinch of salt does bring out the natural flavours of food, over seasoning can lead to excess sodium consumption, which in turn leads to a whole host of health concerns. It can also lead to over-eating. Ever notice how we go for seconds and thirds when something tastes superbly yummy, even though we feel absolutely stuffed full of food already? Leave your salt shaker off the table and opt instead for fresh black pepper or dried herbs. You could also try adding some kick to your food with cayenne pepper and chilli powder. Both have been shown in studies to help boost your metabolism!

DO home cook

While it is nice to go out every so often to celebrate a special event or take a break at the end of a busy week, restaurant meals tend to be much higher in calories, with hidden salts, fats and sugar. Try to home cook as often as you can. Yes, it can be laborious at times, but this labour of love is definitely worthwhile!

Here are the recipes for my salmon and avocado dinner that you may like to try out at home. This meal is packed with healthy fats, protein and fiber, and is full of delicious natural flavour - my favourite kind of dinner!

Baked Salmon with Avocado Yoghurt

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 medium avocado, diced (skin and pit removed)
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-3 tablespoons water
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 x 6-oz salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While the oven heats up, prepare the yoghurt sauce. Blend together the avocado, yoghurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth and creamy and add extra water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Set aside.
  3. Place fish, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil.
  4. Bake fish, without flipping, until just cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes depending on thickness).
  5. Once cooked, remove from the oven and place each fillet on a plate. Top with 1-2 teaspoons of avocado yoghurt and pair with my salad below!

Madelynn’s Salad - mix together and serve!

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 lightly packed cups of mesclun greens
1 cup of corn
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup raw cashews (any other nut would be delicious too)
1/4 cup cheese, thinly sliced (I use camembert or cheddar depending on what is in the fridge!)
Fresh ground pepper
4 x 6-oz salmon fillets
A few pieces of smoked salmon (as garnish)

I make my own salad dressing with the following recipe -

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 small squirt of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon onion diced very finely
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp each of thyme, basil, oregano
salt and pepper to taste

YUM! I always feel great after eating this and I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Please feel free to share your recipe ideas in the comments section below. We love hearing from you – even if you just want to say hello!

And just before you think this is the end of 'What is Julie Eating...' there is still one more 'meal' I would like to cover - and that is dessert! Sure it is not a meal as such, but I have some great ideas to help us stay sugar-safe if you do end up indulging a little. Stay tuned!

In good health.

​References:

  1. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/63.long
  2. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/26/1_MeetingAbstracts/lb419
  3. http://www.uamshealth.com/?id=10937&sid=1
  4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/325270-how-many-calories-should-be-consumed-at-dinner/
  5. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines

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