When you’re trying to lose weight, dinner–which should be an awesome part of anyone’s day–can turn into a boring or even stressful chore. But if your goal isn’t just to shed some weight, but to actually keep it off for the long term, it’s essential that you figure out how to have enjoyable, interesting, and satiating dinners. If you try to restrict yourself to dinners that feel too much like a diet, it’ll be hard to make any sort of true commitment. Luckily, the basic rule for figure-friendly suppers is pretty simple: Choose a nutritious mix of veggie, lean protein, whole grains, and–seriously–dessert.
The Best Food for Weight Loss at Night
Volume-wise, veggies should make up the bulk of your meal. Aim for at least a cup, and try to get in at least two different colors. There are lots of different ways to make this happen–soup, stir-fry, and steamed veggies are all solid options–but your safest bet is always starting with a salad. Research has shown that eating salad before the rest of your dinner can significantly cut the amount you eat during the rest of your dinner, making it one of the best foods for weight loss at night. It’ll also give you plenty of fiber, which keeps your body satiated for a longer period of time (and, according to some studies, help you keep from gaining weight and even make losing pounds easier).
When it comes to staying satiated, lean protein is where it’s at as one of the best foods for weight loss at night. Poultry, seafood, and even the right cuts of beef and pork (look for anything with “loin” in the name) are all rich sources. Skip the fattier cuts of red meat, processed meats, and the skin of any sort of poultry, though. Studies show that the right types of protein are key for losing weight and keeping it off. Make sure to cook your meat using a method that won’t add extra fat. This means passing on the frying pan and instead grilling, poaching, or steaming. For vegetarians, tofu, tempeh, and beans are great choices.
Carbs are a part of a healthy diet, as they provide energy and keep blood-sugar stable. Just make sure you choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, and amaranth. Studies have shown that people who eat whole grains lose much more weight around their middles than those who stick to refined grains. The fiber in whole grains have a lot to do with this, as does their high magnesium content. Fiber keeps food from moving through your body too quickly so that you feel full for longer, and magnesium helps regulate fat metabolism. Just be careful to watch your portion size–stick to half a cup or so to keep yourself on track with weight loss.
Yes, dessert! Believe it or not, eating a little something sweet can actually help you keep shedding those pounds. Attempting to cut out sugary foods entirely can backfire and lead to a binge, since making something “off limits” often only serves to increase its allure. Studies have also shown that cutting yourself off from sweets leads your brain to produce corticotropin-releasing factor, which is associated with stress, fear, and anxiety… all of which lower your motivation to stay on track nutritionally and make unhealthy indulgences much more likely.
If sticking with a little bit of a sweet treat at night feels problematic, check out a weight-loss program like Noom that will provide you with support and accountability. This program is better than so many of the others because it’s scientific approach really does shift the way you think and behavior… so you’ll see long-term success!
The editors at SheFinds wrote this article in partnership with Noom.