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Dinner Habit Danger

After a long day, the last thing on our minds may be eating a healthy dinner. We are mentally and physically exhausted, which often leads to poor meal choices. These poor choices we make turn into nightly habits, which quickly lead to unwanted weight gain. Be aware of these unhealthy dinner habits so you can avoid the Dinner Danger Zone.

Eating Late
Studies show that people who eat after 8:00 PM have a slower metabolism, and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). Eating late can also affect your sleep, and make you less hungry for breakfast in the morning. A lack of sleep and skipping breakfast are two causes of weight gain. If you have to eat late, new studies recommended that you wait a full 12 hours before eating again to allow your body to burn the most fat. 

Mindless Eating
Many people tend to eat dinner standing up, or in front of the television. When we stand while eating, we tend to forget the calories we’ve consumed. The same goes for eating dinner while watching TV. Watching TV distracts you from what you are eating, so you tend to eat more.  Slow down and savor the dinnertime meal by sitting down at a table with limited distractions. And remember, it takes your body 20 minutes to signal your brain that you are full.

Drinking without Thinking
We tend to underestimate the amount of calories we drink during our nightly meal. With an average glass of wine or soda containing 125 calories, it can be shocking to see how many calories we consume this way. To limit caloric intake from beverages, stick to water with dinner, saving alcohol and soda for special occasions.

Portion Size
Not only do we tend to over serve ourselves, we feel the need to clean our plates. One way to avoid this is by using a smaller size plate. If you are serving yourself on a full size dinner plate, try mapping out in your mind how much each food will take up on your plate, with veggies filling at least half of it.

Food Focus
When dishes of food are displayed on the dinner table, it begs to be eaten.  To limit overeating, serve food away from the table where you will sit and eat your meal.  If you find yourself enjoying a meal at a friend’s house where food is served on the table, cover your plate with a napkin when you feel full, making your plate out of sight and out of mind.

Dining Out Dangers
Many restaurants bring you a basket of bread, or bowl of chips and salsa to begin your meal. We tend to forget the calories we’ve consumed before the actual meal is even served. To avoid this snack trap, ask the server not to bring the bread or chip basket to your table, or slow down your intake by breaking chips or bread into small pieces.

You can steer clear of the Dinner Danger Zone by taking a moment to stop and think before eating your dinnertime meal. With a couple of purposeful actions, you can break these bad dinner habits—your health and waistline will thank you!