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Your Dinner Made Healthy in 5 Easy Steps (plus a great recipe!)

Photo via Wonderlane on Flickr.

This is a guest post by Lori Kennedy of WOW! Weight Loss, the nutrition program available at all WFCC clubs. Find out more at their website, or follow them on Twitter @woww8loss! If you’re interested in getting into a healthy eating groove, you can email Lori directly, too.

Do think you’re eating healthy meals, but aren’t sure?

If your weight loss has slowed, or even stopped, then there’s a good chance that you haven’t been eating as healthy as you should be.

I’m going to end the guesswork for you, once and for all, with my 5 steps to a healthy meal.

By following these 5 guidelines you’ll know that your meals are healthy and weight loss friendly. And as a result you’ll experience healthy weight loss.

Below, we provide our 5 steps to healthy eating. Follow these steps for effective weight loss and a healthy lifestyle!

Step #1: Quality Ingredients
These are the building blocks to a healthy meal. While you certainly don’t need to dine in gourmet restaurants in order to ensure quality ingredients, you should pay attention to the quality of the foods you eat.

Choose foods that are:

  • Fresh and organic
  • Made with pronounceable ingredients
  • Whole foods

Step #2: Cooking Method
The way a meal is cooked determines how many calories, how much added fat, and the number of nutrients that survive. This simple factor will make or break your weight loss goal.

Avoid foods prepared like this:

  • Fried and battered
  • Processed and packaged
  • Doused with cream sauce
  • Sautéed in oil

Choose foods that are prepared like this:

  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Steamed

Step #3: Mostly Protein
The majority of your calories should be coming from a quality source of protein. With the first 2 guidelines in mind, these will be high quality and healthfully prepared.

Good choices of protein include:

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Egg
  • Lean red meat
  • Beans
  • Tofu and soy protein

Step #4: Lots of Fiber
Fiber is a huge part of eating healthy and being lean. Fibrous foods will fill you up while delivering vitamins and nutrient in low-calorie packages. Fill at least two thirds of your plate with fibrous vegetables.

Try these forms of fiber:

  • Salad
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Fruit (whole fruit, not juices)
  • Legumes

Step #5: Lay Off the High-Sugar Starches
Here’s where many well-meaning dieters lose it. In order to maintain healthy weight loss, there is no room for processed high-sugar starchy foods.

Starches to Avoid:

  • White Pasta
  • White Rice and sugary cereal
  • White Bread and fried crackers

Eating Out Right

Temptations abound when you eat out. There are bread baskets, and chip baskets, and appetizers, and desserts. In order to maintain your healthy diet you’ll have to have a plan in place before arriving at the restaurant.

Here’s how you stay on track while eating out:

  • Don’t eat extras: Ask for the bread basket or chip basket to be removed from your table and stick to eating only what you ordered.
  • Don’t drink calories: Stick with water or unsweetened ice tea in order to avoid a few hundred extra calories.
  • Get it plain: Ask for sauces and dressings on the side to cut down calories.
  • Get healthier sides: Just because the grilled fish comes with a side of potatoes doesn’t mean you have to get it that way. Ask for a side of steamed veggies instead.

Recipe: “Fried” Chicken Done Right (makes 6 servings)

This recipe meets all 5 of the steps to a healthy dinner. By baking the chicken and using low-carb flours, this recipe has half of the calories and 80% less fat than traditional fried chicken. Serve with a side of vegetables and a salad.

Here’s what you need…

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons fruit-only apricot preserves
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless organic chicken tenders
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13″x9″ baking pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, apricot preserves, mustard, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
  3. In another medium bowl combine the almond flour, almond meal, coconut flour, pepper, thyme, paprika and salt.
  4. Dip each chicken tender in the egg mixture, then dredge through the flour mixture. Place in the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes. Change oven to high broil for 2 minutes, flip each chicken tender and broil the other side for 2 minutes.
  6. Serve with a side of sugar-free BBQ sauce or organic honey mustard.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 256 calories, 6g fat, 376mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 39g protein.