The Lazy Girl’s Guide to a Low-Cal Dinner

Rumor has it that it takes a lot of extra work to cook up a healthy meal ¡ª not true! Without dieting or sacrificing taste| we have simple tips| tricks| and swaps that will easily lighten up your dinner without much effort. It’s as simple as downsizing plates and choosing wine over a cocktail. The best part? Before you think this all sounds too good to be true| read our lazy girl’s guide to find out how easy and tasty it truly is.

    Pack up the leftovers: Going back for seconds and sometimes even thirds can easily make a good meal go bad. If you’re guilty of eating more than your fair share| pack up the extras before you sit down for your first serving. Not only will you have your next day’s lunch ready to go| you’ll be less likely to overeat. Trade in white rice for brown: While white rice may be a guilty pleasure| try your best to choose brown. Brown rice is significantly higher in nutritional value and can even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.Break up with butter and bread: Break the habit of having bread and butter before dinner. If you must have something before dinner| opt for a fiber-filled option like veggies with dip or even rice crackers to significantly cut calories. Rethink your pasta: A simple way to save about 130 calories is to switch whole-wheat spaghetti for squash. It’s not hard to make and can lend itself to a variety of pasta dishes| including one with roasted shrimp. Become a wino| not a mixologist: Although fruity cocktails are great| they can often add up to around 400 calories! If you’re looking to wind down at dinner| stick with wine. It’s rich in antioxidants and around 100 calories per glass. Ditch the dried fruit: Rather than opting for dried fruit in your salad (around 130 calories per a quarter cup)| save yourself by sticking with the fresh stuff.Bake| steam| but never fry: Fried foods are a diet buster. If you’re still craving that crispy| crunchy texture| turn on the oven. These fried alternatives will leave you satisfied| minus the extra fat and calories. Plus| the cleanup will be easier too!Size down: To avoid eating more calories than you intend| serve up dinner on salad plates instead of your larger| entr¨¦e-size ones. Because we take visual cues when it comes to eating| this will help with portion control and save you calories. Trade in chips for veggies: If you’re enjoying an appetizer before dinner| stay clear of the chips and dip. Instead| replace the chips with veggies and whip up one of these healthy dips.You’ll get more from vinegar than cream: No need to go dressing-free| just switch out your creamy favorite for a simple balsamic vinegar dressing or one of these salad dressings under 50 calories.Spice it| don’t sauce it: Rather than slathering your protein in a heavy BBQ or butter sauce| add flavor through spice. Not only are spices calorie-free| they’re loaded with flavor| too.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Emily Bibb