10 Quick Ways to Make Dinner Healthier Tonight

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1.  Use broth instead of oil.  This cuts down on the amount of fat by a landslide!  Oil can also sometimes leave a rotten taste in leftovers, whereas the broth will stay fresh.  Steam, sautee or roast veggies, beef, chicken and more in broth.

2.  Switch out regular spaghetti for spaghetti squash or plain pasta for whole wheat.  You'll notice a huge difference in the calories and you'll fill up on whole grains and vitamin-rich vegetables rather than starchy white pastas.  If you can't handle whole wheat pasta, try a fiber-rich brand such as Barilla Plus or Dreamfields brand.  It tastes just like regular pasta but with wholesome nutrition you wouldn't find in the other stuff.

3.  Load up the veggies.  No matter what recipe you're following, you can always add vegetables or make a side dish.  If it makes too much, so what?  Have it for lunch the next day.

4.  Use smaller plates.  Portion control is a major issue these days, so try what I do and use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.  You'll be amazed at how little it actually takes to satisfy an appetite.  I also always make sure I have at least 1/4 less on my plate than what Ryan is getting.

5.  And with that, chew slower!  Take a sip of water in between each bite, sit down at the dinner table and have a conversation...whatever works best.  Slow chewers are known to eat fewer calories in the end because they can tell when they are full rather than the fast chewers who don't give their body enough time to figure out if their full or not!

6.  Begin the meal with a salad or broth based soup instead of cheese, crackers and wine.  Filling up on veggies first will leave zero room for the bad stuff.  Just be sure your salad isn't loaded with cheese, croutons and a fatty dressing.  I'm talking mixed greens with tomato, carrot, cucumber and whatever else you like with a 1-3 ratio of olive oil to lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  If you're looking at soups, enjoy a clear broth based soup with tons of veggies a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

7.  Flavor dishes using spices, herbs or homemade marinades instead of sodium-laden store bought ones.  There are only a few marinades and spice mixes that don't contain too much sodium, but what they all definitely have is some sort of preservative to keep them "fresh."  Instead, stock up on spices and fresh herbs, and make marinades from things you already own.

8.  Bake instead of fry.  Anything from homemade french fries to crispy chicken cutlets can be done in the oven, requiring little amount of oil so it cuts down on the fat big time.

9.  Go for a walk around the neighborhood.  This will also help to fend off unneeded calories and give you some extra exercise.  Taking even a short 20 minute walk will give you close to 2000 steps!

10.  After dinner, brush your teeth or have a strong mint.  No one wants to drink OJ in the morning right after they brush their teeth, catch my drift?  Doing this will give your body time to relax and digest instead of immediately heading to the cookie jar for five cookies.

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