This article was written by Jenny Sugar and repurposed with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.
Want to know how the last meal of the day can help you drop pounds? We've enlisted the expertise of two nutritionists, Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., of C&J Nutrition, to share the perfect equation for a weight-loss boosting supper. Follow their advice below to start seeing results.
Aim for a range between 450 and 550 calories. If you're trying to lose weight, stay closer to 450, and if you're trying to maintain weight, especially if you're working out, shoot closer to 550 calories.
About 45 to 55 percent of your dinner calories should be devoted to carbohydrates, which is roughly 50 to 75 grams' worth. Don't be afraid to eat carbs at night because you're worried you won't have time to burn them off. As long as you're sticking to your total calorie allotment for the day, eating carbs at this meal isn't more likely to cause weight gain than any other. Actually, eating enough carbs at dinner can dissolve those post-dinner cravings for sweets and chips.
Try to eat 20 to 25 percent of your dinner calories from protein sources, which comes out to 25 to 35 grams. Protein is vital for rebuilding and maintaining muscle, and since your body does a lot of this at night, protein is extra-important at the end of the day. This nutrient also makes you feel satisfied and prevents post-dinner noshing sessions.
Aim to eat about 15 to 25 grams, or roughly 30 to 35 percent of your total supper calories from fat. Go for monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), like olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, avocado, olives, nuts, and seeds, instead of saturated fats, like beef and cheese.
To help you reach the recommended daily total of 25 grams per day, eat at least eight grams of this filling nutrient at dinnertime. You can reach your fiber quota with carbohydrates, like whole grains, starchy veggies, beans, fruit, and fats, such as avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Stick to seven grams or fewer of sugar at dinner. And when it comes to added sugar, try not to exceed four grams.
Ideally, you should eat dinner two to three hours after your afternoon snack. If you plan to exercise after work, fuel up with a late-afternoon snack around 4:30 p.m. Then you can exercise for an hour at 5:30 p.m. and eat dinner by 7 or 7:30 p.m. As we mentioned earlier, don't worry about eating dinner too late. As long as you don't exceed your daily calories, what time you eat won't impact your weight.
See four perfect dinners for weight loss from POPSUGAR Fitness.