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Summer Health: Dinner Template


I used to be a moderator on a nutrition-based Facebook group, and one of the most common questions was "how can I adopt an ### type of lifestyle when my partner and family don't eat the same way as I do?" 

And I get it.  It can be difficult to establish a new way of eating even if you don't have other people to feed but if you do, the challenges increase.  It takes time to make a meal plan, shop for groceries, and prepare food.  

I feel fortunate that through a lifetime of trying many different nutritional approaches, the people in my life have always been supportive, and I've learned a few tips for how to peacefully co-exist when others want to enjoy their own lifestyles. 

I'll share a few of those tips in this blog post.  

Low Carb & High Carb 

This summer, William and I are eating in ways that seem completely different but they are actually similar. 

  • We are both eating whole foods most of the time. 
  • Neither of us are interested in having junk food in the house
  • We both have room in our nutrition for foods such as lean proteins, cooked vegetables and starches and fruit. 
  • It's easy for us to both take care of our own breakfasts, lunches and snacks.  
  • William is aiming for less than 20% of his food from carbohydrates.  This is technically a low-carb diet by definition; he's probably under 120g of carbs per day.  
  • I am working with a nutritionist to heal my metabolism; some would call this a pro-metabolic approach. I am currently at 240g of carbs per day from milk, orange juice, honey, fruit, white rice, and potatoes.  
The Dinner Template 

Since we share dinner, we developed the dinner template.  It's an easy way to make sure that we both meet our nutrition needs while only cooking one meal.  We just divide the food up differently.   I know it might seem like a pain to weigh out food on a scale like this, but it actually only takes a couple of minutes and it's much faster than making separate meals! 

William's Plate 
  • 6-8 ounces of lean protein 
  • 75 grams of white rice or potato
  • 200 grams of cooked non-starchy vegetables 
  • 1-2 TBSP fat (like butter or sour cream)
Rachel's Plate 
  • 3-4 ounces of lean protein 
  • 125 grams of white rice or potato 
  • 100 grams of cooked non-starchy vegetables 
  • .5-1 TBSP fat (like butter or sour cream) 
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce 

The Tips 
  • Have a meeting to discuss your goals.  Why are you choosing to eat one way or another? How can you agree to support each other? 
  • Choose 2-3 shared goals for your health, for example, walking after dinner, no snacking after a certain time, no junk food in the house, drinking water instead of soft drinks.  
  • Be responsible for your own breakfast, lunch and snacks and just keep dinner in common. 
  • Make a list of everything your "diets" have in common versus everything that's different.  
  • Create a dinner template like I shared above and adjust the quantities as needed.  In the example above, if William was doing strict keto, the starch could be dropped to zero easily.  
  • Make a list of any "triggering" foods that may be allowed for one person but not another.  Can you eliminate those foods from your shared meals?  From your kitchen?  Can the "owner" of those foods agree to buy them in prepackaged amounts or only eat them at work or only order them at a restaurant? 
  • Spend a few minutes every week making a grocery list so it's easy to have good food on hand, and bonus: select a handful of easy "go-to" recipes for the times you don't feel like cooking.  Decide how many times a week you will order in or eat out and use those times to take a break from cooking and increase variety beyond your common denominator foods.  


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