Food is food and meals are simply a collection of food(s). There’s no need to assign greater importance to dinner than other meals and there’s certainly no need to add stress to your life just to fit your meals into some idealistic concept.
Dinner doesn’t have to be perfect. Neither does breakfast or lunch. Make it good if it fits in your life that day but if not, it’s ok to just eat anything you have. This isn’t an excuse to eat junk or fast food all the time, it’s a call for people to stop putting so much pressure on themselves to make a “nutritious, delicious and well balanced meal” all the time. It’s great when you do but the fear of not having a perfect dinner cripples people more often then it inspires them to create great meals.
How many times do you end up going out to eat simply because you don’t have anything “good” for dinner? If you have any food in the house then you can make dinner at home. The important part of dinner is the family component, not what you eat. How many times does someone end up spending time and energy away from the rest of the family to create a fancy dinner just to have it end up so-so or underwhelming? Wouldn’t the time have been better spent as a family, under less stress and pressure?
Make dinner an event once or twice a week. Make breakfast an event once or twice a week. Make lunch an event once or twice a week. Make dessert an event once or twice a week. The rest of the time, don’t worry about it and just eat food.
If a meal is not “balanced” that’s ok. Not every meal needs to be balanced. Don’t worry if you don’t have a vegetable for dinner. Or enough protein. Or a starch. Or too much fruit. Or too much fat. Or if you only eat one food. Make up for it some other time. What matters is what you eat over the course of a day or two, the week and month.
Things also don’t have to be fancy or well thought out. Some of the most enjoyable dinners I have with my family are the ones when we just throw things out of the fridge or cupboard and eat them. No recipes or planning needed. Just eating food. Taking the pressure off performing a great dinner goes a long way in our family.
Eat breakfast foods for lunch or dinner. Eat sandwiches or salads for breakfast. Make a meal out of random snacks and/or leftovers. Try to have decent food in your house and then just eat whatever you have or sounds good.
The point: don’t stress about food. As long as you’re covering your bases over the course of the weeks and months, each day and each individual meal really doesn’t mean anything. Do the best you can with what you got. On the days you can rock great meals: go for it. On the days you can’t: remember it’s a long race and the important thing is to average out over the long haul.
**Tip: Have ice cream or frozen yogurt for lunch or dinner some day. It will be a fun change of pace and probably be a really enjoyable meal.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. This tip was inspired by my dinner of canned tuna, Greek yogurt and berries. Not fancy but got the job done.