Holiday weekends tend to signify permission to indulge ourselves in all of the tasty goodies that abound around every corner. That little voice in our heads entices us with sweet talk, encouraging us to try even the most ordinary treat, as if it were some decedent, extraordinary indulgence. The truth is, just because a rice crispy treat is red, white, and blue, or has sprinkles, does not mean make it is a delicacy, it is still the same rice crispy treat you have eaten numerous times. This weekend make a resolution to try something different, focus on spending quality time with others and follow some of these tricks for healthier eating.
If camping or barbequing is your activity of choice this weekend make sure that you shop beforehand instead of scrambling at the last minute for groceries in places that have a limited selection. Snacks are a must have on any camping trip or at any bbq; veggies and dip, homemade trail mix, and reduced fat exotic potato chips are great alternatives to their higher fat, overly processed counter parts. Homemade salsa or Pico de Gallo are great dipping choices that are low in fat and high in nutrients and flavor; head to the Columbia Farmers Market on Saturday for the freshest ingredients and make your own fresh dips and sides. Opt for sirloin steaks marinated in vinegar, small amounts of olive oil, and lots of herbs and spices or 93% to 97% lean ground beef or turkey mixed with Braggs, herbs, and spices for the tastiest and healthiest steaks and burgers. Be sure to skip the mayo and choose sides that are not only lighter but also withstand the heat such as pasta salad with vinaigrette or baked beans made with stevia and vegetable glycerin instead of brown sugar.
Attending someone else’s bbq or party? Be sure to bring a dish that is healthy so there is at least one guiltless item there. Try the layered salad recipe featured below, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser and tastes so good no one will notice how healthy it is. Then scope out all of the options, categorize them into must haves, most healthy, and can pass. Fill your plate at least half way with the most healthy options and the rest with small portions of the must haves. Just as the name implies, walk on by items in the can pass category, if it’s not to die for its not worth splurging on. Be sure to drink plenty of water and as with any food gathering, have a snack before you go.
The most important thing to remember is that get-togethers are for exactly that, getting together and fellowshipping with others. Take it from someone who knows from experience, it is easy to focus on food but that only leads to trouble, regret, and tight pants. Make fun with your friends your primary goal and you will not be disappointed. HAPPY LABOR DAY!
1 bunch leafy green lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery finely chopped
2 stalks green onions, chopped, optional
1/2 head (about 1 1/2 cups) cauliflower, finely chopped
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 cup low fat sour cream
1 tsp garlic powder
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Stevia or sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
4 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
In a large clear bowl or Trifle, layer the first seven ingredients in order. In separate bowl, mix the yogurt, sour cream, garlic powder, vinegar, stevia/sugar, salt and pepper. Blend well and smooth on top of salad. Then top with cheese, bacon, and basil. Chill until ready to serve, can be made a day ahead.