I’ve lost 100 pounds. With summer picnic season here, I’m looking to maintain the diet fast track, while still enjoying cookouts. Think you can’t have 2-die-4 and to-diet-for in the same dish? Think again. These picnic salads and side dishes are low calorie and high delish! Just in time for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, graduation open houses and summer BBQs.
* Use light margarine and mayonnaise. Switch to Brummel and Brown yogurt margarine and light canola mayo and cut calories 60 percent. Use in cole slaw, pasta and potato salads.
* Cut starch, up vegetables. You can still enjoy pasta and potato salads. Just swap regular for whole grain or vegetable pasta. Look for lowfat varieties. Leave skins on potatoes (more vitamins). Load up on chopped veggies–shredded carrots, radishes and cabbage. Throw in chopped onions, spinach, celery, colored peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, leeks, scallions and summer squash. Add grape tomatoes, mushrooms. Skip eggs, ham, turkey and cheese.
* Use nuts and seeds in salads. Skip eggs, ham, turkey or cheese. Try this recipe. Chop kale leaves, broccoli, green and red peppers, celery, carrots, onions, purple cabbage. Add dried cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Dress with rice vinegar, apple juice and sunflower oil. Season with sea salt and celery seed.
* Enjoy olives. Dr. Oz has given olives his stamp of approval as fat burners. Swap non-fat feta cheese for full fat. Blend with black and Spanish olives, chopped green peppers and cucumbers, light olive oil and whole grain pasta for a yummy Greek salad.
* Try vegetable chips. Look for packaged veggie chips with transfats or saturated fats. Or make your own kale chips virtually fat free. Preheat oven to 350. Remove kale stems. Rinse leaves, pat dry, arrange in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly spritz with zero-calorie cooking spray. Season with garlic, cracked pepper and sea salt. Bake 15 minutes till crispy.
* Make yogurt based salad dressings. Here’s a light healthy dressing that’s actually good for you. Seed and mash one avocado. Blend with one cup Greek yogurt and 2T Parmesan cheese. Add lemon juice and almond milk to thin. Season with cracked pepper, celery seed, Bragg’s Liquid Amino, garlic, dill weed.
* Switch mayo-based salads for Polish pickled salad or sauerkraut. I buy jarred Polan Polish vegetable slaw from Polish Market in Hamtramck, Michigan and Big Lots. For homemade, shred cucumbers, celery, onions, green and red bell peppers, carrots. Dress with apple cider vinegar, apple juice, a little olive oil. Add Ideal zero calorie sweetener to taste. Season with celery seed and sea salt. For Polish sauerkraut, blend veggie salad with kraut. Add caraway seeds.
* Munch on Mexican elotes. Eat corn on the cob plain or as elotes. Mix lime juice and light mayo. Spread on corn. Blend reduced fat Parmesan, light ricotta or crumbled fat-free feta cheese with homemade chili powder–ground chili pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic, onion and oregano. Roll corn in cheese mixture.
My non-dieting family prefers their summer picnic salads make this way as opposed the high fat varieties.