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Memorial Day Picnic Foods, Holiday BBQ, Grill Recipes for Dieters
I've been dieting since last fall. It was easier in winter. But summer is my nemesis. 4th of July BBQs, beach picnics, holiday grilling, Memorial Day parties spell diet disaster. Here are diet grill recipes, low calorie picnic foods and summer party tips
* Eat a snack beforehand. If you're hosting a party or going to one, eat a light, filling snack: turkey or tuna sandwich (two slices light bread, 70 calories, 2 ounces of meat, 50 calories, lots of fresh vegetables, 20 calories light cream cheese). Or have make a peanut butter sandwich. Save enough calories so you can enjoy some of the foods, but don't arrive starved. Take two green tea, African mango, acai tablets to curb hunger pangs.
* Drink for diet. Sip a detox drink: water with lemon or apple cider vinegar. Or make diet Arnold Palmers with black tea and low-calorie raspberry lemonade. Avoid soda, punch and alcoholic beverages. Or choose red wine over cocktails or beer. Or make homemade sangria spritzer with dry red wine, diet grapefruit soda and low-calorie raspberry lemonade. Add fresh strawberries, lemons, limes and oranges,
* Fill up on vegetables. Before you go for the entree, make a heaping salad.
* Low calorie cole slaw. Make light cole slaw using sunflower oil and pomegranate vinegar instead of mayo. Mix green and purple cabbage, carrots, colored peppers and onions. Season with celery seed, pepper and a little Splenda.
* Diet potato salad. Cut calories using fewer potatoes, no eggs and lots of vegetables (celery, cucumbers, scallions, green peppers, carrots). Or skip white potatoes and use sweet potatoes, rutabaga, zucchini or summer squash. Dress lightly with safflower oil, olive oil or cooking spray and rice vinegar. Season with fresh chopped dill, mustard, paprika, cilantro, lemon balm and basil.
* Tabbouleh. Skip pasta salad and make tabbouleh. Mix couscous with cucumbers, sweet onions and tomatoes. Season with mint, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, sumac. Blend fat free yogurt and cucumbers for topping. Dr. Oz's diet plans frequently call for couscous as a diet-friendly grain.
* Cheese (yes cheese!): Old diet wive's tales used to shun cheese. But Dr. Oz says dairy is a good fat-burner. He recommends Laughing Cow light wedges and Babybel light rounds. I eat 50-calorie mozzarella cheese sticks. These are all portable party and picnic snacks.
* Grill meats: Bring your own and ask the host to grill it. Avoid red meat. Stick to chicken breast, salmon, trout and tuna. When sausage or hot dogs are served, bring 70-calorie turkey dogs or 100-140 Al Fresco calorie chicken sausage links. If its burgers, bring homemade veggie burgers (here are my recipes) or large portobello mushrooms (skip the bun). A serving of lean pork loin has only 140 calories. Marinate fresh pork or chicken with a little olive oil, lemon juice, basil, rosemary, sage, fresh garlic for to-die-for low-cal souvlaki. Spray fish with cooking spray and lime juice. Season with curry powder, wasabi, cumin and ginger.
* Baked chips: I don't crave sweets as much as I do salty snacks. Pack a serving size of baked corn or potato chips for munching.
* Desserts: Bring Weight Watchers or Skinny Cow ice cream treats. Opt for fruit. Have a small sundae with a half-cup of vanilla ice cream and berries (about 200 calories). Nibble on dark chocolate (another Dr. Oz suggestion).
* Keep moving. I like hosting the picnics. It keeps me busy and my mind off from food.