For some, Labor Day weekend can be like throwing dynamite onto your diet, but by getting a teeny bit creative it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone. There are many ways to avoid the temptations that Labor Day barbecues bring to the table and then result in a blowout with your back-to-work pants.
Here's how to enjoy some end of summer holiday fun with all the foods you love and without the fatty guilt that comes along with it.
BURGERS AND HOT DOGS
Ditch the bun and use large Romaine lettuce leaves as a wrap or enjoy a 100% whole-wheat bun or tortilla.
Use extra-lean ground beef for the patty, or try a Salmon, Grilled Chicken or Veggie burger.
Plan ahead and order all natural and gluten-free sausages or Bratwursts from Mulay’s.
Top the burger or brat with reduced fat mayo, spicy mustard, or hot sauce but stay away from ketchup, it’s very high is sugar.
Use hearts of palm, drained and sliced into one-inch pieces, as a substitute for potatoes. The South Beach Diet has the perfect recipe for this side dish. You can also cut up the burger or hot dog and put it in this salad to make it an entree.
Pick the fruits for your salad that are low on the Glycemic Index (sugar levels). These fruits include, but aren’t limited to, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and peaches. Steer clear of dried fruit, which is loaded with sugar.
Combine cooked whole wheat rainbow rotini pasta with chopped tomatoes, small broccoli florets, sliced olives, chopped red onions, pine nuts, low-fat feta cheese crumbles and a few tablespoons of reduced fat Italian dressing.
PIGS IN A BLANKET
Buy or make your own whole-wheat crescent rolls and fill them with reduced fat Beef Franks. Dip in spicy stone ground mustard.
The best substitute for chips are raw veggie stalks, but if you want that salty crunch, there are several just-as-good alternatives.
Baked Tostitos or Lays
Brown Rice Triscuits
Spicy Soy and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips (Trader Joes)
Reduced Fat Wheat Thins
Olive Tapenade Dip
Creamy cucumber dill dip, substituting non-fat plain greek yogurt for the sour cream
A simple mix of unsalted Peanut Butter and sugar-free jelly (exquisite atop Triscuits)
Clam dip, using reduced fat cream cheese
If you want to top off your perfect holiday afternoon with a cocktail, choose a low carb or light beer like Michelob Ultra, Guiness or Corona Light. A glass of red or white wine is also a good option.
Try and stay away from drinking too much alcohol because that is the greatest trigger for derailing on a diet.