Slimming the Sides

So far, our focus has been on the main dish, but we all know that summer picnics and barbecues are known for their side dishes too. Popular meal additions include chips, potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans and festive desserts. These can be tremendous sources of calories, fats and carbohydrates as well. For example, one half cup of traditional potato salad contains about 180 calories, 10 grams fat and 15 grams carbohydrate!

Slim down your side dishes by using low-fat mayonnaise or plain, non-fat yogurt in place of regular mayo. Omit the yolks in side dishes that contain eggs and use vinaigrette versus mayonnaise in coleslaw.

Serve veggies that you (and your guests) can fill up on! One cup of raw vegetables contains only 25 calories, 5 grams carbohydrate and is loaded with filling fiber. Eat your vegetables first and you won’t be as tempted to overindulge in higher calorie sides. If you’re not so keen on veggie trays or green salad, try marinating veggies in low-fat vinaigrette dressing or vingar–mushrooms, cucumber, onions and green beans all taste great marinated.

There are so many vegetables to choose from to enhance your menu!

Since you’ve already got the grill going, why not toss some vegetables on there too? Zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus and corn on the cob are excellent grillers (and you might be able to pull them straight out of your garden!). Brush vegetables with a small amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic before grilling to enhance their flavor.

For some healthy side dish recipes, check out our Recipe Exchange! Three-bean Salad, Summer Spinach Salad, Strawberry-Rhubarb Everything and Cantaloupe and Yogurt Ice Pops are the perfect healthy summer party sides!

How do you slim down your side dishes? Do you have any side dish “makeovers” to share? If so, please post them on our Recipe Exchange by typing them in the comment section.

For more ideas on keeping your cookout healthy, take a look at last year’s Summer Picnic Series.

Inspired by Summer Grilling by Lea Ann Holzmeister, RD, LD published in the May/June 2012 Issue of Diabetes Self-Management.

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