Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Low carbing on Memorial Day!!

Low carbing on Memorial Day!!

Memorial Day weekend is usually considered the first summer weekend of the year. Many people party and cook out. Perfect for those of us following a low carb lifestyle!

If you are hosting or attending a Memorial Day cookout, here are some things to consider:

Tossed salad, garden salad, Caesar salad, spinach salad! Lots and lots of salads. Some have mixed greens, others are all one type. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onion and so much more! Hopefully assorted dressings, but if you're visiting someone, best to bring your own, just in case. We all know vegetables are encouraged on low carb, they are mandatory! Most salads contain the very types of vegetables we should be eating! Low sugar/starch vegetables are the ones we want....and usually the ones found in salads!

Potato salad, pasta salad....these are the ones you want to avoid. If you find that these are things you have to have, at least make and bring your own. Virtually all commercial brands contain added sugars. At least if you make your own, you can control the amount of added sugars....and if you can tolerate low carb pasta, you can cut more there! Some of us can tolerate higher levels of carbohydrate....and some of us can control ourselves to eat "just a taste". If you can tolerate them here are a couple of really easy recipes.

Potato salad:
For each pound of potatoes, any kind except Idaho, mix together 1 fl ounce Vinegar, 2 fl ounce oil, 2T mayonnaise. Cut (and if you want, peel) the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Boil in salted water until cooked. You want them done, but not overdone, so watch them. (overdone and the salad will have a more creamy consistency with smaller pieces of potato) When potatoes are cooked, drain well and add to a large bowl. (Rinse them if you want, but use HOT water!) With the potatoes still hot, pour in mayo mixture and stir well. Add a little salt and pepper, and some cut up onions to taste. Let sit in refrigerator until thoroughly cooled. Stir every couple of hours if you want. Stir well before serving.

Easy pasta salad:
Boil 1 pound elbow macaroni. When tender drain and rinse well with cold water. Let cool. When cool, add 1 can chunk light tuna and mayonnaise. Stir well and chill. You can add just about any vegetable you want to make it pretty and spice it up.

Main course:
Hamburgers and hot dogs. Although hot dogs are a highly processed food, they are usually fairly high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrate. Calories for Oscar Meyer beef are about 14% protein, 83% fat and only 3% carbohydrate. Hamburgers, we all know, are a very acceptable low carb food!

Steak and chicken. Again....very low carb friendly!! Do avoid added sauces though, most are loaded with sugars!

Stuffed hamburgers:
For each person, use enough ground beef to make 2 good size but thin patties. In the center of one patty put chopped vegetables, cheese, bacon, or whatever you can think of. Keep filling in the center but well spread out. Put second patty on top and "seal" the edges. Thoroughly cook burgers on grill. These can be fragile, so take care when turning them! Top with a couple slices of tomato....or add more cheese and bacon!

Alcoholic drinks are highly individual. Do remember that many low carbers report having less tolerance for alcohol! Most agree that a drink or two of alcohol is fine on occasion. Some even promote daily intake. Beer, even low carb beer, is probably not something you should be having....and mixed drinks can be loaded with sugar. But you can enjoy some wine....or bring your own sugar free mixers!

Non-alcoholic drinks are most likely going to be high sugar drinks, whether it's "natural" or "added" fruit drinks contain sugars. Soft drinks, diet ones, aren't going to add to your glucose intake, but excessive intakes of any soda is not healthy. Water is perfect! Lots of ice....with a sprig of mint, or a slice of lemon or lime....fantastic!

Well this is one area that most of us will agree is a mine-field unless we plan ahead and bring something "acceptable" for ourselves. If you tolerate fruits, you can usually find a bowl of fruit salad or chunks of various fruits. Dips are often nearby, but do be careful....again most people are going to make (or buy) the ones that are low fat and high carb. Bringing a dip that is low carb friendly is a good idea....and probably will be raved about. Just about any dip recipe can be adapted....use full fat milk, yogurt, etc and leave out the added sugars.

light and airy coffee cake, a beautiful low carb cheesecake, maybe even some ice cream are all possibilities when thinking of desserts to bring.

Most important, have fun! Enjoy your friends and family! Play with the kids! A little planning makes it all easier. I've never met a host that didn't appreciate someone bringing something extra or different. Talking to the host ahead of time is always a good idea. Find out what's going to be served and figure out what you want to eat. If you like something high carb and don't want to miss out on it, see if you can figure out a way to make is healthier!

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