Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Anybody ready the long holiday weekend? While I'm normally hitting the road right about now for a mini-vacation, I'll be spending the next couple days moving into a new place. Yes, I'm one lucky lady, ey? Still, I plan to have a little fun in honor of our nation's independence.

I'm also planning out my menu for the weekend. As many of you know, the Fourth of July is often a high-calorie extravaganza thanks to all those cook-outs and parties. Fortunately, there are ways to get through the holiday without major weight gain.

* If you're heading to a BBQ at a friend or relative's house, bring some low-calorie snack options such as a fruit salad or raw veggies and hummus.
* Don't show up hungry. Take time to eat a light, healthy snack before chowing down.
* Use a smaller plate. And when fixing it, make sure the bulk of the meal is fruits and veggies, such as salad, baked beans, corn, watermelon and grapes. That way you can fill up your belly faster with healthier items.
* Eating smaller portions is key. Yes, you can indulge in some potato salad and that scrumptious looking slice of cake. But don't pile a mountain of it on your plate or eat half a pie in one sitting.
* Avoid adding lots of butter, salt and fatty dressings. And skip the chips, crackers, breads and other high-calorie items.
* Try not to get seconds until a few hours after you've eaten the first plate.
* Always eat dessert last.
* It's all about water. Drink lots of it to help fill you up.
* Think before you drink. The rule of thumb is, the higher the proof, the higher the calories, and the creamier the cocktail, the more fattening it is. Some cocktails - take a Long Island Iced Tea, White Russian or Mai Tai - can pack 400 to 800 calories in a standard 12-ounce glass. In addition, juices, full-calorie sodas and tonic water add more calories to any drink. The best plan is to stick with wine, light beer or cocktails containing sugar-free mixers. And remember to always pace yourself.

These types of tricks can save you hundreds of wasted calories without sacrificing the good times. And if you plan to serve as a chef this weekend, here are a few low-cal recipes ideal for the hungry masses:

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Sweet Sesame Chicken

Fresh Strawberry Pie

For more options, check out these tasty food and cocktail recipes courtesy of Hungry Girl.

Either way, have a happy and healthy holiday. And to really get you into the spirit of things, here is the festive Fourth-related finale from The Music Man. Enjoy!

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