Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Who else is thrown off by this weird holiday in the middle of a work week deal? Do not like. However, I never turn down a good party, so I will be celebrating America's independence today along with dozens of my closest friends today. We'll be tubing down the river for a few hours this afternoon - need to find something to do to stay cool on this steamy day! - and then hitting Turner Field to watch my Cubbies take on the Braves tonight. Should be a fun, action-packed Fourth!

I'm also designing my menu for the day, since the holiday tends to be a high-calorie extravaganza. That means I'm bringing along some low-cal beverage and snack options to counteract all the fatty, rich foods that will be around today. If you're also expecting to be surrounded by tempting foods this Fourth, here are some tips to help you survive the day with minimal 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, diet soda or cocktails containing sugar-free mixers. And remember to always pace yourself.

Speaking of light cocktail options, check out the fabulous recipe (courtesy of Hungry Girl) that I'm bringing out on the river today.

Sassy 'n Spiked Pink Lemonade Pitcher
48 oz. (6 cups) club soda
16 oz. (2 cups) diet cranberry juice drink (like Diet Ocean Spray)
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) vodka
Two 2-serving packets (about 2 tsp.) sugar-free pink lemonade powdered drink mix (like the kind by Crystal Light)
8 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia)
Juice of 3 lemons
Optional garnish: 8 slices lemon

Place all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices, if you like, and enjoy!

Have a Happy Fourth of July, y'all! Remember to stay safe, avoid excessive heat and leave the fireworks shows to the pros!

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