Happy Memorial Day weekend! Healthy Hollywood is anxiously awaiting the end of today, so I can begin the much-anticipated three-day weekend. YAY! I’m already planning lots of dinners and get-togethers with friends. While, socializing over long meals is good for the soul, it can do a number on the waistline – not a good thing for someone hoping to lose five pounds.
So, how do you juggle good time fun with a healthy eating plan? Healthy Hollywood recruited nutrition expert and author of “The Calendar Diet,” Dr. Melina Jampolis for the skinny. “The best piece of advice I give my patients is not to have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to holiday weekends. Don’t eat and drink whatever you want and tell yourself you will start over on Monday, and don’t completely deprive yourself of everything and spend the weekend suffering through every BBQ or picnic.”
Dr. Melina warns the biggest calorie bombshell is mindless eating and drinking for hours at an afternoon or evening BBQ. If headed to a food fest, be sure to try and stay away from fatty meats (ribs, burgers, hot dogs), mayo-filled salads and chips. Instead, stick with skinless chicken breasts, turkey hot dogs, a light pasta salad, and be sure to dilute your cocktails – try a wine spritzer or flavored vodka with club soda. “For desserts, trying baking lower fat goodies (I ’m a big fan of No Pudge Brownie mix which is made with yogurt instead of oil) or stick with fresh fruit if possible (if you are cooking, you can make a healthy fat free Greek yogurt and honey dip for fruit to jazz it up a little).”
Dr. Melina penned “The Calendar Diet” to help folks navigate the holidays without sabotaging their diet, but still be able to enjoy the festivities. Her book is packed with healthier versions of typical celebratory foods. She shared with Healthy Hollywood a few of her Memorial Day makeover suggestions.
Skinny Dip: Combine equal parts pre-made guacamole and pico de gallo (or salsa). This cuts calories almost in half and tastes delicious!
Light & Easy Pasta: Combine equal parts cooked whole wheat rotini pasta and lightly cooked vegetables, toss with a light vinaigrette and add a few tablespoons of feta cheese crumbles for a boost of flavor. (Time saving tip: Buy store bought pasta salad and add lightly cooked vegetables to cut calories by almost half.)
Seared Steak & Blue Cheese Salad
6 oz. lean flank steak
Pinch salt & pepper
Pinch garlic powder
2 tsps. Canola oil
.5 medium red onion, sliced
6 cups baby spinach
1 large tomato, cut into eighths
4 tbs. balsamic vinaigrette
2 tbs. blue cheese crumbles
Season steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat canola oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until just softened. Remove onions from pan and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add steak and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway. Remove from the heat. In a large salad bowl, toss cooked onions, spinach and tomato with balsamic vinaigrette. Divide between 2 plates. Slice steak and layer on top of salad. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbs.
For more nutrition tips, check out www.drmelina.com